This One's for Ladies Only --DeWese
Once they have entered the industry, the mostly male printing company leaders have proven to be equipment junkies. You've all seen men indulge their cravings for machines in their lives—boats that sit in the backyard, fast cars, power tools, tractors, etc.
The rationale seems to be, "We can't get enough customers, but we can damn sure can get more equipment. Maybe, if we build it with more equipment, they will come." This kind of thinking is what leads men to bet and lose big bucks on pro football.
As a result, depending on which expert you believe, the printing industry has too much capacity by factors ranging from 20 percent to 40 percent. Capacity is another word for "supply" or, in the case of the printing industry, another word for prepress, press and bindery equipment.
Now everyone knows that our economy works on supply and demand. If the FoodMart is not selling butter, it goes on sale. If SuperColorLithoGraphics has idle presses, printing goes on sale until it lands some work, even if those jobs lose money. It took those jobs away from its competitor down the street, MagicLithoColor (MLC), so MLC cuts prices until it can land a few unprofitable jobs. Now everybody is losing money.
The customers stand by and say, "This is easy. Let's demand good quality, fast service, the lowest price and somebody will still print our jobs."
As a result, the customers rule most of the larger printing segments. (Oh, there are a few highly specialized segments where the printers rule, but I'm almost certain those specialties were ideas that originated from women.)
The printing industry has another unfavorable characteristic: the job shop manufacturing system. This simply means we are not manufacturing 200,000 Ford Explorers in a plant (continuous flow manufacturing) or 200,000 gallons of chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream (batch flow manufacturing). The equipment in automotive and ice cream facilities gets set up and runs forever. Printing equipment has to be set up (made ready), then washed up after every job—plus every job is different.