Making It as a 21st-Century Printer

Here are 2 strategies to survive and thrive in a digital economy.

The only thing constant in life is change, and Rob Keller has seen a lot of it.

During his 25 years in the paper industry, Keller has worked alongside printers and print distributors through an unprecedented period of market compression. But like so many other mature industries forced to compete in the digital age, printers committed to meeting their customers’ evolving needs are well positioned for the future.

Keller, director of new business development for Glatfelter’s Specialty Papers Business Unit, suggests two key areas that printers must focus on to survive and thrive in the 21st century:

Deliver more value

In print, little things can make a big difference. Creating value can mean offering more color and personalization options for your customers. Or it may mean reducing lead times and achieving the utmost consistency in your products with certifications such as G7 (ensuring accurate color reproduction).

Don’t overlook cost containment either. Waste reduction, standardization, and reducing the number of links in your supply chain are all good ways to keep margins steady and pass savings on to customers.

Vertically integrate

Look to provide complete solutions, not just the print component in your customers’ business and marketing processes, says Keller. Take direct mail as an example: Data management, lead generation, insertion, sorting, mailing, and managing the entire response package are all additional services a printer can provide. A well-run campaign clearly demonstrates the importance and value of such programs.

By creating more value and vertically integrating more services into the print process, printers can generate customer relationships to last a lifetime.