Packaging: The Most Immediate Prospect for Industrial Print?
74 percent of InPrint survey respondents say ‘yes.’
InPrint Show’s newest survey polled 162 industrial printers around the world for a report focused on the potential of inkjet technology for the packaging market. When asked what sectors offer “the most immediate prospects for industrial print,” 74 percent of respondents pointed to packaging – up nearly 14 percent from last year’s survey. Décor was the second-most chosen response at 54 percent; functional print drew 33 percent of respondents.
“Packaging is unaffected by new media and is linked to general consumer growth,” the report reads in explanation of why the market is so appealing.
But appeal hasn’t necessarily translated to adoption just yet. Simon Edwards, VP of sales and marketing at Tonejet, contributes analysis on the current state of the packaging supply chain: “One of the roadblocks is that brands want more control over their business.” He indicates a number of points of resistance:
• Converters don’t want to change their infrastructure
• The supply chain isn’t designed for – or willing to embrace – late-stage customization
• Some of the world’s largest beverage companies want to print in the filling location, not through a converter
What’s encouraging and what will eventually drive the adoption of digital is that “brands want to be smarter about managing inventory,” he adds, and this is where digitally printed short runs make their mark.
Respondents spoke on their views of the key challenges, as well:
• 41 percent said brands and retailers are too focused on the idea of digitally printed quality matching analog printed quality
• 36 percent said supply chains are too heavily invested in analog and therefore resistant to change
• 36 percent said the economic case for converting to digital is unclear
But benefits of digital identified by the report include efficiency, variability, and the ability it gives retailers to deliver a brand experience or sales message, even with the advent of online retail.
“Digital’s true performance goes far beyond a straight print technology comparison and delivers value that sustains the digital investment and costs,” says Mark Hanley, founder of I.T. Strategies. “The question is, do the brand owners get it?”