RISO, Inc. is a leading manufacturer and distributor of high-speed inkjet printers and digital duplicators. In a recent interview with Andy Slawetsky, Andre D’Urbano of RISO discussed the state of the inkjet industry and the benefits of reselling RISO printing equipment.

According to D’Urbano, the printing industry is facing supply chain challenges due to the pandemic and other factors. He explained that these challenges have created opportunities for RISO’s printers, which offer fast, affordable, and environmentally friendly digital color at speeds of up to 320 images per minute. He also noted that RISO’s line of digital duplicators are easy and inexpensive to use while also producing millions of copies and being environmentally friendly.

D’Urbano went on to discuss who is buying RISO’s printing equipment, noting that the company has a broad customer base that includes government agencies, schools, and commercial printers. He explained that RISO’s products are ideal for high-volume printing applications, and that the company’s inkjet technology allows for fast and cost-effective printing with high-quality results.

Here is a link to RisoLABS in New York, NY (mentioned in the video)

Here’s is a link to East City Art (mentioned in the video)

SOURCE Industry Analysts Inc.

Full Transcript

what’s happening and Andy here I am joined today by Andre D’Urbano of Rizzo how are you Andre

um well how are you Andy I am awesome what’s happening I see the uh the Hat behind you there looking good that’s an

old one yeah you know I I put it there to see I wonder if he’s gonna catch it and you never miss an opportunity to

spot your paraphernalia well I never miss it especially when it’s you know you have a very um empty background and

a hat stands out there so I always you know greatly appreciate that that’s the best uh let’s before we jump in you know

maybe some new people join in the industry start starting to watch these videos let’s um give us a recap tell us

who Rizzo is Riso and and what do you guys do uh Hey that you know what in all the

interviews we’ve done I don’t think we ever talked about you know Riso and its Origins but I mean the company’s been in

the U.S since 87. been around about 50 years but it’s a technology and we have

to talk about the duplicators some we rarely talk about the duplicator you and I but um it’s the duplicator that put us

on the map it’s kind of an offshoot of the the offset technology um it prints static information right

like the same image over and over and over uh and and we gravitated from there

because of you know personalization and variable data and the digital revolution in the early 2000s Riso gravitated away

from that duplicator and into a technology that is capable of variable uh and personalization and that is

inkjet and so that’s how we we migrated to inkja today we have both uh inkjet is

our bread and butter the duplicator is sold in large part to schools who have

them and love them and they’re going on year 12 with the product they know that

they can buy a duplicator one time and probably have to go through three buying Cycles with The copier before they even

have to replace the duplicators so they they love that they can spend three four thousand dollars on a school-sized

duplicator that’s gonna last forever uh doesn’t break down but there’s another part that that duplicator story that I

think you were connected with as well recently I was I was are we talking about um so the last time I saw you guys

was uh not you specifically but Keith uh Keith Partridge

um not that key Partridge but the more popular Riso Keith Partridge I’m sure coordinated is popular is Keith

Partridge yeah of course nobody’s gonna if they’re if they’re under 30 nobody knows what we’re talking about nobody does but you know what probably a lot of

people watching this do you know who the Partridge Family was and uh and Keith actually I so I so to step back I had a

I have a buddy uh fraternity brother from the University of Maryland go Terps um and he is an artist and and uh he

emailed me called me out of the blue one day and and hadn’t talked to him in a while and started asking me about you

know reso printers and and he was learning about uh he’d seen all these videos online about this art movement

where these students in New York and actually it started in in Japan um were using reso printers at

duplicators right and and for single uh color printing and then layering colors and and now it’s this entire

um program he wound up and Keith set this up it was the coolest thing you guys brought us to uh um we came out to

the to the lab the reso labs and then is it part of NYU what school is it it’s

part of the New York um it’s the resale Lab at the visual School of Arts in New

York City yes yes and we had um we had a wonderful Tour by the facilitator there what world renowned um artist in that in

his own right in in Riso uh Printing and you know the whole lab was just filled

with prints from these students just the creativity and layers and colors and um it was just so cool and it was such a

