The Next Big Thing in 2014
More than half of all in-plants intend to invest in hardware and software next year. A new survey reveals where they are planning to put their money.December 2013 By Arianna Valentini
The Hardware Side
As demand for more complex print work that involves more intensive finishing applications increases, in-plants are confronted with the dilemma of whether to outsource such projects or invest in finishing equipment to produce them in-house. Survey results suggest in-plants are leaning more toward investing in finishing equipment. More than 38 percent of in-plants reported they have budgeted for new finishing equipment in 2014 (see chart). When asked to explain their reasoning for investing in finishing equipment the majority said it was to increase efficiency. Expanding finishing capabilities leads to higher productivity, less outsourcing and provides customers with a one-stop source for their printing needs.
Another key hardware investment is in high-speed inkjet printing; 33 percent of in-plants are considering investing in high-speed color inkjet next year. For 37 percent of those in-plants that are considering this purchase, it will be a new offering. Again, hardware such as this allows in-plants to compete with commercial print firms that may be winning outsourcing work due to the lack of offerings within the in-plant. Bringing high-speed inkjet capabilities in-house enables in-plants to offer customers quick turnaround and high-quality work, and compete more effectively with outside competitors.
Have a Strategy for Success
When looking at investments for 2014 and beyond, InfoTrends recommends that in-plants evaluate current infrastructure and business models to determine how the investment fits in the organization and its production workflow, and what value it will deliver. Careful evaluation will help determine if the investment fits.
Secondly, make sure that investments provide the customer real value, and make sure to market that value. Many in-plants in this survey plan to promote services to customers via e-mail, print advertising and events that showcase new products and services. The goal is to ensure that customers are well informed on new offerings and their value.
Indeed, 2014 promises to be a year focused on productivity enhancing and service expansion moves to improve internal operations, thwart external competition and keep work in-house. It is important to remember as 2014 kicks into gear that the success of an investment starts with a solid strategy.