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Print Confessions

By Graphic Arts Professionals

About Print

Print Confessions is brought to you by Bill Farquharson and Kelly Mallozzi. Each week, read the thoughts of a different graphic arts professional who will share a point of view that can only be written anonymously, and then join in the conversation by posting a comment.

With Friends Like These, Who Needs Foes?

In a recent blog post (“Print Management Is Friend, not Foe”), the CEO of a large print-management firm put forth an argument for being the successful printer’s new, best friend. It offered one man’s version of the future of print production.

From the perspective of a “highly efficient print manufacturer,” here is another: Run away from the light – quickly!

While print management companies have become increasingly active in the marketplace, their total ownership of the market is far from determined. Some business will gravitate there, some will not. 

From my perspective, the print management business model needs you more than you need it. This service and delivery model cannot be achieved unless you are willing to continue to invest in your business to be cost competitive and innovative.

If print management firms really could determine what “the optimal manufacturing platform,” “better load balancing” and “job alignment” looked likem they’d be running a manufacturing business instead of sucking the life out of yours.

Fear is a successful motivator so, yes, it is OK to fear this model. Make no mistake. This is a competitor talking, not a business partner. They are after your margins; they need yours to make theirs.

Anyone would agree that our industry will continue to evolve rapidly—same as ever. You can also be sure smart customers are always in search of a better way. As a successful business, you can:
  • focus on serving the customer,
  • commit to building and investing in the best service/delivery team,
  • use technology to create a true market advantage and price supremacy,
  • excel at specialization, and
  • forget about your competitors, the list is getting shorter anyway.

Do this for yourself.  Be disciplined and be bold.  Success is not for the meek.

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