Taking stock of 2010, and preparing your business for 2011 and beyond.
Decorative applications require a skill set beyond wide-format print; it requires the ability to convert the print into a finished product. It could be as simple as putting grommets on a printed vinyl sheet to make a custom shower curtain, or printing on fabric to create home furnishings. Print service providers who are able to develop new application/finishing skills may find their business transitioning well beyond just being a simple print service provider.
Mayhew: We’ve noted a significant focus on P-O-S/P-O-P over the last 12 months, arguably driven by the need to encourage consumers to spend (and spend more) when faced with a product-purchase decision. We expect to see this trend continue and become more personal, localized, and interactive.
Chesterman: Again referring back to our World Wide Survey, most of its respondents cited banners, posters, signs, and P-O-S/P-O-P as leading applications, and this has proven to be a market area which remained stable despite the economic down¬turn. We’ve also noted an increased demand for billboards, photographic applications, decals, and presentation graphics. Within the market, growth is evident in emerging application ar¬eas such as textile, interiors, flooring, and fine art.
Greene: Our research tells us that P-O-P remains one of the hottest markets, but from my own observation I think the P-O-P materials that are “hot” are things like floor graphics and hanging banners.
Marx: According to this year’s SGIA Product Specialties Survey, banners, window displays, decals, indoor wall graphics, and presentation graphics are among the products the most printers are printing. The strongest markets for growth in the year ahead were reported as environmental graphics, indoor wall displays, building wraps, and point of sale. The product seen as declining the most: billboards.
Question: And what about profit centers beyond print work? Are any of these taking off in the downturn: Install work? Scanning? Design? Kitting/fulfillment? Display? Other?
Marx: Our recent Product Specialties Survey asked imagers about the post-production services they offer their customers. According to the survey, almost all provide lamination, so that really cannot be seen as a unique profit center. Beyond that, sewing and seaming, routing, and grommeting have grown significantly over the past three years. Warehousing is also reported as a significant post-production service.
Mayhew: We have witnessed an increased interest in providing ar¬chiving, retrieval, and other document management services beyond print¬ing. It’s being seen as another way of developing an ever-closer relationship with clients.