Why Commercial and In Plant Printers Do Not Change?

There is not a week that goes by where I do not read or hear from someone that the pace of change being made within commercial and in plant printing organizations is too slow.

There are dire discussions about the destruction of printing due to disruption of digital media and social media. It is a somber and relentless drumbeat by many printing pundits, printers, analysts and consultants.

The recommendation is almost all the same. Printers must change their business model, redefine themselves or extend their services, solutions and product to keep pace with the digital encroachment of printing.

Why many printers are not changing. The answer is simple. It is hard to do and often very costly.  

I have not met one print provider (and I speak to lot of them) that is not totally aware of the need to change. News of technology advancements coupled with a very difficult economy has not been lost on the printing community. We get it and move forward.

Here Is the Problem

Just knowing and talking of the need to change is not very helpful at this point. Simply saying that printers must embrace data, cross media marketing, digital and social media is not enough. Most printers’ business models are based on manufacturing requiring large investments in manpower and equipment.

Here Is My Suggestion

We all know that there are some commercial printers thriving and adapting to change. We recently worked with a very successful large 100 year old printer that has had to substantially change their business model at least 3 times during their existence. They are undergoing a major transition to B2C and B2B Web to Print and are providing new products and services to new markets.

This was accomplished by careful and intensive planning. The resulting plan requires pain and risk. Because of investments in manpower and equipment, most printers cannot destroy their existing business.

Here is the message to all. All business leaders in printing know there must be change. Instead of just telling us about the problems, continue to share  financial, operational and technology ideas, best practices and strategies that successful printers are using to change. Some are already doing this but we need more.

Joe Rickard