"Day-to-day production headaches are less of a challenge than staying profitable."
BPIC: What are the top 5 critical industry issues facing print shops these days?
Dan Marx, SGIA: In one of our recent SGIA surveys, we asked a similar question addressing business challenges. The top five were: achieving sales growth, pricing and maintaining prices, the US economy, maintaining margins, and health-insurance costs. According to the many wide-format companies I talk to, day-to-day production headaches are less of a challenge than staying profitable. Our organization has seen a significant upswing in business questions.
Marco Boer, I.T. Strategies: While the number-one issue is most likely volume of output (or lack thereof), shops need to adjust into business models that are not focused on output volume but rather on volume of revenues and profits. This isn’t an easy switch, particularly for those shops with large legacy infrastructure investments. More important are finding ways to offer new, incremental applications and services to customers. Other critical issues include churning customers on your own terms. Self-analysis on who is making you money and who is not by using hard facts rather than emotion will become a requirement. Additionally, there are concerns about environmental regulations and compliance, which are becoming not just a legal issue but also a customer expectation.
Peter Mayhew, LightWords Ltd: From this side of the pond, the issues are price, profitability, client retention, environmental issues, and regulation.
Tim Greene, InfoTrends: Our survey from just a month or two ago, in Europe, asked PSPs what their top concerns are, and we found that the general state of the economy is the top concern. Price competition was second, then there was a three-way tie between the reduced demand for print (which probably means that they think advertisers are shifting their marketing expenditures away from print), recruiting staff with the right skills, and the availability/cost of finance (which also hinges on the economy). Although the survey was done in Europe, I think the concerns here in the States are probably very similar.
This is day 5 of our Industry Roundtable Q&A. For the day 4 Q&A, on packaging trends;, click here.