By Gerry Mulvaney, European Sales Manager, Landa Digital Printing
I don’t need an Apple Watch. I have already got a rather nice Omega which my wife bought me for my fortieth birthday and a modern waterproof and shockproof Lorus so it’s not a problem on the beach, in the gym or the shower.
To be fair I was equally happy with my Nokia 6500 before I had my iPhone and with my Toshiba laptop before I acquired my iPad and I am now on the second iteration of both. So Apple certainly have a way of creating a need that didn’t seem to exist before they launched their products and I guess I might be blogging next year about how the Apple Watch has again changed my day to day existence.
This ability to create a completely new market where none existed before is something that we need to do in the printing and packaging industry, given the impact that technology has had on some of our staple products. I mean Apple has now integrated airline boarding passes into Passbook, newspapers are being delivered online and bank cheque books went into decline with the arrival of Internet banking.
The Only Constant is Change
Relying on existing business and products is no guarantee for longevity of printing and packaging businesses, since you can’t be sure what is just around the corner to destroy your market. Innovation already abounds in some quarters; personalisation of Coca Cola bottles, Vodka bottles with LED lights to provide patterns for music, holographic posters on billboards, personalised greetings cards or calendars produced with web-to-print; there is a growing list.
Innovation is key! Relying on existing business and products is no guarantee for longevity.
So it’s not a bad time now to look at your core products and your key customers and do a risk assessment based on what could potentially take them away from your business. It’s not an easy job and in all likelihood you and your colleagues may be too close to the coalface to do it dispassionately.
You could start with your customers and ask them if they are already looking at alternatives to what you are supplying to them? Your ink, press or consumables suppliers will have a vested interest in maintaining their business with you and so could be a source to sense-check your strategies. But at the end of the day it will come down to you to come up with the next generation of products if you want to keep hold of your customers’ business.
Benny Landa’s Nanography® process is another example of a technology whose customers didn’t realise they had a need. A bit like the Apple Watch it has had a long gestation, but now with the impending beta installations the market is about to see the impact it has on B1 format (41 in. / 1,050 mm) offset printing.
Of course there will still be a market for Rolex and Omega watches in the same way there will be a market for traditional presses alongside Nanographic Printing® technology, but it will be a brave person who will bet against Apple and Landa creating a substantial market for their new technology.
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