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Trends in Outdoor Graphics: A Discussion with Industry Leaders

(September 2008) posted on Wed Sep 10, 2008

Veterans in the outdoor-graphics industry discuss how their companies have dealt with changes in the market and how other recent issues, such as the economic recession and the push for sustainability, have impacted their businesses.


By Lori Leaman

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MCDANIEL: We are able to digitally produce outdoor graphics extremely quickly, many times, with same-day service. Digital production offers options that previously were not available to us. We can provide partials, we can cut into others jobs being produced to help a client out, and it is not extremely costly to do so. In screen printing, once a press is set up, you need to run the job until it is finished. So, digital production offers a more flexible production environment. We were considering a drive-through window on the side of our building, but the county turned us down!

RENDA: The newer machines are faster and offer better quality, but they are also expensive. You must continue to invest in capital goods to remain competitive and produce the quality that is demanded by our customers. It is capital-intense to be in this type of business. We make sure we are on the cutting edge and keep our costs competitive in the industry, while providing a quality product.

GARCIA: The technological advances and drop in price of digital printing equipment allows new companies to enter the outdoor-graphics industry, making it a more competitive market.

 

SP: What impact has the recession had on your outdoor-graphics business? Does it remain a profitable area for you?

GABRIEL: I’d say we haven’t had any impact quite yet. In terms of profitability, because we’re new in the business (being in it the past two years), we’ve only seen it rise. We plan on developing a survey for our clients and measure the results with the goal to see if our business model is the key factor—one source, one solution. Clients have the option of several value-added services in one facility that most graphic-solutions providers simply can’t offer.

NORRIS: The majority of our products end up outside, and it does remain a profitable area for us. Business levels have followed the economy in a general sort of way, but it is difficult to point to any trend exhibited by any specific client and say a recession kept them from placing an order this month. We count several oil companies as clients, and they seem to be fairly recession-proof these days. If we survived on jobs from mostly small business clients, a recession may have a more noticeable impact.


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