Last updateWed, 08 Jul 2020 11am

Digital printing trends 2020: On a cuddle course with the customer

Automation helps printers develop profitable business models to support customers in advertising and marketing.

Print buyers' demands for faster and more individualized print production will continue to grow in 2020. For example, a current issues paper from the Hans Böckler Foundation assumes that the average job length will decrease by 15 percent in the next three years [1]. In order to combine cost reduction, increasing speed and innovation in business, print service providers cannot avoid topics such as automation, artificial intelligence and convergence in the drupa year. Konica Minolta has identified seven trends for 2020 that commercial printers should keep on their radar:
MGI JETVARNISH 3D One uses a universal varnish for various 2D and 3D effects and performs the varnishing in a single pass. With the production of eye-catching print products, the entry-level model opens up new possibilities for print service providers to generate many orders from the publishing and advertising industries in the finishing market. The system is particularly suitable for finishing print products in short and medium runs. Packaging can be enhanced just as much as books, magazines or brochures. A spot-coated menu or an individually finished greeting card has an impact on the reader and impresses with its special feel and visual appeal. The new system is aimed at print service providers, finishers, and all Konica Minolta customers who want to develop profitable business opportunities.
Customer processes instead of just printed matter: The concept of Printing Industry 4.0 focuses on one question: "How can I support my customers' business processes digitally and profitably? In any case, print service providers must pay close attention to the business processes of their customers. The associated process changes in the printing business itself cannot be solved by innovative printing technology or the use of the latest MIS or workflow software alone. In 2020, print and media service providers will also develop new, digital business models that focus on the customer.
Automated print production: One hurdle in focusing on the customer is the day-to-day business of print service providers. Technological solutions help printing companies here: end-to-end system networking and process automation give them the time they urgently need. In future, printing systems that - AI-based - make independent decisions, for example to correct possible errors, will further relieve the burden on employees.
From printer to full-service provider: with the right business model, digital printing processes are highly profitable. To finally put the margin trap of recent years behind them, print service providers will have to further develop their business models in 2020. Knowledge of their customers' business processes combined with their own expertise in printing will enable them to offer new value-added services in the field of advertising and marketing. Printing companies are supported in this by new software solutions for marketing automation. In future, printing companies will be able to define, segment and control their customers' marketing campaigns and generate new sources of revenue.
Print enhancement becomes mainstream: In the competition for attention, print products that captivate the viewer with unusual surfaces or haptic elements are impressive. Digital print enhancement will become a central trend for commercial and packaging printers in 2020. Spot coating and foiling are used to create products that are attractive to touch. The basic idea behind it: The longer a consumer is involved with a print the longer he or she will remember it - a compelling argument especially for customers in the advertising industry. In 2020, entry-level systems for digital print enhancement in particular will come onto the market which will enable even smaller companies to profitably enhance individual print products with a special feel.
Merging of print and digital: Media usage behavior, especially among younger consumers, is increasingly shifting towards the moving image, which is also reflected in the declining importance of print media as advertising media. In 2020, the focus will therefore shift to technology concepts based on Augmented Reality (AR), which enrich print products with interactive content such as animations or videos. These concepts, such as Konica Minolta's genARate platform, will make it possible to extend print campaigns online. Print service providers support customers from the advertising industry in making the success of a printed advertising campaign measurable.
Color digital printing in the fast lane: Analyses by Keypoint Intelligence / InfoTrends show that production volumes in color digital printing in Western Europe are now larger than in the mono segment - and the trend is rising. The market analyst assumes a positive development for the medium volume range and expects noticeable growth. The same applies to high-volume color digital printing. This is reflected in a larger number of available printing systems: at drupa, new toner-based ink systems in the segment between 120 and 140 ppm will therefore be on show, which will make everyday printing much easier thanks to a high degree of automation and simplified operation.
B2 format is picking up speed: Despite all the prophecies of doom, digital B2 sheetfed printing has developed continuously and positively over the past eight years. This trend will continue in 2020. This is ensured by new business cases, especially from packaging and digital letterpress printing, and improved systems. These support the switch from short-run offset to digital printing processes and create the possibility of hybrid printing solutions.
In 2020, print service providers and printers will increasingly rely on automation, software solutions and improved processes to produce on demand and just in time. This will enable them to handle rising order volumes, shorter throughput times and greater product differentiation.
Visitors to Konica Minolta's in-house exhibition "Print Experience 2020" (January 21-22, Langenhagen, Germany, and February 11, Stuttgart, Germany) and drupa (June 16-26, Düsseldorf, Germany, Hall 8b / A63-1 - A63-6) will learn more about market changes in production printing.


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