The print revolution
It is no surprise to anybody in the print industry that print is going through a revolution. On one side we have seen over the past few years that run-lengths in commercial print are decreasing, whilst at the same time digital volumes, especially colour, are increasing (over 10% CAGR for colour1 ). Meanwhile, in the transaction area, where digital printing has been a primary vehicle for decades, the integration with online has become seamless, but decreasing volumes may be driving the search for new revenue streams. And in both environments, the pressure to decrease both turnaround time and cost simultaneously goes without saying.
But that is only half the story. New trends in the industry are driving business to offer their customers new communication platforms or programs, often across multiple channels, that are more timely and more personalised, such as programmatic print. If we continue to manage print like we have for decades, not only will we not be able to meet the demands for our existing services profitably, we will also not have the opportunity to benefit fully from new trends.
We could think of two extremes in managing digital workflows: manual and automated. A job shop mentality is typical for a manual workflow. Each job is manually received into the shop, processed step-by-step by and finally delivered. In contrast, in a fully automated (‘lights-out’) workflow, the job is entered into the system (often directly by the customer) and proceeds through the processes without any manual intervention. These are two extremes and virtually every print service provider is somewhere in between.