Print may be struggling now, but we can keep it a viable communications tool. The rules of engagement may be changing, but alternative media will not make print obsolete. Runs lengths will continue to shorten, cycle times will continue to shrink and true computer-integrated manufacturing will become a reality. We'll continue to drive down our costs of manufacturing through automation and better workplace practices. And since our lives have so quickly become inundated with forgettable television commercials, endless e-mails and hard-to-navigate Websites, the ability to read, hold and easily transport a nicely printed document truly becomes a refreshing experience. So don't count out the electronic information overload factor and the role it will play in future consumer and B-to-B marketing communications decisions.
Capitalize on the fact that our manufacturing industry has not gone overseas. One of the causes—and results—of the recent recession in America has been the widespread loss of manufacturing jobs, which have been lost to countries with cheap labor, government subsidies and more pro-business policies. Printing, on the other hand, largely remains a service-oriented, localized industry not suited for foreign production. With a large employment and taxation base, we need to better flex our muscles with politicians to spur more favorable legislation. This includes the need for extensive legal, worker's comp, health insurance and product liability reform.
We won't lose sight that our most valuable asset is human capital, not equipment. As a capital-intensive business, it's easy to become enamored with the latest machinery available and the efficiency improvements that it can provide. But smart printers will also focus their efforts on maintaining a well-trained and appreciated work force. They know that if you don't resolve to have everyone on board and empowered to achieve common goals, there definitely won't be much to celebrate during the new year.