Effective use of the computer with application of information technology (IT) in both the running of the business and production aspects of a printing company were voted as the most critical survival applications of technology.
2. Multiple Products
Acquiring and implementing the knowledge, skills and technologies necessary to leverage print content and formats into a variety of multiple products/multiple media (including e) ranked second in the overall list.
The incorporation of automation into print production is key, starting with the use of standalone automated systems or equipment and evolving into integrated automation moving toward ‘lights-out or hands-off manufacturing.’ The approach includes incorporating JDF/JMF dialog between and among production and management systems.
4. Unique Materials
Creative use of unique materials and equipment and associated technologies to enhance the value and application of print is critical to standing apart from the competition. Included are technologies such as coating--including digital dimensional coating, QR and similar systems, augmented reality, invisible printing and security printing. Also included in this category are unusual die-cutting and folding.
Complete web-to-print capability is more than just an up-to-date communication tool --- it is the automation of print from customer inquiry to the pressroom and into distribution. The way in Which web-to-print is implemented is becoming a competitive tool in many print markets.
While business planning and production planning with strategic and tactical direction, including technology components, ranked sixth in the overall list, several analyst members of the Selection Committee opined that comprehensive planning is fundamental to printers’ survival and should head up the list.
7. & 8. Digital Printing
Production digital color printing (toner or ink jet) is the primary printing industry growth process. Leading applications are short- (but getting longer) run work and direct mail containing at least a minimum of variable data. An understanding of direct marketing requirements and mailing capability are important ingredients for production digital printing success and are ranked in seventh place, almost parallel with production digital color printing.
9. Market and Product Specialization
Customer market segment specialization with in-depth knowledge of the segment in conjunction with specialized technologies and equipment to produce special/unique print products for that segment is critical.
10. Marketing Service Provider
Adopting the technology, skills and business approach to convert from being a conventional printer to a marketing service provider can pave the way to success.
11. & 12. Up-to-Date Equipment
Up-to-date equipment for the pressroom, closely followed by binding and finishing, ranked eleventh and twelfth respectively, including the integration of binding and finishing into press production lines. Software upgrades and replacements for both pressroom and postpress operations need to be monitored continuously and implemented for improvements and advantages, the Committee noted.