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In order for any industry to stay competitive in a rapidly changing environment, companies within the segment must have core competencies that consistently stay ahead of emerging trends. In this regard, the quick printing industry has come to a crossroad. Traditionally, the core competency of the quick printing industry was local convenience. A representative from a small business could walk into the shop, place an order for a print project and then return several days later to pick up the completed project. Technology was limited resulting in limited printing options and quick printers were equipped with the necessary presses to meet their clients’ needs.
Drastic technological improvements over the years have eliminated convenience as a core competency for quick printers because of one thing... more options. Quick printers have invested in expensive equipment, but don’t offer the wide-spectrum of printing techniques. They may be biased and push customers to select the options that they offer at their shops in order to keep their equipment busy and positively impact their bottom line. Also, customers have access to inexpensive laser printers, online distributors and major distributors for their printed projects. Making two trips to the quick printer is time consuming and no longer appealing.
Even though some quick printers today claim to offer the same convenience as online print brokerages through the use of online features, the reality is that these features do not make up for the lack of cutting-edge technology that comes with highly specialized, expensive equipment.
Because of this specialization, the quick printer has been surpassed by superior quality and convenient options. Distributors and brokers are becoming the preferred channel of distribution. An unbiased source, distributors will identify the right printer for the job. Similar to the beverage, food and office supply industries, printing is moving in the same direction because of its specialization and broad distribution.
Unfortunately, this shift eliminated any quick printing competencies and even left quick printers at a severe disadvantage. Typically, they don’t have efficient manufacturing equipment, they may not have the sales and marketing support needed to attract business, and they are lacking the ability to provide up-to-date printing solutions.
So, is it all doom and gloom for the quick printing industry? Survival of the quick printer requires extreme overhauls of the current model. It depends on the quick printer’s ability to embrace a distributor type model and spend time calling on customers. Without this important element, they will face tough times and possible failure.