Big Picture - November/December 2017 - 7
EFFICIENCY BEGETS OPPORTUNITY
GET TO WORK
It's almost impossible to sum up the impressions left on us by
500-plus exhibitors, but after sitting in 60 or so meetings,
walking more than 90,000 steps, and drinking just a few cups
of coffee, our editorial team is happy to report that Rothschild
is right: Innovation is infectious. And this industry cares
enough to innovate and push the boundaries every day. We
saw print shop CEOs swapping ideas, OEMs partnering with
one another to make a better product, and optimism at every
angle. We left feeling invigorated by the thought that today's
customer is ever-more demanding, because that demand is
an opportunity to please. To all of you holding on to a great
idea, it's time to put it into motion.
2018 is creeping closer, and in the modern-day market,
there's nothing more valuable than an idea. The ability to
take the pressure that's squeezing businesses from every side
and turn it into an opportunity is essential to survive. Perhaps
it starts with the internet; some say retail is dying. Perhaps it
starts on the shop floor; some say automation will leave us all
jobless. Maybe it starts with the price; many say the only way
to make a buck is to churn out as many square feet as
possible - regardless of quality.
But the mood on the show floor betrayed none of these
concerns. The theme was "opportunity." Gabi Seligsohn, CEO
of Kornit Digital, posed a question: Retail meltdown or retail
revolution? If Amazon plans to ship products to Prime
customers in less than two hours, doesn't that create an
opportunity for local printers across the country?
Epson reported that 20 percent of the world's water
supply is affected by pollution generated by the textile
printing industry, a figure that could be reduced by as much
as 95 percent if production switched over to digital. Today,
only 3 percent of the world's textiles are printed digitally. If
that's not opportunity, what is?
EFI Senior VP and General Manager Scott Schinlever
shared that 99.8 percent of thermoforming production is still
run on analog machines. The main barrier to going digital?
Awareness. Hello, opportunity.
"A complaint about price is not a problem," said David
Fellman, president of David Fellman & Associates, during the
pre-show session "Your Business: Prepare for Success." "It's
an opportunity to tell people why they should buy from you."
Industry-wide challenges were framed as possibilities at
every turn. Challenge: inventory management. Opportunity:
Move into e-commerce. Challenge: Customers know and
care about how things are manufactured. Opportunity: Run
your shop responsibly, and market it. The list goes on.
"That's great," you're thinking, "but who has the time?" You
have a business to run, and that's why "workflow" was hot on
the heels of "opportunity" as the most-uttered word of the week.
We saw OEMs taking an interest in every step of production:
There was a widespread emphasis on versatility, from hybrid
machines to printer/cutters to automatic tool changers and
more. Some decided to form smart partnerships and offer PSPs
end-to-end integration. Brent Moncrief, Fujifilm VP of marketing and brand management, said, "Aligning with the right
partners is becoming a source of competitive advantage."
Software and hardware manufacturers alike focused on
the bidirectional flow of information. You can get info from
prepress to the printer to the cutter? Great. What can you
learn from that process? How can you communicate it to your
CSRs and salespeople? If every piece of your business is in tune
with the others, you'll have the time to focus on those ideas and
opportunities. Ask yourself: Did you get into business to push
papers, or did you do it because you have an idea?
Shop owners are often intimidated by the idea of automation, said PrintFactory CEO Eric Strik, but it doesn't have to
be a lights-out transformation. Simplifying even a few steps
or removing a few touches can make all the difference. Einar
Ek, Esko market manager, had an equally approachable
message: "Work smarter."