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Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Summertime: A Great Time To Plan For The Future

As we head into summer, rumors abound that the recession is beginning to subside. On one hand I am very excited to hear about the prospects of a turnaround in our economy, but on the other I am concerned for the eventual turnaround of our industry and wonder what the future of reprographics will look like when the economy is back in full swing.

Every day I talk to reprographers from all corners of the world, it’s one of the best parts of my job. The vast majority are voicing the following concerns about the future of our business:

When the economy begins to normalize will reprographers see printing volumes return as before or will the contraction of overall printing continue?

Will General Contractors continue to try to reduce printing costs by distribuing CD’s or offering FTP sites for their Subs to access project drawings and specifications? How can we make them aware of the advantages of our online plan room technologies?

Will our AEC clients accept our charges for digital services? What can we do to help them understand the value of these services?

Will General Contractors and their sub-contractors learn to embrace technologies like BIM and electronic take-off? What impact will this have on our printing? Can we find a role to play with these technologies? Can we find opportunities for new revenues?

Will production large format printing migrate from Monochrome to Color devices like the Océ Color Wave and KIP KC 80? When is the right time to invest in these new technologies?

Are software companies with no vested interest in the reprographics industry going to continue to steal your customers because you are unable to convince your customers of the value of your own technologies?

How about it? What do you think? If these same issues cross your mind more than once a day what are you doing to prepare yourself and your business for the time when your concerns materialize in the months ahead?

I encourage you to take time this summer to do a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) analysis of your business. Do not try to do this analysis alone. Reach out to your key employees and some of your trusted customers and ask them what they think the future will hold and where they think the reprographics industry is heading. What are the threats and opportunities that lay ahead for the reprographics industry as a whole and for your business specifically over the next three to five years?

Don’t wait until the economy comes lumbering back; take some time this summer to plan the next phase of your business’s transformation from a digital printing company to “Digital Reprographics Company.”

If you’re wondering what the differences between the two are, come back in the days ahead, I’ll be writing more about this in a future edition of POV.



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