Suggestions for a prosperous 2018

Measure Analyse Document. Keep good records on productivity and all plant operations. Knowledge is power. Look for bottlenecks and communication issues. Review how your customers deal with you and strive to make it as easy as possible. It is axiomatic that we still make most of our money with old technology. But the time is coming when new technology can make a difference in your plant. Your data will tell you why. Stay informed. Our technology is improving every day. Whether you need more productivity for offset or digital or other areas of the plant, there are many alternatives. Perhaps too many alternatives. I attend many seminars and conferences and I have yet to attend one where I have not heard a good idea that could improve some aspect of production or increase sales. Read. Listen. Learn.

Streamline operations. Robotics are just entering the printing industry. We have had automation for some time. Remember when automatic plate loading was introduced in 1993? And JDF workflows in 2000? Think how jobs are now delivered over the web. That was a new idea once. One new idea can be worth its weight in gold.

Invest in the ability to produce new products. Growth comes from selling more of what you produce. But it also comes from selling new things that you can also produce if you have the right technology. Entering new markets will become more important as traditional markets start to see softness. Eschew the attitude that ‘if you build it, they will come’. Do your homework and invest for good reasons.

Buy wisely. Perform test runs with actual jobs. Check with other users. Consider leasing. Cutting cost should be a relentless activity. But using technology to enter new markets is perhaps more important. Many traditional printed products are being replaced by digital alternatives. Look for new areas of growth.

I do not expect major new technology in the next few years. The next drupa is not until 2020. This is where new announce-ments are traditionally made and then it takes a few years for it all to work. Thus, the market as it is will be the market we deal with for the next few years. I have not seen major introductions between drupas.

Thus, if you acquire new devices and systems today, you will find excellent alternatives. A major trend is the move to B1 and B2 digital sheet-fed printing systems. Cut-sheet digital machines are now handling additional colours and large sheet sizes. Roll-fed digital printers are selling very well. Offset is still selling. One new offset press can replace two or even three older presses. Workflows are more and more automated.

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