2020 Outlook for Commercial Print: The Future is Here!

In 1959, Postmaster General Arthur E. Summerfield predicted that mail delivery via rockets would become commonplace by the next century. After delivering more than 3,000 letters across 600 miles in under 22 minutes, he stated, “We stand on the threshold of rocket mail.” Although rocket mail never transpired, powerful new technologies that refine the process of creating mailed documents have taken hold.

As proof, adoption and implementation of digital printing presses continue to grow year over year. With this increased productivity, printers are forced to look at their business priorities differently. Well-prepared print service providers (PSPs) will prioritize filling the capacity created by the efficiencies of their new presses, leveraging the entire supply chain to accelerate growth, and improving the effectiveness of print applications. With these goals in mind, here are some tips and trends for PSPs from Keypoint Intelligence –InfoTrends’ “Road Map 2020: Business Development Strategies for Print Service Providers.”

It’s Time to Address the Capacity Gap

While it’s very common for PSPs to invest in technologies to meet the evolving needs of their prospects and customers, this can often lead to a predictable dilemma—new and more productive digital presses bring new capacity with them. When addressed properly, increased capacity typically generates new and often overlooked growth opportunities. Commercial print providers often offer a large array of eligible applications, and identifying the ones that are a good fit is the first step toward filling that gap. Next, ensure your sales team is on the hunt for new opportunities that complement your current capabilities. Once your sales team understands where to look and how to sell to these new opportunities, your new digital press will immediately become a sound investment.

Sell the Supply Chain, Not Products

Today’s PSPs often think about their growth in terms of new products and services they can conceptualize, produce, and deliver. Successful PSPs take it one step further and examine where they can optimize their prospects’ and customers’ supply chains. This requires a keen understanding of all the individual contributors and businesses supporting the customer’s operation. They will need to think about how the customer will use the product or service, then take a step back and seek opportunities that lead up to or follow the use of that solution. They’ll also need to identify areas to help clients gain efficiencies and reduce operational costs. Areas to consider include inventory management, fulfilment, production, and distribution.

Applications Driving the Market Will Continue to Expand and Diversify

Commercial printers address many of the applications once confined to static long runs. With today’s technologies, the mix of print applications and their volumes will continue to evolve. An important outcome of a digital press investment is determining how to leverage the accompanying capabilities. The foundation for continued growth is dependent on how effectively commercial PSPs take their newly enabled applications to market. Companies seeking a structured method for selling new applications must consider their sales processes and their customers’ buying journeys.

As shown in the figure below, today’s technologies mean the mix of print applications and volumes continue to evolve. For commercial printers, cutsheet color printing will continue to play a role for shorter run work, and most of today’s larger commercial PSPs have their eyes on inkjet. Commercial printers provide a myriad of applications, and they must be prepared to accommodate the demands of clients from run lengths of one to thousands.

Evolving Print Application Volumes

Source: U.S. Digital Production Printing Application Forecast 2018–2023, Keypoint Intelligence–InfoTrends.

Invest in Smart Print Manufacturing

Continuous improvements in the manufacturing process are a mainstay for profitable growth within all print organizations. Automation, lean manufacturing, and process improvements help ensure the delivery of short run lengths with the turnaround times buyers demand. For commercial printers, nirvana involves a seamless process encompassing a variety of different print technologies. It means making the right investments to alleviate workflow bottlenecks and using a centralized system to effectively manage order information and eliminate data silos. A focus on process improvement is a requirement in today’s on-demand market. Sound workflow practices in 2020 will propel firms into the future and prepare them for business growth.

2020 Will Unveil What Was Once the Future

Today’s commercial PSPs face massive opportunities for growth, but they must continue to focus on business processes and practices to realize their potential. As a drupa year, 2020 will undoubtedly deliver many new insights and opportunities. The industry continues to evolve, as does the role of print service providers. Moving forward, adopting new disciplines to deliver relevant communications to the customers’ audience can be the difference between survival and growth. Download Keypoint Intelligence–InfoTrends’ full 2020 Road Map white paper to learn more about the strategies that can enable you to make better business decisions, craft strategies, and implement plans to innovate your operations throughout the year.

Did you know… North American PSPs report the presence of finishing capabilities has helped them close deals 88% of the time.