As the last decade was wrapping up, we began looking at 2020 as being full of possibility. But we’re not too naive. We know today’s print service providers are faced with lots of challenges, such as rising wages and benefits costs, pressure to enter new markets, a thin workforce of available, skilled workers and more. So we decided to take a look at two areas where LexJet can help, not just as a materials provider, but a business partner as well.
At the SGIA/Napco Research Key Industry Trends & Insights Research presentation during Printing United, we learned a lot about these challenges. While nearly every sector in the print industry saw growth in sales (yay!), the increase in profits didn’t match up. How could that be? Perhaps investment in equipment, wage increases (and more to come), lost productivity, training up staff in new market segments, or maybe you were paying too much for the wrong products.
One of the startling revelations was PSPs who stated they were “so busy, we don’t have time to figure out what would be profitable.” Yikes! So let’s look into two current, major pain points and see how we can help.
Adding a New Product Line or Entering a New Market
You can diversify the products and services you’re offering your customers, but let’s look at some smart strategies. While it may seem like everyone is jumping into vehicle wraps, ask yourself if you’ve got the proper print technology, installers with experience and product lines you trust. If not, that’s a steep climb before you get out of the red. If you are set up to tackle vehicle wraps, consider starting with simpler applications, such as box trucks, before you get into intricate designs like sports cars.
Another supplemental market that may have a quicker ramp-up, in terms of production, is décor. This segment covers a pretty wide gamut of applications, from canvas prints to wallcoverings to windows treatments. If you’re in the wide-format space now, you likely have equipment that you can use to expand into décor printing. For instance, if you have an aqueous printer, many materials exist for you to print wall art, such as canvas wraps, fine art reproductions or portraits. Wallcoverings and window graphic materials (like Squid) are decor focused, and can be printed on solvent or latex print technology. Dye-sub printers used for fabric open a new door for upholstery, drapery and more. Your capital expenditure may include finishing tools or machinery, so scope those out and plan accordingly.
Some growing interest in customized décor printing include hotels, restaurants, healthcare facilities and corporate offices, so consider customers you already have in these spaces and market your new capabilities to them!
Combating Material Costs
Another ongoing pain point is material costs. This is always top-of-mind for all of us here at LexJet, as we launch new or next-generation products. We are constantly looking for ways to pass on savings to our customers.
One strategy is to opt for multi-purpose, quality products. When you opt for a “Swiss Army Knife” product, you save on inventory space and production set up time as well as costs savings, much of the time. One such material is FlexTek 170g, also available as FlexTek SUV 200g. FlexTek is a budget-beating, non-woven technical fabric that works in a variety of applications, including wall art, banners and canvas wraps. It can be finished with grommets or it can be sewn or wrapped or folded. It’s recyclable and has a long shelf life — talk about an inventory win-win!
Our print specialists at LexJet can also help you fine-tune your materials and supplemental products that fit into your budget and help your profits soar! Call us today at 800-453-9538.