Improved Handling of Shorter Runs, Broadening Digital Capabilities Among Key Printing Trends
According to a new report, “Profitably Handling Shorter Runs,” from TrendWatch Graphic Arts (TWGA), “profitably handling shorter runs” was down as a business challenge among print and prepress establishments to 8 percent – the lowest this challenge has been in three years.
Before dropping to 8 percent, profitably handling shorter runs had been at 12 percent – the highest level ever in the history of TWGA’s study. At the same time, TWGA has been tracking a steady rise in investment in digital printing equipment.
According to the study, it’s still too early to tell if it will finally pay off. The study reports that among those shops that consider themselves to be digital printers, the “profitably handling shorter runs” challenges drops to 6 percent.
Some printing shops may be buying new offset equipment to accomplish this, but for many others, digital printing is clearly scratching the itch.
Makeready and waste on offset presses may be down sharply, but it still can’t touch that of a toner-based press.
According to another new report from TWGA, “Broadening Digital Printing Serves as a Sales Opportunity,” printers are increasingly looking to digital work. In fall 2005, 36 percent of all print and prepress firms cited “broadening digital printing services” as a sales opportunity, up from 26 percent six months earlier – representing an all-time high for this opportunity.
TrendWatch Graphic Arts report sponsors and consulting clients are among the largest companies in the industry. In addition, TWGA publishes Creative Directions. In each monthly issue, “Creative Directions: Charting the Source of the Design and Production Community” will concentrate on important issues such as packaging design, variable-data printing/ personalization, digital printing, magazine design and production and others and looks at them in terms of historical trends, current market status, technology issues, business implications and long-term forecast.
For more information, contact TWGA, (866) 873-6310; fax: (646) 746-7485; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org;web: www.trendwatchgraphicarts.com.
NAPL Predicts Slowdown in Printing Business Activity
A prospective slowing in printing industry business activity is reflected in the June 2006 National Printing Leadership (NAPL) Printing Business Index (PBI), the trade association’s broadest measure of print activity, which fell to 52.8 in June from 55.6 in May and 59.9 in March, its lowest level in three years.
Despite brisk growth in current sales, the PBI performance underscores the likelihood of major challenges ahead for graphic communications companies.
“Sales performance may suggest that business is good and there’s little to worry about. Unfortunately, that’s not the cases,” noted Joseph V. Vincenzino, NAPL senior economist. “Going forward, the economy will slow and growing and even maintaining profits will get a lot more difficult. Companies must be prepared.”
The PBI combines input from NAPL’s Printing Business Panel about work-on-hand, current business conditions, expected business conditions (confidence), hiring plans, profitability and other key indicators is not a single measure of activity.
The NAPL Printing Business Panel is a representative group of more than 300 printers that the Association surveys monthly on a range of key printing issues. Since the same companies are surveyed every time, data are strictly comparable from period to period.
The economic analysis comes from NAPL’s Printing Economic Research Center (PERC) which produces research and publications sponsored by Heidelberg.
More info: National Association for Printing Leadership, (800) 642-6275, (201) 634-9600; fax: (2011) 634-0324; web: www.napl.org.