The study, conducted by ACA Research, surveyed more than 200 commercial print companies in Australia and revealed that 28 per cent anticipate an increase in capital expenditure and 31 per cent plan to increase their workforce over the next 12 months.
The Australian study showed that the average commercial printer undertakes 290 print jobs per month, with 43 per cent of these being digital rather than offset. The median run length is 250 pages for digital projects and 3000 for offset. These statistics align with Canon’s recent global Insight Report which estimates that some print service providers could have seen volumes fall by as much as 55 per cent and these print jobs tended to be produced more frequently and in shorter runs.
Canon’s global survey Insight Report was conducted by Professor Frank Romano and the Rochester Institute of Technology in the USA and surveyed 840 print providers from around the globe. The survey found that print providers reported glimmers of business improvement and those who trimmed their workforce now need to re-hire and train staff.
Mark Harvey, general manager, production printing systems Canon Australia says, “Having digital print capacity is crucial to print service providers’ prosperity, with more than half of those with digital printing reporting an increase in profits or revenues compared to only 31.7 per cent of non-digital businesses.”
When asked to identify the sectors with the most potential, the global respondents chose short-run advertising collateral (84.9 pe cent), versioned promotions (74.7 per cent) and short-run publications (65.3 per cent).
Similarly the Australian research highlighted the importance of growth in variable data printing with 70 per cent of commercial printers indicating that it will become increasingly important over the next two years.
Global printers are still cautious about any capital investment unless it has an immediate impact on productivity and profitability, however they have indicated that their top three areas for investment in 2010 are implementing or improving an automated workflow (56 per cent), expanding finishing options (49 per cent) and expanding digital printing (48per cent). In contrast, the utilisation of workflow systems in Australia is generally low, with 65 per cent of the market not currently using an automated workflow system.
Harvey says, “Despite the economic downturn having a negative impact on commercial printing globally, both reports indicate the industry is picking up. However, it is evident that exiting the global financial crisis will bring its own challenges with printers having to focus on growth sectors and develop growth strategies to satisfy them. Both investing in a blend of printed equipment, such as offset litho and digital,and optimising workflow are key areas for action for commercial printers to succeed.”
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