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Industry Roundtable Day 3: Are Commercial Printers a Threat?

(November 2013) posted on Fri Oct 11, 2013

14 days of critical information to prepare your shop for the year ahead.


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Which technologies are on the upswing – and which are on the downswing? What markets and applications look to be hot next year? How much of a role will sustainability play in your company? Which profit centers should you invest in?

Get answers to these questions and many more, from six of the wide-format marketplace’s most informed analysts and consultants. Over the next couple of weeks, The Big Picture will post critical questions with invaluable answers from our panel – all designed to help you ensure that your company charts its best course for a prosperous year ahead.

Each day leading up to the SGIA Expo in Orlando, we’ll feature a round of questions and answers from our panel participants. For this year’s edition of our annual Industry Roundtable, our participants include:

• Lori Anderson, president and CEO, International Sign Association (ISA, www.signs.org);
• Marco Boer, vice president, I.T. Strategies (www.it-strategies.com);
• Tim Greene, director, wide format consulting service, InfoTrends (www.infotrends.com);
• Dan Marx, vice president, markets & technologies, Specialty Graphic Imaging Association (SGIA, www.sgia.org);
• Peter Mayhew, director, LightWords Ltd. (www.lightwords.co.uk); and
• John Zarwan, managing partner, J Zarwan Partners (www.johnzarwan.com).

Q: There seems to be a recent push by printer OEMs to get commercial print companies interested in bringing wide format in-house. Are you seeing this, too? And should traditional wide-format print operations be worried?

John Zarwan, Zarwan Partners: Absolutely. There are numerous instances of commercial, offset printers getting into wide format. Sign-and-display is a growing market; the customers are often the same; many printers are already taking orders, outsourcing production. When the volumes are high enough, they bring it in-house. It’s a relatively easy transition, with the main required learning in finishing. Wide-format print shops are aware of this. One recently complained to me that his main business issue was, “The *^&%! litho printers entering the market and killing margins.”


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