Leaders in the field reveal what they think about the challenges ahead for the industry.
In terms of digital, Young doesn’t view it as a battle of supremacy, but an opportunity to coexist together, playing off each other’s strengths. This will happen, he believes, once the market corrects the practice of inexperienced parties using digital printing to win jobs by selling below unit cost.
“This must come about if both imaging technologies, screen and digital, are to get along together in a way that is profitable for both printer and customer. The marketplace will change of course, some wanting more of ‘this’ and less of ‘that’ but there will be no outright disappearance or significant changes to current methods or known/accepted technologies of today,” he says.
Talking to industry veterans, such as Young, is a proven way to gain a glimpse into what may lie ahead. Yet one thing is certain, without the next generation of screen printers poised to take their place, there will be no future. A school in Springfield, Illinois is helping to prepare that next generation.
Ryan Moor started out in screen printing back in 1999 when he began making T-shirts to promote his band. He went on to found Ryonet Corporation in 2004 to provide tools and educational materials to screen printers, and has posted over 500 instructional videos on YouTube. From his perspective, the future will belong to those commercial printers who focus on process management through the use of software.
“I think the biggest challenge in our industry is organization of production and data. Screen printing is a very production-oriented process with a lot of flow to it. There are not a lot of tools for printers or knowledge on how to systematize their businesses,” Moor says.
His team works with clients to develop software solutions for their particular needs and then provides the necessary training. In terms of marketing, Moor believes that some tried-and-true methods have reached the end of their useful lives, while other traditional means will continue to be effective.
“Yellow Page advertising is dead. Online and social media advertising is the way to proactively advertise. However, it still doesn’t replace building customer relationships through visits and good service,” he says.
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