‘Plan for the future, don’t dwell in the past’

Simon Isaacs, Graphic Communications national sales director, Ricoh UK
Monday, October 18, 2021

As we move into the final quarter of the year, thoughts turn to 2022 and beyond. Ricoh’s Simon Isaacs emphasises the need for print business owners to be thinking boldly and imaginatively as they plot their future path.

The approach of a New Year is often an occasion for reflection. After a tumultuous 18 months for individuals and businesses, and with 2022 just a few months away, now is the time for printers to seize the initiative and move forward with bold plans for the future.

As an industry and as business owners, we must hope that Covid will be kinder to us in 2022, especially given that the Government’s furlough scheme has now ended. Complications from Brexit linger, but more important structural shifts – the growth of digital and mobile marcomms channels, and the accelerated growth of ecommerce – are forcing brands and retailers to fundamentally change the way they operate, so that they can respond to consumer demands.

They are undergoing a digital transformation, and this demands a response from the print sector.

 

Printers must do so with boldness and confidence. They must accept that change surrounds them, and in that change, they must see potential instead of risk. Their decisions must be customer-focused and come from in-depth discussions with customers about their evolving needs.

Ricoh has curated content, available here, to support business owners

We are already seeing these moves start to happen. Printers are already winning with imagination, creativity, innovation and an enterprising spirit. These companies are on the front foot in every aspect of their operation. They are identifying opportunities for business growth, and investing in technology, people and skills that will enable them to capitalise on these new opportunities. They view competitors and suppliers as collaborative partners in the making.

Fresh perspectives
Ricoh has undergone its own digital transformation, and is perfectly placed to help printers address these issues as a partner – not just with technology, but with strategic consultancy and digital services that enable them to reposition successfully. Our print customers are now coming to us for help with their IT infrastructure, cyber security or workplace audits - as Ricoh we are able to help them with challenges beyond the printed page and print workflows.

We must all face it: the industry is changing.

The old print business of volume outputs marked by the clanking roar of a heavy metal printing press is a business of narrowing horizons. The industry succeeding it looks and sounds very different.

Instead of outputs, this new print sector is motivated by valuable outcomes. Hushed conversations about data and deliverables take place in front of clean machines that unobtrusively hum and click. Strategy is discussed and applied using a suite of smart solutions, all directed towards achieving the customer’s purpose most effectively and most economically.

The new print industry needs fresh perspectives, and to generate those it needs a more diverse workforce. I think it is encouraging to see more young people and women entering the print industry, but this is a battle that we must continue to fight, because attracting these kinds of people is a real challenge.

My own leadership team here at Ricoh Graphics Communication is now predominantly women, and they are doing a fantastic job. Around the industry, we are seeing more and more women becoming influential, and this is a hugely positive development for UK print.

Listen to Ricoh’s Anything in Print podcast with BPIF on talent and diversity in print

All of this is the industry’s future and therefore it is your future as a printer. As the pandemic has shown, we can never be sure what is around the corner, but we do know that trends such as the digital transformation are only going to accelerate.

I hope that all print business owners are already making plans to ride that acceleration and forge successful, customer-focused, digitally-driven print operations. If they are not, they should make it their New Year’s Resolution to do so.

 

 

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