Crouching Tiger, Hidden Opportunities
He added there is plenty of evidence of international companies investing here to achieve greater market share. Hunley noted that international companies have bought at least six Canadian paper mills in just the last five years.
"Many of the mills had been closed by North American companies many years ago, but the international investors not only bought the facilities but are also finding ways to invest in new technology," he commented.
In order to stay in the game, Hunley said U.S. printers need to wake up to what's going on.
"We live in a global economy and U.S. print professionals need to recognize that," he explained. "A few years ago, only the biggest printers could afford the infrastructure to serve clients globally. Today, mid- to large-size printers can achieve the same level of client service and reach with much lower investment in technology. And, smaller companies can establish strategic alliances with printers in other geographies to deliver the level and volume of service that much larger companies have traditionally done. By establishing a global network, printers can offer their customers a single contact for design or mechanical changes, and production changes can be made globally in seconds. For smaller printers, the future may depend on specialty printing. As large printers move towards national accounts, smaller shops can develop industry-specific capabilities for such things as point-of-sale displays, direct marketing and other small print-run options."
So, what about tomorrow?
These professionals agree offshore and overseas printing will continue to grow.
The savings are too important to ignore, Hira explained.
"I think it will continue to take market share," Hira said. "The cost advantages are simply too compelling. Not everything will move offshore but as technology advances and as managers in companies learn how to coordinate offshore work, the overseas printers will gain market share. It is unlikely that many U.S. print facilities, except in niche markets, will take advantage of the very fast-growing markets abroad like India, China and Brazil."