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Print competition will be between print supply chains

11 June 2020

Supply chain management the key factor of success for the smart printing companies

Since the introduction of the Internet, the graphic chain of printing companies and to a greater extent, especially with the announced fourth industrial revolution, their supply chain has been transformed. Supply Chain Management (SCM) has become one of the key factors for improving the efficiency and competitiveness of companies in the graphic industries.

In the age of Industry 3.0 with the advent of IT, telecommunications, the deployment of the Internet, and even more so with Industry 4.0 characterized in particular by the introduction of the Internet of Things and Services, printers and their customers increasingly seek and will seek to save time and money on all elements of the print supply chain. Waste is and will increasingly be considered the number one enemy. With print-on-demand, then print-to-one, and tomorrow with mass customization, there is and will continue to be an acceleration at every link in the value chain to enable faster reproduction, shorter print runs and therefore production times.

Individual companies, including printing companies, are and will no longer compete as stand-alone entities, but rather as supply chains. They are now entering the era of “network competition” where awards will be given to organizations that can better structure, coordinate and manage relationships with their partners in a network that is committed to better, closer and more agile relationships with their end customers.

The ultimate success of tomorrow’s printing companies is then no longer built solely on their internal company skills and capabilities, but also on the skills and capabilities of the supply chain in which they are embedded. Closer and longer term working relationships and partnerships with suppliers at all levels of the chain are thus recommended, in order to deliver exceptional value to customers.  The aim is to enable these networked printing companies of the future to react to and even anticipate disruptions in the supply chain, being able to adjust the supply chain in real time when conditions change.

It is not only about new printing and finishing methods, printing presses or finishing devices, but also about new manufacturing models such as “digital on demand” and immediate delivery. The supply chain structures of tomorrow’s printing plants will be characterized by flexible processes and high efficiency, which should not only bring cost savings, but also offer benefits such as improved management for complex, personalized printing, reduced time to market and optimized print-on-demand.

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