Wide-Format Digital Printing : A New Game Plan Pays OffSeptember 2012 By Michael Robertson
The lithographic market is super competitive. Commoditization has almost eliminated customer loyalty. The print quality bar is set higher than ever and margins are beyond tight. It used to be about price, quality and speed. But now it's all about price, price, price. If you are determined to follow the traditional lithographic business model, you should get hazardous duty pay because it will be ugly in the trenches.
Rethink Your Business Playbook
There are many ways for lithographers to change their business model to promote growth, but there's one proven approach that is working well in several print sectors. The approach is based on the premise that it's easier to sell additional services to an existing customer than it is to sell core services to the unknown.
Many lithographic companies have added digital document printing to their traditional technologies, which is a major step toward expanding services for existing clients. Supporting customers' short-run printing needs not only strengthened existing customer relationships, but also opened doors to new customers.
Adding wide-format digital imaging is another way to add value for existing customers and gain entry to new markets. For those companies that have digital document capability, the addition of wide-format is an easy process. They've moved past conventional "print think" where a successful print run has to be in the tens of thousands, and have incorporated a short-run business model with value-added services such as customization and managed distribution.
Companies new to digital imaging that are adding wide-format before digital document printing will have an easy time managing the technology. Their challenge will be refocusing the organization's business model, and the sales staff is usually the hardest group to convert. When introduced to digital imaging, salespeople see small jobs equating to small commissions. But, in reality, expanded support of the customers' printing needs results in increased use of all available technologies. And, like it or not, customers are benefiting from short-run, customized, well-managed solutions. They aren't going back to big inventories of print materials.
Support Your Digital Imaging Team
A well-informed digital wide-format salesperson will be able to interpret the interests of your customers and find beneficial applications. With a clear understanding of customer needs, they will be better prepared to select the most suitable wide-format technologies. Your salesperson will help target new markets where digital wide-format capability is the ticket for admission. He/she will play a critical role as you move your corporate culture past conventional "print think" to embrace a new way of working with your customers.