McIlroy–Digital Printing – Are You Making Money?

“There is no natural demand or pent-up demand for digital printing,” he declared. Rosen echoed the comments of market analyst Joe Webb, who has pointed out that digital printing is a need that most customers don’t recognize.

Rosen introduced two panelists who are truly making a success out of the digital printing business. The first was Karen Kelty, vice president of marketing at XYAN Corp., outside of Philadelphia. The second was Susan Kinney, president of Castle Press in Pasadena, CA.

XYAN is a little-discussed, but very successful player in the digital printing market. The company has 1,100 employees and operates 74 production centers in 28 states. XYAN has grown rapidly through acquisitions. It offers a wide range of services, from offset printing to facilities management, fulfillment and digital printing. But, as Kelty pointed out, “Digital printing is our future and it is our hallmark.”

“Very simply put,” she explained, “we looked at the printing industry and saw that it was growing at the rate of 2 to 4 percent annually. We didn’t think that that was good enough for us. Digital printing is growing anywhere in excess of 20 percent annually. That is where we wanted to be.”

Why the growth in digital printing? “Companies are facing very stiff competition,” Kelty attested. “There are a lot of issues around—consolidation, globalization, downsizing, rightsizing, business process re-engineering, you name it. Digital printing addresses those needs by allowing companies to cut costs, reduce their time to market, improve customer satisfaction and gain a competitive edge.”

Like Rosen, Kelty feels that demand creation is the major challenge facing the industry. “Digital printing really solves a problem that people may not recognize they have,” she said. Kelty used an analogy of ATM banking machines to illustrate her point. Automatic teller machines were not introduced in response to a market demand. People were accustomed to banking between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. It took the banks several years to get their customers trained to use ATMs. And now no one can imagine living without 24-hour, worldwide access to their bank accounts.

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