On Demand - Into the Paperless Zone
"You must offer non-print services...to keep your business growing in the future," Pesko implored. "Make the decision today to deal with media other than print. If you elect to not make this transition, I suggest selling your business."
Using statistics bent toward a more paper-friendly future, Bernhard Schreier, chairman of Heidelberg's management board, agreed that businesses must begin providing non-paper-based services.
However, he chided Pesko's assessment of the future, saying, "I think both will play a major role in the future. I believe new technologies will supplement the printed page, not replace it."
Citing some of his own statistics in his portion of the keynote address, Schreier predicted strong, continued demand for paper through 2010. Heidelberg's chairman also countered Pesko's figures with humor, drawing mild peals of laughter from the audience when he remarked, "Reports of the death of hard copy were greatly exaggerated."
However, despite minor disagreements on the tack paperless communication will ultimately take, both men agreed that companies need to embrace digitally based printing and communication to be successful in the future.
"You're going to be competing with huge conglomerates as consolidation continues in the market," warned Pesko. "The role of the print provider is changing. Focus on producing new products and services to meet customer needs."
Speaking at the "Go Digital" panel discussion, Roger Gimble, director of worldwide marketing for Global Document Solutions, echoed many of these same themes.
"Make yourself a one-stop solution for your customers," Gimble encouraged printers. Some other advice:
- Be consultants to your clients.
- Help manage information migration.
- Get involved in database management.
- Offer variable data.
- Personalize digital documents.
Speaking at the same panel discussion, Todd Deluca, executive director of strategy and development for Riso, added a second movement to the "Go Paperless" concerto, suggesting that without a strategy to manage communications, printers could end up in dire straits.