Editor's Note: Redefining the Landscape

With all of the news reports concentrating on the doom and gloom of the world economy, it can be hard to stay focused and positive. But, to a certain extent, it's these news reports that shape business decisions. When they're talking about record high rates of unemployment or difficulties in obtaining financing, some companies might take a step back, re-evaluating large capital equipment purchases.

In all honesty, I can't argue with that line of thinking. The outlook seems downright dim, but I believe that smart businessmen (and woman) will weather this particular economic storm and come out even stronger than ever—if they remain positive and focused.

Successful businesses will need a solid strategy moving forward. While mindful of costs and expenditures, investments are also required. For some, that might mean buckling down and concentrating on their core business. For others, it might mean expanding into new markets with the equipment they already own. For a few, an investment in new equipment might provide enough of an ROI that it makes sense—for them.

In this issue, we take a look at two niche markets that offer some real opportunities for businesses. With the developments in digital fabric and textile printing and the leaning toward greener solutions, more and more companies have begun to offer solutions within this market area. Fabrics are lighter and many are created from natural products, providing a smaller carbon footprint—something many corporate clients have been asking for. Additionally, the direct-to-fabric systems have come a long way, providing much higher resolution prints and much brighter and bold colors than older or traditional dye-sublimation systems. You can turn over to page 10 to read more about this exciting market.

Over the past few years, we've seen the influx of UV flatbed printers into the market. These versatile printer shave opened up a host of new niche opportunities including package printing and package prototyping—two applications that had been a mainstay of the commercial print market previously. According to I.T. Strategies, the packaging sector averages about three percent growth annually with a total output product value somewhere in the range of $290 billion worldwide. To get some more information on this niche market, please turn to page 14.

But no matter what you decide, one thing is certain. Times like these will redefine the business landscape. Strong companies will be able to solider on, while others might fail. New businesses providing unique products and services will also emerge. When we finally come out of this downturn, it will be a very different market, an entirely different landscape.

But for those companies flexible enough and with a complete and strong business strategy, I think this will only make them stronger and even more adaptable to the changing environment which has become business' norm.