New drupa report: how to launch products in challenging times


drupa's Spotlight report, "Strategic choices in a competitive and converging marketplace", will be published in May.

The report surveyed over 500 printers and almost 200 suppliers described the challenges and successes of launching new products and services.

The survey was conducted before the coronavirus outbreak. For many in the industry, planning their recovery from the coronavirus recession may well necessitate such launches, so lessons must be drawn on how best to do so.

The report revealed that about 60% of printers launched major new products or services in the last four years into their existing markets. About half the launches were successful and very few failed. Diversifying the range of products/services and gaining new customers were chosen as the top benefits. As for the drawbacks, most reported that the launches sucked in far too much staff time and other resources and often ran well behind schedule.

30% of printers had launched into new market sectors. This is clearly a more difficult challenge and the results reflected that, with 40% of the launches going well (compared with 54% for existing markets).

For suppliers, approximately 80% launched new products or services over the last four years. Larger companies experienced a better success rate of 80%, compared to 40% for small suppliers. The top benefits were diversification and gaining new customers. The main challenges faced by far were launches running late and sucking in too many resources, while building the correct channels to market.

Before the coronavirus outbreak, 76% of printers and 85% of suppliers were either definitely or possibly launching new products or services in the next four years. Digital print technology followed by finishing being the most popular investment targets for printers.

The report will draw four key lessons on how best to succeed when launching new products or services:

  • Launching new services and products needs proper well-prepared processes

  • Careful selection and development is essential – no knee-jerk reactions

  • Plan conservatively – expect delays and complications

  • Manage your expectations – be realistic

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