The market research presented here covers wide-format printing to see what shifts are taking place during times of economic recovery.
By Tim Greene
Making decisions aided by business analytics
The other aspect of business analytics that we think will benefit wide-format-printing companies is the operational information that can be applied to make the business run more smoothly or to assist in making business decisions. For example, operational data can tell you specific information about the timing of workloads, so you can be sure you are staffed appropriately during those times. This data can also be applied to make more effective equipment investment decisions, such as the prioritization of the configuration or characteristics of the equipment a company may be deciding about. For example analyze data about your own output, such as how much of it gets mounted, can help better justify the investment in a printer with flatbed capabilities.
Another way to expand the range of services that you provide is to consider all of the aspects of the communications you provide. There is a tremendous opportunity for printing companies to offer consultative services to customers that range from design assistance to signage and graphics management. On the design side, there are chances to offer consultation opportunities that could improve the effectiveness of signage that could enhance the sustainable characteristics of the graphics—or that offer ways for the end user to leverage graphics in multiple ways. For example, companies that are producing lenticular prints can use the same software that they use to make those prints to produce animation graphics that advertisers can use on digital signage systems or on Websites.
At the other end of the supply chain, offering signage- and graphics-management systems can help improve the placement of signage and graphics to improve their consistency and effectiveness and can free up store or location management and staff. Expansion into these kinds of service offerings can help transform a printer into a communications-service provider.
Stay ahead in tech and marketing
Nobody wants to be seen as a running a company or offering a service that has become stagnant. Any type of service company needs to continue to create new aspects to its services or risk commoditization. The development of faster and better printing systems is essentially a given, and our data suggest that print buyers really don’t care that much about your investment in a new printer unless it gives them something new or better.
Today’s wide-format printing systems are as good as they have ever been and will be still better as time goes on. While it is important to stay current as far as equipment goes, it is just as important to continually improve and develop other areas of your company that can deliver better results through more effective sales, marketing and operations. We are very excited about some of the new business-analytics tools that we see entering the wide-format digital-printing market and the opportunities these tools have to enable the evolution of printers into communications service providers.
Tim Greene has been the director of InfoTrends’ Wide Format Printing Consulting Service since 2001. He is responsible for developing worldwide forecasts of the wide-format-printing market and conducting primary and secondary research. Greene holds a bachelor’s degree in management from Northeastern University. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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