To paraphrase, some printers have always been innovative, some achieve innovation and some have innovation thrust upon them. For many in print, innovation has meant investment in a new press, stitcher or platesetter. Indeed a platesetter purchase was as innovative as many printers used to get. Now Covid-19 has thrust innovation on everyone across the industry.
Printers have had to rethink how factories and offices are organised. They have had to rethink how they work and they had to be innovative in connecting with their customers, spurring tremendous interest in online portals and other aspects of what used to be called web to print. That term is no longer adequate for the different ways buyers can integrate with their suppliers.
Innovation through the technology used and how it is deployed is not enough. Few buyers care whether the press used is digital or litho, B2 or B1, nor how automated these are. Those are internal decisions. But time after time buyers say they want to see innovation from their suppliers: they want the silver bullet of a marketing piece that stands out above all others – without spending more. The same again, the usual, is not going to deliver the impact needed. The innovative piece of print, something with a little extra, might. It is time for printers to achieve innovation.