By Morten B. Reitoft, Editor/CEO INKISH, TV for- and about the printing industry, based in Roskilde, Zealand/Denmark
(The story was originally posted on LinkedIn, 5. March 2019)
#Think!Paper — Edition 2, Vol. 3
Do you know the feeling of anti-climax? You have been busy for many days, maybe even been traveling, perhaps yet met a lot of people and, then you are back in your office, and things are quiet. Perhaps not more quiet than usual, but the contrast is what makes the anti-climax. This is how I am right now.
Last week I was at the Hunkeler Innovationdays #HID19 in Lucerne, Switzerland and it was actually one of the events I really anticipated to visit. Many friends, many business partners, potential business partners, and well – equipment that whatever you look at it as amazing. When you look at the digital printers, they are pretty amazing. The quality, the speed, the size, the – well – everything is just amazing. However, the binding is actually to some extent more amazing. You feed a roll in one end, and you see finished applications coming out in the other end. Books, statements, magazines, you name it, and I can’t help thinking about the amazing world what we live in. Technology keeps bringing us new amazing options, but most people in the printing industry don’t even know. The requirements for the vendors must be quite stressful from time to time. How do you keep innovating and how do you keep bringing new technology to the market when even the last great invention hasn’t sold in quantity expected?
At Hunkeler Innovationdays I spoke to CEO Michel Hunkeler and he kind of said (listen for yourself when we publish the interview) that Inkjet printers didn’t sell as fast as anticipated. It’s not cheap to develop machines like that and to be profitable, volume to some extent is required, or the price will be too high. Partnerships are seen as never before. Today we see technology from one vendor build into technology from another vendor. Some even re-brand products to get a wider distribution and who knows maybe shared development- and marketing cost. Two fresh examples are Ricoh/FujiFilm/Heidelberg or what about Argos/Plockmatic and then Hunkeler who build the amazing equipment that interfaces with practically every major supplier of inline or nearline binding equipment.
Houston we have got a problem. We – as an industry – continues to focus on effectiveness, lower cost and unfortunately don’t focus a lot on how to grow our industry. I have said this numerous times, and of course, my voice is a beep in the bigger world – but friends we have to do something.
Where does it start? It starts with having a focus on growth rather than price – maybe not so much from the vendor side, but your hard work making machines better, faster, and more efficient drive the price development in the wrong direction. Your customers need to learn how to focus on growth – not just from a company perspective but an industry perspective. Some marketing people don’t know what we are capable of. Some people believe that print is old-fashion. Some people don’t see the value in push media and printed communication. Some of your customers don’t even know the basic skills when it comes to selling applications and solutions on anything but price?
I think we as an industry should figure out what to do.
Many people in the industry actually do something about this – but all are small voices in a big world, and you should support these people. If you can make the industry grow your customers will increase revenue and profit, and they will be able to invest in your equipment – it’s that simple!
A few mentions! Deborah Corn and her Project Peacock educate the designers and print buyers. Matthew Parker teaches printers to sell not on price. Pat McGrew educate the market with her Print Sample TV. TwoSides about the environmental issues – and many more people – not to forget mentioning INKISH of course. We all work to make the printing industry better, more profitable, growing and exciting in the future as well – but vendors should financially support the future of the industry – and if you don’t want to encourage any existing channels just for the sake of marketing – find your projects that can support the industry you are part of and invest. The ROI in my opinion is higher and the impact on everybody is considerable. I personally buy magazines for more than $100 a month, I buy books frequently – if we all buy more print applications we support our industry and why shouldn’t we?
And then – After the Hunkeler Innovationdays I checked out some of the vendor’s websites – my god. Take a look at your own site and tell yourself that it does a good job – if you think so, fine – if not – do something about it. INKISH is about storytelling but to see websites in 2019 that still only focus on products – not even tell stories from users or inspire potential customers – my goodness – you will have a difficult time communicating with the younger generations.
DO something about that as well!
There was immediately an interesting discussion on LinkedIn after Morton published his story. Here our selection via screenshot.
Morten B. Reitoft is an experienced CEO with a passion for development of ideas and business. His statement: ”I am very creative and very hard working and one of my greatest strength is my ability to encourage people – whether these are customers, employees or business partners.”
Specialties: Creative, competitive, Great interest in both the detail and the overview, very good communication skills, inspiring, fast thinking, internationally oriented, great interest in people, business and processes.
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