treat but you know my buddy has been uh still doing this and and you know

actually it’s funny we’re talking about this now because I did cue this up and I’ll share it out um

so he’s uh this is something he just posted and I’ll mute this here but he’s

got a capital art book fair he’s printing up his Flyers not just using it for the art that he thought he was going

to buy it for but you know very proud of this um he can’t stop talking about it I get more uh more

of these um you know updates from him from every little thing he’s Printing and every

time he gets a new color and and so coming up uh Phil is Phil hootenai is doing a a show in DC I’ll put

information in our in our feed for that anyone the DC area that wants to come and check that out it’s going to be pretty interesting but

um this is not something that I just stumbled in and this is a big program a big uh movement so you know this isn’t

what the call is about today but before we get in everything else why don’t you tell us a little bit about just sort of this this weird subculture

of reso printing yeah we should we should uh do some service here because you’re right we rarely talk about it for

anybody watching if you were to Google rasography you will enter a world of uh of young

people right it’s a it’s a community of graphic artists that have turned

risography into its own entity and really what they do is as as as you

mentioned they they will layer an image so they’ll print a yellow version of an

image and then you know take those 100 or 200 copies running back through the unit only this time layer a blue the

same image but blue on top of it and when you mix blue and yellow now you get a green Hue and then they maybe add a

slight uh red uh tinge to that and now you’ve got a pink oh yeah that that that

that’s that’s all the work and so the school that you mentioned I believe he is that that’s key that’s key Partridge

this is the reso lab there are students who pay uh course fees to learn how to

use reso and to be able to create their own artwork on on the resale device

there’s there’s our reso in the corner and I cannot tell you if you are a dealer out there watching this every

arts department in America and Canada uh whether it’s University College or or

even you know some of the bigger high schools all the art departments are into this it is a again a throwback to the

offset and it’s their way to teach what printing was with the offset and the

work they do there uh it’s spectacular stuff and the shows like your friend is

having an event in Washington there’s a massive event in New York City that just actually it’s coming up on April 1st I

think it’s called mocha Fest uh at the Javits Center I mean there’s thousands

of kids that go there they they’re all about the zines the magazines and not just Riso products but all sorts of

other um art related items um and for years we kind of didn’t pay

attention to it and now it’s it’s just exploded it’s so cool because you know what it

reminded me uh when I when I initially saw all those pieces was you know those those sort of you know those playbills

from the 60s and 70s where one or two colors and you know just a a concert or

wrestling match or sporting event um but just really it’s they’re very

similar to those types and it is because it’s that offset look but what’s really cool about it is these kids are using

digital technology to create that Offset you know it’s a print that offset look so so they’re laying out with digital

but then they bring it to bring it home in in more of an offset manner with you know a duplicator that’s printing almost

exactly the way that it it did when I used to sell um another brand that used to make duplicators I think they’re out

of it and you know congrats you beat those guys um but you know it it was it’s been a

long around for a long time and and so um just the coolest of cool things and the neat conversation to have with any

University and I’ll share the link to that article in those photos and in the description and again to the dealer

Community um it’s interesting this is not our growth business but to the dealer

Community selling this reso technology to arts department we are the only game

in town we are the only product of its kind that will do this so it’s a unique

we talk about a niche of a niche it’s very unique for you uh it’s not a competitive field now some of the

um younger artists you know they’re buying their duplicators online they just don’t have the money

um to spend but the the the the schools the art departments and they need supplies the new ones they need supplies

I mean they had you guys had five resos in there but they’re buying a ton of supplies I think you gave them those machines to help get them started if I

remember correctly which was very cool uh so let’s shift gears a little bit because I don’t want to you know spend

all the entire time talking about that we’ve got some great things to discuss here today but I wanted to um I want to see how your your year went last year

you know I know a lot of companies had really bad years a couple companies um skated a little easier than others

where did you guys fit in how was your supply chain situation well so what was interesting is uh you know that this is

it right this is March it’s the white flag funnel lap and last February we we

got our budget from Japan and it was all good and then on April 1st as the new

year started we were told oh by the way you’re only going to have half the product line uh microchip shortage so

