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Trade Comment

Printing Opportunities

With the last two years causing many markets to merge and evolve. Carys Evans asks: “What opportunities are there for print businesses to diversify in today’s print industry?”

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Mathew Faulkner, EMEA director of marketing and innovation Canon Europe (Wide-Format Printing Group)

Fantastic opportunities 

When I look across our portfolio within the production business, I see there are fantastic opportunities for our customers. Wherever you are today you can scale up.
Perhaps within their existing customer base businesses have opportunities to produce new applications. It could be moving from cut sheet promotional applications into something more wide-format or something like wallpaper or digital décor where there’s huge growth, or vice versa.

At Canon we like to help our customers look at what’s right for their business, find their own future and then help them make the right decisions around technology investments and processes. I think as well as things like automaton, we’re also led by applications, flexibility, and being able to take on new and emerging opportunities as they come into life in this print environment.

Within Canon we help our customers open up or take advantage of some of these new and emerging opportunities

Over the last couple of years there was a lot of work in safety signage and in Covid-19 print applications, actually across many different applications and technology areas. Particularly for wide-format now, we are seeing lots of the live events coming back on stream, whether it’s businesses doing B2B events, or large national or international exhibitions that are starting to be rescheduled and taking place all throughout this year and planned for next year.
Within Canon we help our customers open up or take advantage of some of these new and emerging opportunities, it’s also really important for us to help them take the right steps for them but also help them through those relationships they need to build, asking the right questions to their customers so that when you do take on a new opportunity we help make sure it’s a real success as well.

I think for the whole wide-format industry there are some great applications coming on stream, the ability to personalise and produce a whole range of different customised applications whether it’s products or décor is really exciting.

Benefits of diversification
Michael Bolton, Managing director, PrintMAX

If the last few years have taught us anything, it’s that the world can change, quickly, so your business needs to be prepared for that. If your business is overly reliant on just one sector, you could be minimising profits, expansion opportunities and creating unnecessary risk if mitigating circumstances come into play.

When it comes to diversifying your print business, there are two main options: provide more products to your existing customers or adapt your product range to reach more customers.

A standard print room will likely meet the large-format needs of a business supplier, but one way of bringing more of their ordering to you could be by stepping into a new sector of printing, such as direct-to-substrate printing to supply merchandise, packaging and more.

 The market for short-run and personalised print continues to grow

The benefit of diversification in print is that the leading manufacturers have considered your business journey with their product range. You can use the same RIP software and familiar technology to print a phone case as you would a PVC banner. Whilst there is an element of risk in the capital involved, the market for short-run and personalised print continues to grow, so if you have a marketing plan in place, the diversification process should be smooth, with an opportunity to upsell to your existing customers and reach new ones.

One of the most popular routes for diversifying a print business is migrating to direct-to-substrate printing. Whilst the large flatbeds are a substantial investment; our Mimaki JFX range is the entry level solution, a smaller flatbed such as the Roland VersaUV LEF range or the Mimaki UJF series, could be an ideal introduction to the technology and market opportunities available.

With opportunities across a range of markets, which will you step into?

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