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Past weeks have seen a flurry of activity in the UK screen and digital printing sector: the Sign and Digital exhibition; DSPA rebranding to Prism; PrintIT Awards; and preparations for Drupa. I can safely say that in this industry, nothing stands still for long.
Progress in the screen and digital print market is dominated by capital equipment, ink and substrate innovation which should, in theory, be a relatively slow process: not so. At least once a quarter I witness what can only be described as a step change in the industry. Key reasons for this are clear. Firstly, successful manufacturers in this industry have innovation in their blood, it's what fuels their growth. Secondly, there is still room for innovation, something that can not be said for all industries. Finally, innovation, done well, is a short circuit to profit.
It's easy for me, all I have to do is investigate and report my findings. However, from a printer's perspective, choosing when to adopt new technology can be a make or break decision. Climbing on too early could mean an expensive excursion into a cul-de-sac. Join too late and the service could have already become a low value commodity. Time it just right and the doors open to a rich vein of new customers all clambering for a premium service at a premium price.
There's no escape, it's vital for printers to keep a close eye on emerging technologies and jump when ready. Welcome to the ride.