As we emerge from a challenging few years to a new business environment, what can the printing industry expect, and what should you be looking to do to prepare?
Brighter skies ahead
Recent reports from establishments like the BMI and other printing industry experts, along with business analysts across manufacturing in general, indicate that the skies are clearing and the forecast is promising. Indeed, there are some consistent concerns across the board, including a shortage of skilled labor and supply chain issues. However, there are also many indicators that the economy is experiencing growth not seen for many years.
Books sales boom
The wonderful news for the book and print industry is that sales are flourishing and the growth is expected to continue. Research indicates that part of this recent surge is that students react well to the tactile learning experience that a book provides. In addition, with millions of students cooped up at home, the analog children’s book market has skyrocketed as parents tried to keep their children educated and entertained.
Labor shortages and supply chain issues remain
As children’s book author Jake Burt recently discovered, the print industry is having trouble keeping up with the new increase in demand. “Due to the complexities of book printing these days, the publication of ‘The Ghoul of Windydown Vale’ has been delayed until January 2022 from September of this year,” Burt explained on his Facebook page. The delay of his third middle-grade book was directly related to labor and supply chain issues. He emphasized that he understands that his publisher, Feiwel & Friends (an imprint of Macmillan), is doing the best they can to keep the train moving while managing so many schedule adjustments. The pandemic has also forced many shops to consolidate or close, further stressing production schedules.
How can you prepare for the changes in the print industry?
To address changes in our industry, we must acknowledge capacity issues and labor shortages. To do so, we need to maximize the production of books per sq/ft and per labor hour. Equipment should be smarter, leaner, faster, and require less manual operation.
Müller Martini equipment is engineered to grow with you under the guidance of the following key pillars of our Finishing 4.0 design philosophy:
- Automation: The basis for customization, variability, and smart functions.
- Connectivity: The basis for efficient production and smart services. Using data analysis as the basis for making right decisions.
- Variability: The possibility of making physical changes from product to product and customizing the content.
- Touchless Workflow: Through a combination of connectivity and automation, make production changes largely without manual intervention by the operator.
- And of course, ensuring your machines are in the best shape possible through MMServices
As the industry leader, Müller Martini is here to advise, assist, train, and provide solutions to make your operation as efficient as possible, from the comprehensive suite of MMServices to industry best practices and world-class solutions. Reach out to your Müller Martini representative to discuss your needs.