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Predictions of Industry Mergers --DeWese

May 2003
This will be a two-part column. Part one will be my blockbuster predictions for the future of the printing industry. Part two will be invaluable education for print salespeople and company owners.

I am truly blessed with healthy modesty. Occasionally, however (never more than once a day), I go on to the Internet to the Google search engine and type in "Harris DeWese." Up jumps about four pages of references to me—vitally important stuff that I've written, enormously significant stuff I've said, and places where I'm scheduled to appear where I will say even more valuable stuff.

Sometimes, my wife of 41 years, Anne "The Crusher", will sneak in my home office, peer over my shoulder and say, "You idiot! Stop wasting time reading about yourself and get in the kitchen and cook my supper."

Or, one of my so-called buddies, Dave "Mister Perfect" Jurist, or Ronnie "The Critic" Bray, or Mark "Attila the Editor" Michelson will call and, when I answer in my mellifluous baritone with a mellow "Hello," somehow guess my Google Euphoria. They'll say something like, "DeWese, you dimwit, you fake; you're reading Google again! Why don't you do something productive like getting some exercise and going on a diet?"

Hah! My three fair-weather pals and my mean-spirited wife, "Omnipotent Anne", don't have even a whole page among them in Google. I know. I looked them up.

Look in the Crystal Ball

OK, here are some printing industry predictions that will most certainly appear as links on Google. I am revealing them in this column first to benefit you faithful readers. Actually, I've been asked to make these predictions in a "keynote" speech on the last day of the On-Demand

Conference at the Javits Center in New York. The last day is when everyone is packing to go home and there might not be much of an audience, so I'll give it to you first.

Certain segments of the printing industry, principally the largest—the general commercial segment, have too much press capacity (i.e., supply). Underutilized capacity is press and other equipment time that exceeds the present demand. Whenever supply exceeds demand, prices go down, profit margins shrink, employees are laid off, companies default on debt payments, companies go out of business and some excess capacity is removed from the market. I'm not sure where all of that equipment is going.

Some of it sits idle, covered with tarps in quiet plants. Some of it must wind up in some big repo warehouse and some gets sold at discounted "forced liquidation" or "auction" prices.


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