we’re not going to have the the smaller inkjet devices at the time rft line uh

and we’re not going to have the smaller duplicators that the schools love to use yeah so on the duplicator front we ended

up just focusing on the bigger duplicators and it worked out nicely because you know our our big duplicators

about thirty thousand dollars our school duplicators about three four thousand and frankly the one thirty thousand

dollar duplicator is more profitable than selling 10 duplicators to schools at ridiculously low margins so the focus

shifted there and it was kind of the same thing on the inkjet side where we said well okay we don’t have the small

duplicate or the small inkjet device for the schools or churches or some of the

non-profits that we typically sell to we’re going to have to focus on production in large part uh focus on our

GL series and our valacys device these are the flagship units for our our print

market and and we’re typically at 55 45 we sell 55 percent high end 45 percent

kind of Ft devices more on the lower end this past year we’re hovering at about 70 30. it’s 70 percent uh production

devices and thirty percent everything else and so the story of this year for us was we sold less boxes

way more profitable though we were just way more profitable because of the size

of the equipment we sold who we sold it to I mean we’re selling devices to print

shops and print shops when on the GL device like a GL 9730 that has an

average monthly volume of the units we have out there an average monthly volume of 430 000 copies per month

which means you know we have some accounts on one machine alone are doing eight nine hundred thousand copies a

month and some of these accounts have four five six resos in there so you know the volume the ink that is

purchased in volume like that is crucial to us and and it’s crucial to the

dealers that sell resos into those markets that supply business is phenomenal

um and you know some dealers use the resale product as a moat to protect their base of toner devices because they

are at risk of being wiped out but some by some of the larger in chat devices

and some dealers just use our technology just to crack open new doors some competitive accounts that they’ve never

been able to get into and now they get in there with a you know our high end is

a hundred thousand dollars more or less the GL uh our ballast is about 250 but

the GLS this let me just stop it 320 Pages a minute remember correctly

yes 320 Impressions per minute so it’s 160 sheets of paper duplexed

simultaneously and therein lies your 320 Impressions that is production speed oh yeah that’s

faster than a lot of production printers yeah yeah yeah and you know when you look at the even the Xerox and Canon

high-end devices that hover around a million dollars uh that’s their speed okay now they do a lot more if you’re

going to pay a million dollars you’re going to get much higher Duty Cycles improve coffee quality and all that but

for our space what we do um the print shops Rave about the

productivity and then as is the case with any inkjet device you mentioned the green part of this

um you know very little electrical consumption it’s one machine uses the power of a blow dryer

um and so when you eliminate Heat from a technology imagine eliminating heat from

a car imagine how much longer your car would last so you eliminate heat from

the printing process you eliminate diffusing okay you’re not uh sucking the moisture out of the paper so a that flat

output is music for uh any uh print organization that is involved with the

mailing business that’s why Pitney Bowes sells our product and they do very well year over year it is their printer of

choice when they sell a Pitney Bowes inserter folder type device that flat

paper just works so much better when inserting and folding but no emissions

you walk into a reso based print shop and you don’t get the big ventilation systems

um even our own print shop in in Woburn in Massachusetts I mean we have like eight resos in that print shop there’s

no ventilation there’s no fans right there’s no heat where you’re not spinning ozone out I mean that’s that’s

one of the main advantages right it’s not just that it’s inkjet which is just inherently

um you know more environmentally friendly than than uh than Laser Technology right but yeah but there’s

there’s two kinds of there’s two kinds of inkjet and there’s the heat process inkjet and then there’s the goal process

and and you’re on the coal process side which you did mention and so if I understand that correctly

um that’s one of the reasons you’re not using the energy right so the while the other ones that use heat are still more

efficient than laser they’re not as efficient as the coal process and then

you hit the heads last forever right because the heat eventually will blow may could blow the heads and that’s

where those print heads eventually have problems is the heat process you’re putting so much heat and pressure in them that you know sometimes that’s

where a failure can occur um my understanding from from whereas in Japan is that you know this cold process

