The landscape of printing has changed, it seems like we went to sleep one day and woke up on a different planet! That’s probably exaggerating, as this change did not happen overnight. The changes in the printing industry have been gradual, like quicksand (for many printers – sucking them under never to reappear again). For those of us left (including Coastal Printing), it should be easier. You know, the laws of “Supply & Demand” – less printers, more demand and therefore higher prices (like gasoline prices), somewhere this theory went totally the opposite way in our industry.
As Alan Guttridge (Principle Coastal Printing) once said, “The price of everything goes up, except printing!”
Based on the new landscape, and knowing that we are in an industry with static (or in real terms declining) prices, there are only a couple ways to survive.
1. Become a low-cost producer – re-invent your company so you can play in the price arena.
2. Add new services that add value to our relationships with our customers (helping them be more successful), while not being as price sensitive (so we increase our margins).
At Coastal Printing we have decided to act on both. We have embraced Lean Printing, which involves everyone in our company by reducing waste at every level, including: speeding up make-readies, running our equipment to optimum levels, creating work-flows that increase efficiencies and a laser-focus drive on achieving “Right First Time” quality.
Adding new services that offer “REAL” value to our customers, while increasing our margin is actually more difficult than it seems!
We are printers, we know how to put “ink-on-paper;” therefore, adding new services that redefine ourselves is difficult. To make change takes guts, and bold moves, and it means getting out of our comfort zones and learning new things! What’s more, change is all top driven down, so the leadership within the companies that are changing have to understand the need for change, and then decide “how to do it!”
I don’t think there are any “Golden Rules!” Each printing company must discover for itself what new services to bring on board to better serve their customers (and their bottom lines). Or, look at starting “afresh” – adding new services that bring NEW CUSTOMERS!
For most of us we are going to choose to add new services that are an extension(s) to our current business model(s); services that our current customers can use. A few brave companies will venture into uncharted territories.
I would like to think that Coastal Printing is going to be one of the “Few Brave Companies!”