We last checked in with Steve Ford from Fuji Xerox Asia Pacific to update us on the company's growth strategies in the region. We continue the conversation to get his views on the digital print space.
Why is digital printing growing?
The game has changed and the demand agents are wanting more specific content rather than generic “mud” to throw at the wall. The result is lowering print volumes, increased frequency of demand plus integration of data driven products that therefore, are causing a long slow decline in traditional print volumes.
We’re talking trillions of printed pages globally that are migrating over, so even that small percentage is causing a rapid up-take in digital volumes – think colour. These trends, coupled with quality that can now be better than conventional technologies, is driving the growth in new technology adoption.
What are your observations on the digital printing industry in Asia Pacific?
We’ve come through a tremendous period of global flux. The Great Recessions across Europe and the United States has global impact, with only few areas being unchanged during this time.
However, I think that the Asia Pacific region has gained in stability with growth rates normalising across many countries, and should maintain healthy growth.
I think we will see digital printing in the region following suit, especially with our large manufacturing bases and as the need for more versioning of products increases.
What industry trends are gaining traction in Asia?
I think we’re at pivotal points on the chart with packaging, whether it’s folding cartons or flexible packaging and labels.
According to industry sources, we’re coming into a huge period of growth where we will see the market almost double in the next five years. For me, this looks like the same wave of growth the commercial print market experienced 12 years ago.
Our predictions then were similar, however we did prove ourselves wrong as we outstripped our own estimations of growth by a large margin.
What challenges do digital print adopters in Asia face?
I think one of the core challenges is to understand their costs well and charging for the products and services accordingly. It’s common to find in emerging markets an underestimation of costs, mostly due to wrong information or misinformation, and therefore, there exists a depletion of value across the business.
Digital production carries a certain value due to its ability to serve our customers better than ever before and understanding that value will help accelerate the success for any digital adopter.
How can printers make the easier transition into digital print?
First of all, look at what you are producing, the volume and processes and then consider how digital could produce it.
There is generally a short run volume in any traditional printing company - volume that is very low in margins and time consuming in comparison. I would say that considering these volumes will usually lead to a digital solution that can take care of this business, and provide more margins and opportunity for new products and services.
This way the risk can be minimised with the right business model. We have consultants across the region that can discuss how to achieve the right model for our customer’s business.
My advice would be to make sure you have the right business model, and let us have the right technology. Together we can be a huge success.
What is the one thing that the digital print industry should do more of, or perhaps should do better in?
We should do more to enable the transition from conventional to digital for the commercial print and packaging industry. Helping our customers understand the paths of transition and clearly defined opportunities.
The industry does a lot of work in this area, but I think there is room for improvement that can come from more collaboration, to remove the myths and fears that come with moving into new business areas and being early adopters of technology.
Any last messages?
The industry has advanced at an awesome pace over the last five years and will continue to do so throughout Asia Pacific. It’s a truly exciting time in digital printing and we’re positioned to lead in that growth.
Read the full article in the December 2017 issue of Print Innovation Asia.