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Strategies for Expanding Capabilities and Technologies

(June 2010) posted on Mon May 24, 2010

The market research presented here covers wide-format printing to see what shifts are taking place during times of economic recovery.

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By Tim Greene

Choice in printing-production methods
So, while screen is providing economic advantages, digital printing provides the abilities to meet growing customer demands for shorter turnarounds and shorter runs. Printing companies know this quite well. As the data from one of our recent surveys shows, wide- format printers recognize the need for multiple production capabilities. As Figure 1 shows, just 3% of the respondents reported that they believe pure play screen printing is the best path to success while 50% reported that they think digital printing is the path to success. While digital obviously has a lot of benefits for more cost effective production of short run work, it is not the panacea to meet all of the challenges in today’s market. There is another 24% that reported that they believe that it will be important to have both analog and digital printing processes.

InfoTrends agrees that, from a manufacturing/production standpoint, at least having access to multiple technologies to meet the long-run and short-run needs of customers is best, but that does not necessarily mean investing in all of that equipment yourself. Printing companies routinely partner up to get jobs printed in the most effective way, to satisfy the cost, quality, and service requirements of print buyers. However, there is another set of responses to that question, which is an even more telling example of where the business is headed. At the rate of 22.2%, respondents reported that they think the best path forward is the evolution from printer to marketing service provider. To do that, we have to revisit the whole business model.

When considering the topic, step back and ask: What business are we really in? Are you a printer or are you in the communications business? If you honestly think that you are just a printer, then focusing on operational efficiency and driving costs out of the business is critical, because there will always be improvements in the technologies and processes that assist in streamlining operations and reducing printing costs. On the other hand, if you believe that you are really in the communications business, then there is a need to evolve and grow your portfolio of services and capabilities that enable communications in multiple formats, including wide-format promotional graphics, direct mail, text messaging, and social media.


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