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December 2016

During this year’s National Day Parade Rally, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong made a salient point about the year ahead. Even though Singapore’s economy is expected to grow in 2017, the rate is going to slow considerably. As a result, he urged businesses to “transform [and] adapt to slowing economic growth ”.

However, this is easy enough to suggest for multinational corporations with deeper pockets, compared to their small and medium-sized counterparts. Small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) often have to invest more to embrace the rapid technology reforms — and that is tough, even if you have the financials covered in the short term.

So, as we close out 2016, we want to offer some business tips that will (hopefully) drive success in 2017 — as well as one critical scheme that will help your company stay ahead of the game.

1. Do Your Homework

In other words, engage in some research and development within the company. Giant MNCs do not have the monopoly over R&D. Even if you are running a small business without a dedicated R&D department, you too must know the latest trends and who your customers are. This allows you to develop products and services in a more targeted direction, to suit consumer needs. After all, as the saying goes, if you don’t disrupt your own business, someone else eventually will.

2. Automate, Automate, Automate

No, we don’t mean get rid of your human employees and replace them with robots. Instead, automation in 2017 is all about shaving off the fat and creating smarter, leaner business processes using technology. For example, if you are running a printing business, are ageing machines falling behind the curve? Are they still meeting the needs of your clients? When it comes to document management, is there software that can simplify documentation processes, allowing employees to focus on tasks that matter? Technology is costly, but the right technology will make your life so much easier.

3.Training Them Up

Remember the point about not replacing human employees with robots? That’s because, at the core, your human employees will continue to form the heart of your business in 2017 — and beyond. Training employees helps improve productivity and facilitates potential business growth. If your salespeople can be trained to perform basic technical support on, say, a machine that your company loans or sells, then they will be able to add value to their services when a customer comes calling.

A Little Extra Help

When it is all doom and gloom ahead, businesses need all the help they can get. Fortunately, the Inland Authority of Singapore (IRAS) has the Productivity and Innovation Credit (PIC) scheme, which companies should take full advantage of in the coming year.

If the business tips above — investing in R&D, automation and training — sound like good New Year’s resolutions, it is possible to use the PIC scheme to fund some of those changes. For example, if your company is looking at new (qualified) computers or machines to invest in, the PIC scheme covers you. If it is employee training you are looking for, the PIC scheme also allows you to get a tax deduction of up to 400 percent of your spending on specific training activities — and the list goes on.

Research and development, automation and training are not the only activities on the table either. Others include the acquisition or licensing of intellectual property rights, and the registration of trademarks and projects on approved design. Essentially, if you have a plan to improve your business’ productivity and innovation capacity, as long as it is qualified, IRAS will fund the change you need.

Did you know? As Canon is dedicated to making businesses simple, our office products are fully qualified under the PIC scheme, such as the multifunction devices, small office printers, projectors, scanners and document and print management software. For more information on the PIC scheme, how it will benefit your business and whether you are qualified, go to our additional coverage here or the IRAS website here.

For more case studies and business solutions to power up your startup or SME, follow Canon Singapore on LinkedIn for the latest updates.

When does the festive season start for you? For me, it begins with the installation of Christmas lights along Orchard Road, not to mention the year-end sales and the red Starbucks takeaway cups that have now become annual traditions.

It is also the time of the year when I go through a laundry list of gifts to purchase for family and friends. Maybe the end of the year just inspires thanksgiving but, in many ways, I feel that it is my duty to give back to those that have made a difference in the past year. I even make it a point to sign off gift tags with a heart-shaped symbol, as cheesy as it may sound.

And as for me, what do I really want for my Canon Singapore team this Christmas?

xmas The Road Ahead

We all know that it has been a rough few months in terms of the economy — and the next few don’t seem that much rosier either. In fact, Canon Singapore organised an entire Think Big Leadership Business Series event  back in November just to talk about the business outlook ahead.

In these troubled times, I am reminded of a quote by John Maxwell, a famous American author and speaker: “The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the leader adjusts the sails.”

That is why, for my Christmas wish, I want my team at Canon Singapore to take these three things to heart for 2017: dare to win, dare to change and dare to serve.

xmas 1. Dare to Win!

A winning attitude is key. While performance must remain the driving force in our everyday work, there are two other qualities with equal importance: speed and professionalism. I believe that these qualities are key to survive, succeed and win in the future marketplace.

xmas 2. Dare to Change!

Looking back, I see opportunities to improve upon our processes and the way we conduct businesses on a day-to-day basis. I believe that reassessment and realignment — in other words, transforming the way we work — is the best way to prepare for the upheaval ahead.

Innovation, however, starts from the top, and leaders have to lead by example in order to succeed. That’s why we have the annual Breakthrough Awards in place here at Canon Singapore. The purpose of the awards is to recognise innovative new ideas that challenge the status quo. Adapting to change and rolling with the punches is how we will stay afloat!

xmas 3. Dare to Serve!

