22 Aug 2019
As industries go, printing is hardly new – the first printing presses were used over 500 years ago. Of course, today’s presses bear little relation to those early machines. The print industry has survived – and thrived – on change for centuries.
Without a doubt, the most talked-about change in recent years has been the emergence of digital printing technology. Many – but not all – PSPs have either converted entirely to digital printing, or added it to their existing litho offering. If you’ve not yet made the leap, what are the factors you should consider?
These are well-known, and include doing away with the need to create plates, which leads in turn to much shorter lead times. Digital printing presses make short print runs more economical, and permit almost infinite variety and customisation.
However, the CAPEX costs of the new equipment must be considered, plus the need to train your team on obtaining maximum benefits from digital printing presses.
Printing is a notoriously competitive industry, and the PSPs that are doing best in the current economic climate are those that can offer the most diversified and valuable services to their clients. This could involve moving away from being a pure PSP to offer ancillary or related services in addition to putting ink on paper, as it were. Printers have always understood the art of communication, but today this is as likely to involve design and database management as the creation of brochures or pamphlets.
Printing companies are having to change their business models. Printing is no longer a secondary or manufacturing industry; rather, it is evolving into a tertiary or service industry, and this is in response to client demands.
Clients are increasingly looking for marketing and communications partners, and investing in digital printing technology is essential to achieving this status. In this way, you can attract new clients (and new revenue), and offer value-adds to your existing customers (again, generating more revenue).
Investing in digital printing technology empowers you to start assisting clients at an earlier stage of the creative process. Again, this makes you a valued partner, rather than the last person to find out about an imminent deadline.
Specialist digital printing presses can also help you position your firm to benefit from the current growth areas in printing and marketing communications. Packaging and labelling in particular continue to see surging demand, driven in part by the growth of online shopping.
By investing in digital printing machines and associated workflow software, you can not only add value but also streamline your operations and become more cost-effective. These savings can be passed onto clients, making your PSP more competitive.
Being involved in conceptualisation and design work offers higher-margin opportunities, and will also help you keep pace with rival firms. Of course, there is still a place (and a degree of demand) for conventional printing services. Digitisation does not mean abandoning the services you previously offered, but rather, becoming a full-service digital communications company, able to imagine, design, create and print whatever your clients require.
Consumers are increasingly demanding unique, personalised products and packaging that respect their individual differences. Authenticity and rarity add considerable perceived value to products, and as a digital PSP you will be well-placed to help your clients ride this wave.
Digital transformation doesn’t just mean a new approach to printing. It can open up a whole new landscape of business opportunities and lets you unlock previously inaccessible revenue. Yes, there are initial costs to be considered, but the medium- to long-term benefits to your PSP will far outweigh these.
08 Nov 2019
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