State of the Industry
Don't Fight the Future
Distributors are riding the wave of a changing industry
By Carol A. Katarsky
The times they are a-changin'.
More so than ever before, distributors are facing a topsy-turvy industry.
Mergers and acquisitions--among both suppliers and distributors--continue to bring new dimensions to once-familiar companies. The blurring of boundaries be-tween the manufacturing and distribution segments has changed the dynamics of the industry. And this activity isn't going to end soon.
A Slow But Steady Climb
With a maturing market and a slowing economy, manufacturers face a rocky road in '99
By Stacey Wenzel
The forms industry saw quite a bit of change in 1998. Acquisitions and mergers became commonplace for manufacturers. Customers grew to expect the finest in value-added products and services. Technology continued to demand rapid change.
A look at the overall U.S. economy may give some insight to what manufacturers can expect for 1999.
Dr. Ronnie H. Davis, chief economist for Printing Industries of America (PIA), Alexandria, Va., believes the U.S. economy is still on the rise. "I expect the economy to continue to grow, but at a slower rate," said Davis.
In Search of Efficiency
End-users seek better technology and enterprise-wide solutions
By Jamie Heckleman
Two overall continuing trends dominate the end-user segment. Document professionals are once again looking for smarter, faster, more efficient ways to collect, manage, distribute, print and store data--which often ties hand-in-hand with the need for vendors who add value to the company's bottom line through proactive, enterprise-wide solutions.
More specifically, end-users are concentrating their efforts on workflow systems, digital printing, electronic forms imaging and storage, print-on-demand, the Internet, Y2K projects and the compatibility issues that have arisen due to the current climate of mergers and acquisitions.