This may sound strange, but hear me out. Servant Leadership is a term coined by Robert Greenleaf, the founder of the modern Servant Leadership Movement. According to its official website, the term is a philosophy and set of practices that enrich the lives of individuals, build better organisations and ultimately create a more just and caring world.

Servant Leadership is also a model I stand by as a leader in our organisation. One of my mentors has taught me to always put people first and, at the same time, demand performance and excellence. Some would question the idea of Servant Leadership, thinking it a weak ideal. Today, however, focusing on the people within our organisations, finding out who they are and what they need, is more important than ever before. I have absolute faith that this form of leadership is the best way forward.

xmas Let’s Get Personal

On a personal note, when it comes to Christmas, what more can I ask for when I already have a loving family? My family is my harbour, lighthouse and pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. However, if I had to wish for something, I’d like to:

1. Learn More: read widely, ask questions, connect with people and stop to smell the flowers every once in a while. 

2. Impact Lives: I want to be a servant leader, a humble follower, a good listener and a giving mentor. In my personal life, I want to be a fun father, a loving partner and a trusted friend. After all, giving is always more fun and fulfilling than receiving.

Here’s wishing everyone a Merry Christmas and an eventful and rewarding 2017!

For more case studies and business solutions to power up your startup or SME, follow Canon Singapore and Vincent Low on LinkedIn.

Kreative Labs is a Singapore-based printing firm that specialises in highly customised printing solutions for clients — and we are not just talking about your usual run-of-the-mill printing jobs either. Kreative Labs is able to print on anything from high-end teak and plywood to acrylic and metal. If you have ever come across, say, cool-looking signage at the neighbourhood bar or showroom, it may have been this company’s work.

Heavy-duty work requires heavy-duty machines. Ever since its inception, Kreative Labs has been using Canon’s Oce Arizona Large Format UV Flatbed Printers. In fact, so specialised is Kreative Labs’ work that their Oce Arizona 460 GT printer is the only one of its kind in Singapore.

Here, we speak to Boren Ang, the Business Development Manager at Kreative Labs to find out the challenges of operating such a machine, as well as how it enables the company to achieve business success.

Q: What is your day-to-day role at Kreative Labs?

A: My responsibilities include pitching to clients from various industries and educating them about the technology and customisation options we offer. I also invite them to view our office and showroom from time to time. Part of the business development process also involves coming up with new ideas and creative solutions that add value to business. For example, we often have to print on unfamiliar materials unseen in the market. So we have to overcome those issues to enhance customer experience and create the “wow” factor.

Q: Why did you choose to go with Canon’s Oce Arizona Large Format UV Flatbed Printers?

A: As a startup, our operations are kept as lean as possible. We are able to target corporations with highly customised projects with low quantity requirements, and not many commercial printers can do that. With Canon’s Oce Arizona printer, we are able to fill in this market gap by printing almost any colour needed, including white and decorative varnish, without any minimum quantity requirements.

Q: Has Kreative Labs experienced any challenges over the years? How did Canon help to overcome those challenges?

A: Canon’s Oce Arizona is a relatively new technology originally developed in Europe. In fact, it is the only one of its kind in Singapore. As with most new technology, there were technical aspects about the machine even the local team was learning about. What we appreciate about Canon is that they have operations worldwide and we are constantly able to receive technical support from their experts based in the regional offices. I must say that Canon has been very helpful when it comes to problem solving.

Q: Can you recall an instance in the past when Canon’s service really made a difference?

A: I remember Canon flew down some experts from China and Hong Kong with extensive knowledge about the Oce Arizona. They were brought in to answer all the questions that we had. When they were stationed here in Singapore, many of our issues were resolved without us having to go through the arduous process of trial and error. This saved us considerable time and effort.

For more case studies and business solutions to power up your startup or SME, follow Canon Singapore on LinkedIn for the latest updates!

Imagine living in a world without colour – not very easy, is it? Colour is a powerful tool in any business – it can attract, influence and even increase retention making it vital in marketing and branding in particular. In fact, the use of colour in all customer-facing collateral, including transactional documents where it was once considered a novelty is now expected and considered standard. It is said that the average person makes a subconscious judgement about anything within 90 seconds — and between 62 percent to 90 percent of this judgement is based on colour alone.

So why is colour printing so important in our documents?

1. Outstanding Coloured Prints Make an Impact
According to a study by the Secretariat of the Seoul International Colour Expo, 92 percent of people surveyed believed in the importance of visuals when purchasing products; while 84 percent said that colour accounts for more than half of the various factors important to consumers when choosing which products they purchase . In fact, colour is the first thing people instinctively register when they are assessing any object whether it is a document, signage, a flyer or merchandise — and it has a powerful effect on their decision to buy or to move on.

This goes to show that colour is a subliminally persuasive force — it captures attention, sends a powerful message and can even convince people to buy products and services. If a picture paints a thousand words, then colour adds vivacity and life to it.

