Competition is tough all around. Even quick printing chains, which seemingly pummel their competitors, face off against a host of small commercial printers, whether they be chains, franchises or independent businesses. But, profit and growth remain viable for both quick printers and small commercial printers. According to Quick Printing magazine’s 2007 Annual Franchise Review, the industry’s total 2006 sales were up 21.6 percent over 2005. And, as larger commercial printers expand their services, quick printers and smaller commercial printers are finding similar avenues to retain a competitive edge.
To get an overview of today’s quick printing market, BFL&S spoke with John Giles, an industry consultant who focuses on prepress issues and sales opportunities utilizing VDP (Variable Data Printing) and Web-to-print technologies. Giles is a consultant for Certified Printers International (CPrint), a printing franchise offering training and information products and services on new printing technologies. CPrint was developed by Crouser & Associates, a Charleston, West Virginia-based business consulting firm.
BFL&S: What do you see as the biggest industry shifts in quick printing this year?
Giles: The entry costs to providing higher-end variable data printing and Web-to-print services are dropping to allow small printers to add these new services. As print buyers continue to order shorter runs, the quick [or] small commercial printer is
positioned to compete against much larger companies. Quick printers are positioned to take advantage of the trend [toward] short-run work. Another key marketing advantage is the quick printer’s experience with dealing with customer-created files.
BFL&S: What new products will enhance quick printing services?
Giles: VDP and Web-to-print [technologies] are giving quick printers more [sales opportunities]. Special PDF drivers that help customers automatically create printable files make it easy for customers to create documents and buy printing. [Color digital printers under 70 ppm] with robust RIPs make it affordable for printers to enter the short-run, full-color printing market.