Strategies for Management, Inc. has released a new study, “A Critical Look at Offshore Printing.” According to the study, the U.S. commercial printing industry has a new competitor: non-U.S. printers.
In the past, language, logistics, delivery time and shipping cost all made creating and coordinating cross-border print purchases difficult. For this reason, Canada has been the U.S.’s only significant trade partner in print, with the U.S. maintaining a surplus.
“The commercial printing industry has long been concerned about the occasional forays of non-U.S. printers into the U.S. market, but it was usually limited to coffee table books and other items that had long shelf lives and could withstand turnaround and shopping times,” said Dr. Joe Webb, president of Strategies for Management. “It is no surprise that things have certainly been changing; however, identifying the impact and direction of this change has been elusive. For this reason, a thorough review of the drivers and dynamics of this change are warranted.”
For the first half of 2004, the surplus in printed materials trade declined by $75 million, a 38 percent decrease compared to 2003. Approximately 10 years ago, the U.S. had a 72 percent surplus in books and printed matter; today it is barely more than 16 percent. New communications technologies, new overseas plants and reduction in trade barriers have conspired to erode natural protectors of commercial printing.
“The fact that this shift is happening should not come as a surprise to anyone,” said Vince Naselli, principal of Naselli & Associates. “Many of the same change agents that are restructuring commercial printing at large are also changing the dynamics related to non-U.S. print competition. What has not been well understood are the drivers of this change, the impact they pose on operations today and what alternatives must be considered to turn a potentially negative situation into an opportunity for U.S. print operations.”
As examples, Mr. Naselli said that “digital proofing now allows quick review of materials by print buyers and managers who are becoming more accustomed to remote workflows that are aided by advances in color management technologies.” Mr. Naselli also said that broadband telecommunications allow transmission of large graphic data files, shortening proofing cycles and enabling ‘time-shifting’ where production occurs overseas while clients are sleeping on the other side of the world.
Trade agreements such as the EU,WTO, NAFTA and other initiatives further reduce the barriers to trade. “Trade is very important, because it raises the standard of living on both sides of the transactions,” Dr. Webb added. “But the sudden shock of dealingin a new trade environment can be difficult for some businesses. This report will discuss those essential transitions and the opportunities they provide. Freer trade is unstoppable but the way industry adapts to it is up to innovative CEOs and shop owners. Having the right information is essential to their decisions.”
The new study covers the following issues:
• Identifying the dynamics of “offshore” printing.
• Understanding the economic issues affecting print import and export volumes.
• Profiles of selected non-U.S. printers.
• What U.S. printers need to do to compete/sell against non-U.S. printers.
• Estimation of “offshore” printing’s ultimate impact.
This report is priced at $2,875, with a special pre-publication price of $1,975. For more information, contact Strategies for Management at firstname.lastname@example.org or call Vince Naselli at (732) 568-0316.