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Day 14: Charting Wide-Format Printing’s Course – Advice for 2012

14 days of critical information to prepare your business for 2012.

Big Picture

BPIC: Any parting observations on the market and/or industry as our readers are set to wrap up 2011 and make plans for 2012?

Dan Marx, SGIA: I would tell digital-imaging companies to hold their ground. We are a unique industry segment within the broader graphics-communications industry in that we – as a whole – continue to grow and maintain profitability. Because of this reality, other segments including the commercial printing industry are looking toward our markets and technologies as strong, new profit centers. Some will do it by establishing new departments and others will do it by purchasing existing companies. Regardless, expect competition to increase. Control processes. Increase efficiency. Stay focused. Hold on tight!

Tim Greene, InfoTrends: Understanding that there are many moving pieces that business owners and operators have to manage to be successful, the one key piece is your sales force – their ability to “move up the value chain,” to identify the value-added services your customers require, to negotiate favorably in your company’s name, empower everything your company does now and will do in the future. Make sure your sales force has the skills and incentives they need to make all this happen.

Marco Boer, IT Strategies: Keep learning, keep being inquisitive. Don’t be too nervous to make investments in new hardware. While it might be more comfortable to wait to invest in new equipment, you’ll forego the learning-curve experience that others will have. Yes it might be less expensive in 2 years, but you won’t be able to compete skill wise.

Peter Mayhew, Lyra: As it looks like we’re going to be entering a period of slow and low growth for the economy, we’re going to have to make sure we focus on maximizing profits from our core businesses. The good news is that our wide-format products and services are in demand in the current climate and, our industry is in good shape to ride it out.

Art Wynne, BERTL: 2012 will continue to be challenging in the market place. Print service providers will need to in the position to ride out the storm. Once the valves of the economy reopen, companies will need to be prepared to handle customer requests.

The Big Picture has assembled five of the marketplace’s most informed analysts and consultants and asked them to help you evaluate the wide-format industry. Each day over the next two weeks, we’ll post a new, critical question from The Big Picture with invaluable answers from our panel – all designed to help you ensure that your company charts its best course for a prosperous year ahead."

Our 2011 panel participants include: Marco Boer, consulting partner, I.T. Strategies (www.it-strategies.com); Tim Greene, director, visual communication technologies consulting service, InfoTrends (www.infotrends.com); Dan Marx, vice president, markets & technologies, SGIA (www.sgia.org); Peter Mayhew, director, Lyra Research Europe (www.lyra.com); and Art Wynne, president, Business Equipment Research and Test Laboratories (BERTL, www.bertl.com).

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Click here for Day 13 Q & A on Profit Centers Beyond Print.

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