How Covid-19 is Altering the Print Game?
It’s a given that business or life, as a matter of fact, will not go back to how it was before the Covid-19 pandemic hit us.
Quocirca’s COVID-19 business impact research reveals that over 75% of print industry executives expect the crisis to cause significant ongoing market disruption.
While nobody knows or has to exact answers on when print businesses will resume to the glory days of 24/7 jobs and rush for Diwali or New Year corporate gifts, there are a few recognised business trends that will surely change how the printing industry will move forward.
Change for Product Demand
The Government of India banned large group gatherings as early as the beginning of March 2020. With similar actions being replicated globally, the trend is one that is here to stay. For instance, major organizers have either completely canceled or postponed events to 2021 – a major event being postponed being the Olympics. Other event organisers, such as the NBA, IPL series, and some concert managers are being more optimistic and have just pushed back their events to the second half of the year.
How does this impact the print market?
All events, regardless of their size, have an enormous impact on the printing industry. Events rely on print in the form of flyers, exhibition booths, POS-displays, brochures, and even banners, to promote, organise, and make their event more attractive. Just think about the last time you went to a local event like a fair at the public garden, we are sure you noticed that there were at least a few direction markers or print signs related to “ticket prices” or “event FAQs.” Here is another example to ponder about – local community runs have gained extreme popularity in the Pune region. Even a run with 200 people requires 200 bibs printed. Events, gatherings, conferences are the bread and butter of the print industry, and with a significant cutback in these events, the entire product market will change.
Considering the current revenue crunch that almost 90% of businesses are facing, we also expect the product demand for corporate gift box packaging or packaging luxurious food boxes like chocolates or confectionery to reduce. With tighter budgets, events and corporates will opt for gifts that have less packaging material.
Expected Market Shifts & Opportunities
While there will be a shift from traditional print for large-scale events and office stationery, there is a lucrative opportunity for print in the work from home scenario. Most employees don’t have access to printers at home. So office printers need to pivot their structure to offer print solutions to this market. Printers must think of creating stationery products for the employees’ home desk. This could be in the form of a “work from home kit” which could include customised diaries, notepads, or even folders. It could also be a portable, print-friendly and easy to set-up work-from-home desk because not everyone has a designated work area at home.
A market that is seeing an influx or boom is healthcare. Hospitals and other healthcare providers might need print solutions. From material, like posters and brochures, highlighting testing procedures and safety advisory, to even portable booths for safe testing measures. This could be a market opportunity for printers to focus on.
Another trend we can expect to see is the demand for automated workflow and touchless printing solutions that reduces human contact and mitigates virus transmission risks. Manufacturers can look at machines that offer touchless or biometric identification.
Emphasis on Planning
“Good fortune is what happens when opportunity meets with planning.” – Thomas Edison
Like with any work environment, social distancing will be key to running a safe print manufacturing space. Printing houses will have come up with policies to ensure that their staff and print material is safe at all times.
Hygiene in a manufacturing environment will become even more important. We foresee more time allocated to frequent cleaning of workspaces and machines; production schedules and managers will need to account for twice or thrice daily workspace sanitization time while allocating jobs. Companies will have to do more manpower planning to ensure that there is a minimum space kept between employees and no crowding occurs at any point.
Unless a definite vaccine comes into the market immediately (earliest might be September/October 2020), the printing industry will also have to account for managing with fewer employees. Companies need to have human resource policies that need to be in place as employees might ask for additional sick leaves, etc.
Questions printing companies should ask at this point should be “Will this offset machine require over 1 operator?”, “How can this book-binding production line be set-up within my workspace?” or “What provisions do I have in place for employees who require additional days off because they are unwell or don’t have support at home?”
Another point to consider is that most printers rely on supplies from China for inks and solvents. While most companies are reporting having sufficient stock for 1-2 months, they will have to find alternative suppliers to ensure production can be efficient in the long term without dependency on China for supply.
Planning for the future and having solutions to expected manpower, production, supply, and scheduling hurdles will ensure for smoother operations.
Who will Survive Covid-19?
Printing facilities that have a diversified product line where revenue isn’t tied to a single line might power through this arduous time. Likewise, a print house with a specialised niche should use this time frame to push that product.
Companies can also leverage this production downtime to ramp up their manufacturing facility and do an “internal cleanup” to make their processes more efficient.
As an African proverb goes, the future of print definitely belongs to those who utilise this time and prepare for it today.
PICATYPE Printing is working on upgrading its manufacturing processes and facility to ensure a safe environment for your prints. For any immediate printed related queries or requirements, please get in touch!