allows for just almost indefinite use of these heads without any issues with

reliability so let me say this Andy you’ve come a long way to get knowledge

okay I I remember when I used to have to explain this from A to Z to you you’ve

come a long way the heat is not so much the issue the big difference between the Inca technology is water-based ink

versus oil base okay every inkjet technology out there today is

water-based except for one reso we are the only oil based so the difference is

when you use water-based when you are going to saturate a sheet of paper with water you better dry it yeah it comes

out and that’s where that heat that you mentioned comes in those devices require

if it’s water-based ink they require a dryer they require a de-curler that

makes the the device itself a lot bigger that’s why some of these devices are 25 30 feet okay we’re oil based and so

using an oil-based ink um we don’t uh we don’t ruin the

Integrity of the fibers of the paper so it comes out instant dry the paper is

flat we don’t need a de-curler we don’t need a dryer and so the device itself is less expensive that’s why we are the

least expensive production cut sheet inkjet device on the market and um in an oil-based ink versus water

means a smaller footprint because we don’t have that those added accessories

uh on a standalone basis our printer is five and a half feet five and a half feet and you’re printing 9 600

Impressions an hour actually 99 the GL is 165 pages a minute that’s 9900

Impressions an hour fully loaded you put a four thousand sheet paper deck of stacker on the back end it’s eight and a

half feet the valesis which is a twin engine unit is 16 and a half feet I

can’t tell you how many rfps we’ve won based on footprint alone

uh one account uh in San Antonio uh purchased two valaces and we were up

against some of the the bigger names and forget price it was we were at 16 and a half feet for the ballast’s the closest

device I believe was the Kyocera device that was at 23 and a half feet right so

we’re like seven eight feet smaller than the Kyocera when you get into Xerox in Canon you’re up to 30 feet okay so you

need the space um and and so big advantage on using this oil-based technology for Riso again

we are the only ones we gain on price we gain on footprint um so that’s that’s a wonderful story

so you mentioned you know so far we’ve talked about uh schools are buying them

right you would just mention print shops you know who are who are the inkjet customers today for for the resale

products and and you know where do you see this going is the acceptance growing is it still the same crew

um have they always been accepting in these markets that you’re hitting now how is it what are you seeing out there so just yesterday I was talking to our

dealer in Utah and he said we have this one account they’re printing 350 000 a

month most of which is spot color and he said our salesperson tried to go

in there with toner forgetting that we have resell in the lineup and the price that we were going to have to sell that

color toner device we were going to lose our shirts he said we put the reso in

there uh pretty much at full price on the on on the capital expense side and

he said we didn’t have to Discount the ink all that much and our customers printing for about a penny a page spot

color okay and he said you guys saved our butts that what he is talking about

is the gap okay with the offset press having been pushed to the side or

eliminated all together when you walk into a print shop today you get monochrome toner on one side color toner

on the other and this great big gap in between that Gap is those customers that want to

take that black and white and add just a little bit of color to it but in doing

so have to go from one cent to well the print shop right has to go from one cent to a cost of four or five

cents the end user has to go from a cost of a selling price of three cents Four

Cents for black to 10 to 12 15 cents for color that’s like three four times the

price just because we wanted some spot color oh gosh it’s 2023 we’ll stick with

black and white because color printing is a luxury you know Ferrari’s a luxury right in an apartment off the coast of

Greece is a luxury color printing ain’t a luxury come on especially when you have a technology today called inkjet

that bridges that Gap and so for those sales people who understand that Gap

actually Nate Robinson at impact once said to me there’s mystery or there’s

margin in or there’s mystery in the Gap and where there’s mystery there’s margin there’s mystery there’s margin I’ve

heard that before that’s right that’s uh that’s our industry in a nutshell yes

yes yeah otherwise you know if you just sell them boxes yeah you’re not going to be in the industry very long so um so

that’s the Gap and for for sales people for sales people who understand the Gap and can sell into the Gap they’re doing

really well subsidizing their copier sales with the occasional resource sale

some really solid Commissions in that but you know as far as who’s buying it is those print shops that need to fill

