Print 2030 每 Positive visions for printing technology manufacturing
"We have noticed that we need visions," says Kai B邦ntemeyer, Chairman of the Board of the Printing and Paper Technology Association within VDMA. Lately, his industry was rather worried about what the future may hold. Printed paper is being increasingly substituted at a fast pace. Digital media replace the printed products in the publishing sector, at authorities, hospitals and in the industry at large. The manufacturers feel that the market for printing and paper technology is changing.
This development gives rise to fundamental questions. Will printing and paper machines still be needed considering the triumphal march of the smartphone, tablet PC and eBook? And if this is the case, how many? Who will be the buyers? And which measures must be taken by the printing and paper technology manufactures in order to find new customers and tap new markets? What will their market look like in ten years? And how in the year 2030?
Setting out a mission statement for the future
These were the questions that nearly 50 decision-makers from member companies of the Printing and Paper Technology Association now asked themselves. In a series of strategy workshops titled "Print 2030", they sharpened their vision of the future and coordinated it with the expectations that students of Media University Stuttgart have for the future. This process was structured and accompanied by futurologists of the TrendONE agency.
※We have launched this initiative because we want 每 and need 每 to set out a future-oriented vision for our industry,§ says Dr. Markus Heering, Managing Director of the Printing and Paper Technology Association, adding that, drawing on the comprehensive know-how and practical experience of the member companies, the objective must be to identify strategic fields of action.
In reality: The industrial basis couldn`t be better. German manufacturers of printing and paper technology are the leading suppliers in the print market with global sales of approx. 800 billion euros. They maintain a customer base spanning the whole world; they have powerful sales organisations and the necessary know-how to get involved in existing value chains and the production processes of a great variety of customers from a wide range of industries.
It is exactly this know-how that will be in demand 每 was the conclusion reached by the strategy workshops. The value chains will change and together with them their interfaces to the processes of the customers. On the one hand, the trend goes towards shorter runs and personalised and sophisticated high-quality print products. On the other hand, hybrid print products push their way into the market and partly create links between the analogue and the digital world with printed electronics.
Printed electronics 每 a market with a future
"Printed Electronics" are considered to be a market with a future which the industry can tap with its know-how. In addition, the printing of three-dimensional structures combined with colourful finishing may gather in importance. Printing on other media than paper will probably increase as well 每 be it on fabrics, walls or printed circuits. Smart printing inks with specific preset properties can pave the way into new markets.
A precondition is that the manufacturers of printing and paper technology go over the total process from the idea to the end product with a fine-toothed comb and that they design their machines and plants for even more flexibility and scalability by means of a modular design. Further fields of actions that help respond to national trends and trends abroad even faster were identified by the decision-makers at the workshops as being the formation of new alliances, stronger networking as well as a stronger international orientation of their corporate culture and structures.
Structures must be renewed
Considering the massive changes in the existing markets, the industry must inevitably renew its structures, value chains, technologies and markets. Print und paper will satisfy premium demands more strongly than before by providing demand-oriented information and, in doing so, by awakening positive feelings. This requires high-tech, flexible solutions and finest antennas for the needs of the customers.
The crucial challenge identified by the strategy workshops is ※Convergence§: Printing and paper technology must move towards the changed digital world. For the decision-makers concerned, there is no doubt that it is capable of doing that. ※We have every reason to look to the future with self-confidence," says B邦ntemeyer. He is enthusiastic about the impetus the ※Print 2030§ project is generating already now. The vigour and the results of the workshops have also thrilled Heering. ※What must be done now is to implement these visions and strategies down at company level,§ says the Managing Director of the Association. He is convinced that the first effects of the ※Print 2030§ initiative will manifest themselves at the next drupa in 2016 already.