Successful business are using print in new ways, says a Ricoh survey, part of its Digital Workplace series.
The 16pp report is the result of 3,150 interviews with businesses across 22 countries in Europe, where Ricoh tested interest in what it calls the new printing technologies. These include digital printing to offer short runs, personalised or new kinds of print on paper products, use of digital technologies in textiles or to print on new surfaces, or completely new styles of printing, with additive manufacturing the prime example.
And it found the door open. More then two in three (69%) believe that new printing technology with unlock vital revenue: 67% say it can be a source of differentiation that is crucial to a business in hyper competitive environments. Businesses are struggling to achieve customer loyalty claim 36% and 35% find it difficult to achieve customer approvals.
Printing can help, Ricoh argues, by improving business efficiency, delivering innovation and personalisation. It looks at this across retail, financial services, healthcare and higher education sectors.
In higher education, print is already delivering custom and personalised prospectuses for almost half those questioned. It will also play a key role as life long education and retraining becomes more commonplace. Printing can supported courses tailored for different audiences, for small groups and for flexible learning.
Almost half of companies in financial services are using print to improve customer services through individualised reports. Around 58% are doing this, says the report. Print on demand is being used to print at the point of need, calling standard documentation from a central content management system. This is reducing the amount of print held in stock as standard forms, reducing waste by keeping content current rather than pulping forms that are no longer relevant and this is both improving business efficiency and reducing the carbon impact of the business.
A similar approach in healthcare is ensuring that documentation is kept compliant with latest rules while also helping manage the amount of documentation that cane associated with a course of treatment. And 3D printing has a huge potential here, both to create patient bespoke joints and to help with diagnosis.
Retailers are also interested in 3D printing, Adidas is printing 100,000 sport shoes, for example. Two-thirds are watching developments in this area and the potential impact on their supply chains. Likewise 58% are interested in print on demand to achieve more responsive and flexible campaigns and as a means of improving customer satisfaction.
From the Ricoh point of view “Print has always been an exciting technology, and now the future of print is poised to usher in yet another era of disruption, efficiency and innovation,” says Ricoh Europe CEO David Mills.