Pass the Word
Sometimes, less is more—especially with regard to digital print. The ability to produce shorter runs (quantities below 5,000) is one factor helping to make digital the industry's significant bright spot. Think about it. The economy is still in a recovery phase and companies are now feeling the burn from mistakenly ordering too much last year. Lesson to be learned: if less is ordered, costs will be reduced or eliminated.
Paul Edwards, CDC, president of Fenton, Missouri-based FormStore Incorporated, expanded on this concept. "If you look back to 2008 to 2009 and the change in the economy, what happened is a lot of people bought a lot of stuff. Not just printed stuff. They ... put it in a warehouse [and] it just [sat] there. ... Companies that slowed down had way too much inventory," he observed.
Edwards believes print-on-demand (POD) will be the driving force behind digital throughout much of 2010. In fact, he is starting to see customers who made an ordering blunder last year switch over to a digital POD model. Why? Because it allows end-users to print what they want, when they want and have it shipped anywhere.
"It might cost a bit more, but you don't have to make it, ship it into a warehouse, then have the money tied up, pay for storage and insurance, pay to repackage and redistribution and to reship it. Or for the obsolescence," he noted.
Edwards went on to say distributors that fail to embrace digital technology and combine it with their e-commerce technology might stand to lose their short-run business altogether. This is a big problem for small- and mid-sized distributors that sell a lot of short run.
"And more of their bigger customers are going to be ordering shorter runs as well and I don't necessarily mean 200; I mean 500, 1,000 or 2,000 instead of 10,000. If they're not equipped to do that, they're going to look back on this year and they'll find significant segments of their business is gone. And when it trickles out 500 here, 1,000 there, 1,500, 200; when it trickles out like that, there's no big sucking sound. It's more like a slow leak in a tire. But eventually, the tire is flat," he stressed.