manroland hosts NPES Road Show
The NPES industry update team rolled into manroland’s Westmont headquarters to meet with printers and suppliers in the Midwest area. About 40 representatives from local companies attended the information-packed seminar and stayed for a demonstration of the new ROLAND 700 DirectDrive sheetfed press.
Ralph Nappi started off the day with the mission of the Road Show. NPES has successfully made outreach efforts for the last two years to bring economic, industry and technology viewpoints to small groups in the graphic arts community. This gives a chance to save on travel, but to get the opportunity to engage in a dialogue with the industry experts.
The first speaker was Frank Romano who poked fun at Dr. Joe’s detailed economic graphics. Professor Romano described the evolution of the competitive printing landscape where successful companies broadened service offerings. This is making it difficult to establish a defensible marketing position. As a result, the number of printing companies is declining, but at a faster rate than print volume since the customer revenue is being acquired by other printers.
On the technology front, Romano observed that digital presses are quickly building in sales volume as the print quality and demand for fast turnaround accelerate. Though dominant today, he expects that the toner equipment will be eclipsed by inkjet in a few years. Long term, it is predicted that 50% of all printing will be digital.
Dr. Joe Webb discussed the macro economic trends in the US that are affecting the graphic arts industry. His forecast for 2009 is a continued decline in printing revenues. Industry profits have declined below the minimum of 2001. Companies are becoming more efficient as they add more production automation as shown in increasing productivity per employee.
The next section dispelled several myths about the printing industry. Generally, print is expected to continue to decline while electronic media take on a greater role in marketing budgets. Direct mail is still an effective medium despite the Postal Service obstacles. Print will, however, find its new role in the marketing mix as printers and suppliers strive to improve quality and effectiveness in attracting consumers to end use products.
Finally, the group viewed a presentation and demonstration of the newest technology from manroland- the ROLAND 700 DirectDrive press. The only true multitasking press in the industry, the DirectDrive can accomplish several tasks at once because it uses a separate computer controlled drive on the print unit. Plate changes or washups can occur simultaneously. This speeds makereadies for short runs or to gain more press time in a shift. The DirectDrive press proved that it is the industry Make Ready Monster.