3D Printing will have no effect on business valuations of print, mail, and graphics communications companies—for the foreseeable future.
Simply, owners and senior managers of privately-owned print providers will need to look elsewhere than 3D Printing for growth. This technology may someday be relevant and perhaps even “disruptive,” but today it has zero relevance to the 28,000 or so companies in the domestic USA that operate within the $80 billion printing industry.
A recent visit to the Inside 3D Printing Conference and Expo at New York’s Jacob Javitz Convention Center served as my foray into 3D Printing. The word “3D” next to the word “Printing” sparked my interest, knowing that my clients among privately-owned companies are looking for new revenue streams to enhance survivability and to bolster shareholder value.
Initial impressions from walking around at the Expo:
- it’s great to see enthusiasm for new products and people actually lining up to talk with the exhibitors;
- the manufacturers of 3D Printing devices are a completely different group than the established names such as Xerox, HP, Komori and others who define the landscape in the world of printing and graphics communications;
- the cost of these machines is modest, under $20,000;
- some folks are calling this process “additive manufacturing” and if this phrase was more widespread, I wouldn’t have gone to the Expo;
- the manufacturing process involves successive layers of materials laid down in different shapes, hence the term “additive” as opposed to “subtractive” techniques such as cutting or drilling;
- applications will be for “things” and “products”, but it will take a visionary such as a Steve Jobs or Mark Zuckerberg to transform this technology into something big;
- For now, owners of print, mail and graphics communications companies have enough to worry about without spending time on exploring 3D Printing.
Disclaimer: opinions are my own and do not reflect NAPL position on 3D Printing, but you get the point.