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News . Print Solutions

12 Jun 2020

Dramatic changes

The economic consequences of the coronavirus are being felt around the world. Millions of people have lost their jobs, and demand for most real world good and services – from manicures to air travel –  has plummeted.

Businesses are understandably nervous about the future – and this anxiety is certainly affecting workforces. Until this year, the rules of business were fairly simple: it was all about establishing a competitive edge over your rivals through product, price and promotion. Now, we’re in unknown territory, with business continuity the first priority. Profits can seem almost like a luxury.

How has coronavirus affected the print industry?

While some sectors of the print industry (notably flexible packaging) have seen a rise in demand as consumers buy more supermarket products, other sectors are seeing a worrying fall in demand while people are living under lockdown.

Newspapers and magazines are losing further ground to online media, and many industries have slashed their advertising budgets.

At the same time, costs have risen due to the need to enforce physical distancing and introduce enhanced safety measures at PSPs that are still able to operate. Coupled with reduced orders, this adds up to a perfect storm for the printing industry on a scale none of us have experienced before.

We have a choice…

As an industry, printing can go one of two ways: increased competition, or increased collaboration. We would urge that this is a time to put commercial differences aside and unite as an industry in a spirit of solidarity to tackle the challenge of COVID-19.

After all, the print industry has a lot going for it – factors that mean that the industry is well positioned to survive if everyone works together:

A history of innovation

The printing industry has always been an early adopter of new technology, from movable type to digital printing presses. Innovation leads to better quality, reduced costs and new revenue streams.

A remarkable pool of talent

We know from personal experience that the print industry is made up of incredible people. People with experience, expertise and energy – exactly the kind of people you would want on your team in any kind of emergency.

Collaboration is in our nature

Thanks to a strong tradition of industry events, the printing industry has always been great at networking. PSPs are used to working closely with design agencies and clients to get perfect results. Specialist firms offer value-add services to general commercial printers, and suppliers and technology partners regularly consult across the industry as they develop new products.

Searching for new revenue is second nature

As technology advances, printing companies have excelled at selling its benefits to existing and new clients and adding value to their service offerings. This has included short run printing, rapid turnaround times and ongoing improvements in quality to meet even the most stringent demands.

The coronavirus pandemic affects all printing companies, and its sheer magnitude can seem daunting. Despite the fact that some lockdown restrictions are gradually being limited, there is (as yet) a lack of clarity around how exit strategies will be implemented, and over what timeframe.

Kemtek is proud to be a trusted supplied to the South African printing and packaging industries, and our years of engagement have given us confidence that by standing together, we can meet this new and unprecedented challenge.

We believe that a great first step would be to start sharing ideas about how the industry can respond, perhaps through an online forum. We’d encourage anyone who has ideas on the way forward to contact us directly, so that these can be shared. We would also encourage PSPs to explore ways of working together, and for companies that either need or can offer help, to reach out.

Let’s leave competition aside and rather start a conversation – not just about surviving in the current situation, but about thriving again as an industry once it is over.