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Printers, (re)design now your business model

16 May 2020

The year 2020 was supposed to be a good year for printers.  All the indicators were green: falling unemployment, rising household consumption, increased investment… but the Covid-19 health crisis has reshuffled all the cards. All companies, including those in the graphic industries, are entering a period of uncertainty, all the more so as Printing is not one of the “essential sectors” and is made up of many small and medium-sized enterprises that are fragile, even very fragile, for some of them.


This health crisis will force the managers of these printing plants, but also of all sectors, to review their business model.

For some of them, the business model in place will only require slight adaptations. This will be the case for those whose new value proposition can be delivered to their customers:

  • using the same profit equation;
  • by mobilizing the key resources present;
  • by following the key processes in place;
  • by applying the same rules, the same best practices and the key performance indicators as those currently employed.

For others, and perhaps for the majority, the impact of the crisis will be such that they will have to reinvent themselves. This is a difficult exercise, as too many printing companies have often lost sight of the very nature of the components of their business model and their interdependence. This is why these companies will be invited to ask themselves the right questions early on: does the proposal made to customers still provide the value they will demand after the crisis? Will the key processes in the printing industry still be appropriate? Will the resources still fulfil their mission or will they have to be renewed? Will the revenue model and cost structure still be appropriate to generate the expected margin?

This reconfiguration of the business model will not happen overnight, but can be anticipated by a process of “planned opportunism”. Planned opportunism is a structured process that responds to times like the one we are living in when it is difficult to predict and shape the future. It calls on companies to collect weak environmental signals now, reflecting the trends, political, societal, technological, environmental and regulatory changes as well as needs and perhaps the new customer behaviours that this health crisis will generate. It encourages companies to enter into a permanent questioning mode as the situation will be unstable for a long time:

Who will be our future customers? What do they value? Which technologies are likely to generate new opportunities while disrupting our business? Who will be our future competitors? Will we have to change our marketing strategy? What regulatory changes could affect our business?

Online printing companies, which operate in a hypercompetitive environment, regularly review and adapt their business model. This exercise will tomorrow be a priority for all printing plants to ensure that their business model remains consistent, interdependent between the value proposition, the profit equation, the resources and the business processes in an increasingly uncertain world and thus rebound after the most severe crisis of the past 20 years.

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