15 September 2020 Business

Reset. Redefine. Realign. Renaissance

A change in course is coming for the industry, and for some it has already begun. Gareth Ward argues printers must willingly adapt in order to thrive.

Marian Stefani, CEO of the IPIA, last week called for a reset of the printing industry. During a webinar on the aftermath of the pandemic, hosted by Ricoh, she declared: “We have to look at a different future. This is the Ctrl/Alt/Delete moment where we can reset the industry.” Very few would argue with this assessment, that change is necessary. But into what? Here there are few real opinions, let alone any kind of consensus.

One change that is underway comes with the merger between Prime, Precision and Proco, already leading players in the sector, that have seen an opportunity to change the way that buyers interact with print. Precision Proco's managing director Gary Peeling used the same online forum to promote the need to develop new products that are simple to use. Amen to that. That these products will be specified and developed online is axiomatic. These three companies have seen their future and are pushing ahead with it.

How many others are thinking about how to reset their future? How many other printers are trying not only to find new products and new ways of producing them, but also to understand how the lack of major communal events, the deracination of city centres and work from home affects the industry? In reality most printers will want the industry to be reset as it was 12 months ago. That’s the comfort blanket that printers must let go. Not only do we need to press Ctrl/Alt/Delete, we need to choose a different operating system entirely.

Gareth Ward