2. Strengthens Brand Perception
Studies show that leveraging the colours in your brand’s logo and imagery can increase brand recognition by up to 80 percent . One of the biggest benefits of colour printing is that colour conveys a sense of accomplishment, stability and professionalism. Printing in colour reinforces a professional image. Even just incorporating colour into the logo on your documents can increase your brand recognition. When combined with full colour marketing, it takes your print documents to another level.

3. Makes it Easier to Locate Information
The human mind uses colour to segment and demarcate things. This is one of the reasons colour is often a key weapon of marketers. For example, placing call to actions in a standout colour like red helps to push your readers to take the necessary action.

In addition, using colour in print, especially utilising colour schemes throughout, helps make print information and new concepts and ideas easier to segment, demarcate and easier to understand.

4. Enabling Greater Retention and Recall
Studies show that adding colour to marketing messages can increase engagement rates by up to 42 percent. In addition, it helps in improving customers’ memory and comprehension ­with some studies saying that eye-catching colour increases comprehension by as much as 73 percent. This is because colour helps us process and store images more efficiently than when in black and white. When you add colour to your marketing collateral, your customers are far more likely to not only read but also to retain your message — key when the ultimate goal is to create awareness and conversion.

Tips When Using Colour in Your Documents

  1. The stronger the colour contrast, the more powerful your message
  2. Your choice of colours should always reflect your brand mission with strength and clarity
  3. Using three key colours in your printouts will help ensure that your message is retained more easily — and for longer — in the minds of your audience
  4. Learn the meaning of the various colours (for example, the colour red signifies good fortune and is also a strong colour for creating action) and how it affects people’s moods

The Canon Solution

Canon’s new imageRUNNER ADVANCE (iR-ADV) C7500i series employs the “Vivid and Vibrant” profile with technologies that render crisp and striking image quality prints with 2400 x 2400 dpi print resolution. In addition, the series’ Consistently Vivid (CV) toner helps ensure colour stability, consistency and brilliantly-hued images that are sure to catch the eye, without sacrificing speed — even in a high-volume print environment. All this is in line with Canon’s philosophy of always creating technology breakthroughs while finding the best solutions for businesses.

For more case studies and business solutions to power up your startup or SME, follow Canon Singapore on LinkedIn for the latest updates!

Bowling has always been a popular form of sport and recreation in Singapore. When the first public bowling centre opened its doors at Jackie’s Bowl Orchard in 1965, there was a 12-hour waiting list of curious members of the public, eager to try their hand at the new sport. The ensuing years saw a bowling boom in Singapore, with bowling centres cropping up in neighbourhoods across the island.

Even though there are fewer bowling centres today, the sport itself still retains its appeal.

A New Home

Recognised by the Singapore National Olympic Council and Sport Singapore, Singapore Bowling Federation (SBF), or Singapore Bowling for short, is the main authority promoting the sport and nurturing new talent. This October, SBF opened a brand new 38-lane bowling centre at the Temasek Club along Rifle Range Road, making it the largest bowling facility in Singapore.

To SBF’s national bowlers, however, the centre is more than just a fancy new facility.

“We’ve never had a place we called home,” said Jazreel Tan, champion of the PWBA Lubbock Open 2015. “We were always moving around, all over Singapore.” Fellow national bowler New Hui Fen, the winner of the 2016 PWBA Smithfield Tour Championship, added, “Everything is more convenient [because] the meetings are here, the office is here. If we need to settle [anything], we can do it all.”

A Brand New Look

At the official opening, the centre showcased 19 Canon XEED Projectors on site, which really brings the bowling venue to life. Shirley Wong, the centre manager in charge of running the facility on a day-to-day basis, tells us more.

Q: Why does the new bowling facility require that many projectors?

A: We are more than just a bowling centre! For example, we use the projectors during community or corporate events. If there is an event happening we can project images or videos. If there is, say, a travel show, the event organisers may want to project travel destinations across the venue. It is a purely aesthetic decision to have them installed.

Q: Before adopting the Canon projectors, what were some of the major pain points or issues that the organisation faced?

A: The obvious point is that most bowling facilities do not have this many projectors. We used to have to manually set things up on our own, and had to find suitable spots around various venues. Even then, usage was fairly restrictive. After adopting the 19 projectors, all we have to do is to turn them on, and the visuals will be projected across all 38 lanes. If it is a crowded corporate event, this just makes things a whole lot simpler.

Q: How did the projectors help SBF become more productive?

A: Before we had the projectors, the organisers had to print banners out, bring them to the centre and then manually install them. Obviously, this is not the most practical option. With the projectors, all they have to do these days is to send us a high-resolution image, and we can project it straight onto the walls. It cuts down the logistical costs.

Q: What attracted you to Canon’s projectors in the first place?

A: The main reason we decided on Canon’s XEED WX520 projectors is that they are able to project brightness of up to 5,200 lumens at WXGA+ resolution, all while maintaining the sharpness and colours of the visuals. For such a big space and the ambience we want to create here, we feel that Canon’s offerings make the most sense.

For more case studies and business solutions to power up your startup or SME, follow Canon Singapore on LinkedIn for the latest updates!