How have screen-printing operations coped with changes in the market for point-of-purchase graphics? Our discussion with a panel of experts in this field reveals the latest market trends and strategies for remaining competitive as a P-O-P producer.
By Lori Leaman
Yes, it has. As I mentioned, margins are coming down because the price per square foot for just the printed graphics is, in fact, coming down. What we are trying to do to combat that is look for the value-added services that we can provide. We are looking at partnering with other types of print media, so that we can give our customers a one-stop shop. We’re expanding our capabilities more and more in the fulfillment area. On the internal side, to help offset the lower prices, we are trying to get better operationally. It’s an overused word, but we continue to look at lean operation and continuous improvement in processes.
Margins are a lot tighter than they were five years ago. Gas, food, and power all can go up in price, yet customers want us to lower our prices as every year goes by. As far as corresponding changes we have made, we watch the expenses on a daily basis.
I do believe the profitability has changed and will continue to change as the technology continues to be enhanced. Currently we have two VUTEk presses, an HP Scitex Turbo Jet 8500, Inca Turbo, and a Zünd printer. We have three inline presses that vary from 80 to 120 in. and multiple one-color presses.
When differentiation in your business becomes less clear, margins and profits can ultimately suffer. While it is true that these new technologies cause a higher level of competition for a certain percentage of the business, it can also be said that these changes provide more opportunities to conduct business with new clients as well as an increased amount of business from your existing client base. As I stated earlier, from a production perspective, we have become a better, smarter, and more efficient producer of P-O-P due to these changes in technology.
SP: Are you seeing an increase in shorter run lengths or large campaigns that entail graphics customized for specific regions or customer locations?
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