the gap most of them it used to be some four or five years ago many of them did

not know there was a gap they figured well it is what it is today they’ve all come to understand all these events that

are happening right like Canon alone has this huge event called the think conference in August or September yeah

you know they invite their biggest and best customers next month we are at the granddaddy of all inkjet events the

inkjet Summit that’s put on by the printing Impressions people napco

um and we’ve been there since day one this is year 11 for that event and again some of the biggest and best print shops

in America and it’s invitation only this show is not an open forum for any you

know just anybody who wants to attend you have to be invited to this event so all the major menu toner manufacturers

that are that have inkjet they’re represented Riso was there and the print shops that attend are all there to to to

fill that Gap you got school districts that are investing a million dollars right and some of these big units just

so they can access color at a penny a page and so a lot of school districts who attend don’t have the volume or

don’t have the money to justify that kind of investment come to us and say well we need to start somewhere and so

you guys are it what do you have and so for a hundred thousand dollars they’re in actually you know for a low of 50 000

they can get in the game but typically they’ll get a fully loaded GD 9730 with a fiery it’s about a hundred ten

thousand that’s it they’re in the game wow so inkjet Summit is coming up you

just mentioned that um where else you’re going to be we’re uh how are you reaching dealers how you

reaching end users what’s on the you know what’s on the horizon for 2023 so as far as reaching dealers I know BTA

just had a big event uh there’s a BTA conference coming up this summer

and and that’s that’s dealer oriented right and it’s in Boston

that’s where we are that’s where Russell is located so if you come down and frankly for any dealer who attends to

stop by our office we’ll make sure you get a free clam chowder out of it at least at least oh I’ll be there then you

can’t come to New England and not enjoy the climb chowder so you’re gonna be you you’re going to be at that we will be at

that event awesome okay that’s about half hour from our office but uh on the grand scale as far as customer facing

events we certainly have this uh inkjet Summit coming up we have the ipma which is the implant Managers Association I

think that’s in June um I don’t know Andy how many Canadians watch

um this uh you know your Forum here all five of them but you have a lot of the

oh I said all five of them okay but yeah we do have a good amount of Canadians

watching it um you know we’re obviously balanced towards uh more us but I’m

right on the border at Canada so um you know we you have a Canada is in our top five uh for traffic so so I’m going to

be out your way because uh in May we’ve got graphics Canada which is back after

four years uh it’s been missing so Canadians are looking forward to that

where is that where’s that that is in uh it’s in Toronto it’s in the suburb of Mississauga right off uh yes

everything’s a Mississauga of course yeah yeah a lot of the oems are out there and then in uh is it brantling

Brantley something like that Branford yes or Brampton Brampton yes yes so yeah

been up there many times so you’re gonna go to a show up that way that’s excellent so we’ve got that event and then of course printing United which was

so successful for us last year you know what’s interesting with these events right given the price point of our

technology we sell equipment on the floor of those events and so we put together

promos last year at printing united we signed about a hundred uh deals okay

um now keep in mind five percent of our business is direct yeah and that that

means you know those customers that insist on doing business with the manufacturer that’s what our you know

major account small major account team is for 95 of our businesses need a

resellers so whatever we sell on the floor of those shows are going back to the dealer Community okay so there is

that so of the 100 orders that we signed at printing united we ended up delivering about half because you know

you sign up the show but then you’ve got to go through credit checks and all that stuff and some customers decide yeah I

made them you know I it was an Impulse I’m excited oh yeah I got excited I’m gonna hold off so and that’s fine that

that’s part of the game we signed about a hundred we delivered half and that’s fantastic uh so that was you know great

profitable show for us we put out a lot of units from that show so we’re gearing up for that event that’s in October so

those are some of the key events coming up these shows are are huge they’re huge far in their industry uh you know it was

1978 when a German engineer said we are headed for a paperless Society

1978 right 45 years ago and frankly it’s only now that we’re really starting to

see a push towards that and of course the pandemic kind of created that environment the supply chain issues uh

