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Are you responding effectively to the four strategic priorities shaping the graphic arts sector?


November 24, 2021
By Sander Sondaal

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As we all look forward to 2022, and, hopefully, a more predictable and stable operational climate, the following four strategic priorities will shape the future of print service providers (PSPs) in the graphics arts sector. Evident before the pandemic, their importance has been accelerated by the changes we have all experienced since early 2020.

1) Online ordering

The pandemic-driven lockdowns led to a surge in online ordering, and there is no sign of this abating. It is not just Amazon and its suppliers who are benefiting. E-commerce has become an increasingly important sales channel for PSPs, whether for photobooks or other printed applications, corporate or consumer. ​

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2) Data-driven communications

More than ever before brands and marketers need results and cannot afford waste. Both can be addressed by harnessing data insights to create carefully targeted, relevant, and personalized communications. Highly tailored print is also more memorable and engaging (personalized direct mail is read an average 4.5 times). It delivers greater return on investment while also addressing demand for integrated cross-channel campaigns.

3) Challenging trading conditions

PSPs and their clients have both been facing hugely challenging trading conditions. In response, stock levels have been reduced to free up cash, while PSPs have also reassessed their production processes and considered greater use of print on demand.​

4) Operating cost reassessment

Finally, the tough market has naturally encouraged most, if not all print businesses, to explore and implement measures to reduce their operating costs, with workflow automation and higher production capital efficiencies as chief focuses for improvement for many PSPs.

While these priorities are urgent, they are not new. They were magnified by the impact of the pandemic and are set to stay.

They will not fade into the background when the restrictions and pressures of the pandemic have subsided. They will remain constant considerations for PSPs.​

Sander Sondaal is director, Commercial Print Sales, Graphic Communications Group, Ricoh Europe.