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Business + Management: Marty Mcghie

From the Editor: Prophesies for 2016

New problems, players, possibilities are just around the corner.



My friend John works as a hypnotist (full-time and profitably) in New York City. Hypnotism, it turns out, isn’t what most people think. John’s clients want to lose weight, quit smoking, or control embarrassing habits; he rarely reaches into their subconscious and pulls out anything they can’t recognize. Think of it as guided imagery, rather than the theatrical magic that movies depict.

Nevertheless, I sometimes wish life could be a bit more magical. You know, poof, the roof stops leaking, the car stops rattling, and the bills disappear? So, I asked John whether change might be on the horizon with a rare lunar eclipse and fall equinox settling next to each other on this year’s calendar.

His answer was disappointing: Yes, perhaps, but only because we believe it’s true.

In that spirit, I’ve changed my opinion on 3D. The markets for outputs are still undefined, it’s true, but if you want a slice of that pie, you need to start building the skills now. It’s like younger journalists learning to code, or early-career surgeons studying remote robotic techniques; it’s not yet the standard industry requirement, but it will be.

Along with that change, I predict some other shifts for 2016:

• Software will become streamlined as crossover between multifunction products increases and as demands for real-time monitoring and job ganging grow.
• Young people will continue to represent an enormous opportunity, as well as a threat, to established businesses as the threshold to enter digital printing drops and the demand for new blood in expanding family-owned shops remains high.
• In-house design skills will begin to differentiate print service providers from higher-paid branding and marketing consultants who produce printed materials.
• Customers will demand the ability to track a job not only as it enters and exits your facility, but throughout the process, with an eye to more last-minute changes and frequent progress updates to accommodate their own demanding clients.
• Print shops will increasingly deploy web-based services to support branded signage, décor, promotional materials, and the like, whether through in-house tech employees or by outsourcing these services.
• Sales reps will begin to collaborate with prepress operators to set competitive prices for services based on the skill and equipment (not just time) required to produce them.
• Women will continue to grow as a percentage of small business leaders as older generations retire.
• We’ll see a growth in older printers used in shops as PSPs broaden the types of jobs they accept – part of the early steps of as clients come to understand the scope of potential print output (think printing paisley on vinyl as a décor item rather than simply printing a logo on an adhesive media).
• Print shops will develop in order to service the exploding and hospitality markets.
• Digital printers’ ink drop size and speed will become less important than features – like improved feeding systems, printhead durability, maintenance ease (particularly remote maintenance), and media handling – designed to facilitate short-run and/or variable data printing.
• Print shops will continue to have a presence, but make few waves, on social media, as they rush to to attract both today’s customers and tomorrow’s employees.


Email with your own predictions – I sense that this is a very changeable time of year.




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