Force print shops um not well the print shops are having trouble getting paper buying envelopes

and so their customers were forced to look Inward and create a uh more of an

online you know getting transactional invoices and statements to their customers using email so it really is

now that you’re gonna start to see more of an impact of that paperless Society still a long ways to go I think you and

I will be retired from this industry I’m not seeing it happen at any time soon you’ve been through a doctor’s office

lately or have you signed a mortgage lately I mean even even as much as they’ve digitized so much of those

processes it’s still so paper heavy and thank goodness you know because this is our world but we’re coming at the end of

it I do want to you know before we wrap up um let’s take a minute and maybe you know discuss just real briefly the uh

you mentioned the dealer so you know I love those 50 machines a whole bunch of those went out to to dealers you said 10

of your your products at your seller being sold direct so 90 of what you sell is is through dealers so what’s the

dealer pitch what you know what what are they getting out of it how does it fit into what they sell you know most of the

dealers are pretty stuck on laser um where where does this fit in you’re

such a niche product and and just so so what’s the elevator pitch to dealers and what’s you know the benefit to bring in someone who’s working with it so

understand if you’re a dealer understand one thing the print Community the production Community is talking about

inkjet they have been okay uh every major manufacturer today is offering

inkjet to these people uh so it’s a hot topic of conversation for The Print Shop

how do we get our black and white toner which is not very profitable that’s a

giveaway service how do we convert the bulk of that volume to color inkjet

because we’re as a print shop um you know we’re they’re doubling and tripling their profits when they sell

color inkjet versus black and white so if you are a dealer if you are a salesperson and you are not involved in

this discussion you’re letting a huge opportunity slip through your fingers because your competition is involved in

that discussion okay so that’s number one number two it’s such a unique refreshing story we’re talking about a

technology that’s 165 pages a minute you talked about the balances at 320 Impressions per minute imagine picking

up the phone and saying to your customer um I know you’re you’re in with my competitors for your three years into a

five-year lease but I’ve got something totally different for you something unique and if nothing else you should

know about it okay just want to take a few minutes of your time to introduce you to this technology it is a door

opener so for any sales person out there for any dealer that is out there you should know that this is that door

opener that really helps you get into those accounts some dealers use the tech technology as a mult as I said to

protect their their Fleet of products it is such a unique product line

um that you cannot um if you’re a dealer and you don’t have an inkjet strategy okay you’ve got Epson

today uh that can provide you with a strategy you’ve got Kyocera that provides you with a strategy you’ve got

some of these bigger devices and of course reso is that name that everybody recognizes in our space okay there’s so

many products out there as a dealer you absolutely need a solid inkjet strategy

because your customers are talking about it just because you’re not don’t think they’re not okay they are and if you

bring it up you would be surprised to see them say to you I didn’t realize you guys offered inkjet as well

that is a perfect way to end this I think um probably should have had that conversation at the beginning but uh

well no we needed to talk about the duplicator yeah we had to talk about the university and all that and you know there’s some great pieces this I think

I’ll I’ll wind up um probably chopping this up a little bit maybe doing some shorts because that that was that was

perfect right there and you know if you’re a dealer and you’re just looking for some way to differentiate and maybe

a way to hit some new markets that your current products aren’t letting you play in you know this is out there it’s it’s

beloved by by universities by um you know by religious organizations

right so um it’s been around forever it’s tried and true and it’s reliable and and most

importantly dealers are making a ton of money on it but the one thing that jumped out of me um when we were chatting was was the

volumes you were saying every machine he talked about was you know 300 500 800 000 Pages a month and man think about

the pages a month you’re doing on these little machines and if you can just get a couple of those one or two of those a

month just the volume that you’re doing and the aftermarket that that you know and there’s not a lot of places they’re

going to get Rizzo Riso um uh supplies right like they’re you can’t shop that so they’re locked up every now and then

I see that Rizzo slip into your language I try not to I try not to have some bad news so right I’m getting better at it

Riso so anyway this this has been absolutely great thank you so much Andre for taking the time with us today and uh

we’re on a Friday so you have yourself a great weekend clam chowder this summer see you in August I will have some and

I’ll I’ll be there see you then