Embracing Evolving Trends for Greater Productivity and Profit

In the ever-evolving landscape of modern workplaces, office printing remains pivotal. Despite the digital transformation sweeping through industries, printing remains an integral part of everyday operations for many businesses. However, the office printing market is not immune to change; we must adapt to technological improvements and shifting demands. In this article, I will look at some of the latest trends shaping the office printing market, focusing on how these trends are geared toward increasing productivity and why productivity enhancement is crucial for businesses in today’s competitive environment. 

The office services dealer has improved productivity over the past five years. According to John Hey of Strategic Business Associates, dealers have improved the revenue per employee from $197,000 per employee to $247,000 in just five years. That’s impressive, but the big question is: is it enough? I’ll suggest that with the impending technological advances and increased expectations of end users, no, it isn’t. 

Integrated artificial intelligence

Predictive maintenance and remote diagnostics are increasingly common in various sectors, including office printing. The convergence of advanced sensor technology, data analytics, and better data collection tools provides dealers with the necessary information to implement predictive maintenance solutions in their service offerings.

Here are some ways predictive maintenance and remote diagnostics are likely to impact office printing:

Reduced downtime: Predictive maintenance can anticipate potential issues before they cause equipment failure, reducing unexpected downtime. Predictive algorithms can detect patterns indicating imminent failures by analyzing data from sensors embedded in printers, prompting proactive maintenance actions.

Cost savings: Proactively addressing maintenance needs based on predictive insights can save costs by avoiding costly repairs and emergency service calls. Addressing issues before they escalate can also extend the lifespan of printing equipment.

Improved efficiency: Remote diagnostics and management enable technicians to troubleshoot and resolve issues without being physically present at the printer’s location. This can save time and resources by minimizing the need for on-site visits and enabling faster problem resolution.

Enhanced user experience: Predictive maintenance can contribute to a smoother user experience by minimizing disruptions caused by printer downtime. 

Data-driven insights: Remote diagnostics provide manufacturers with valuable data on printer performance and usage patterns. Analyzing this data can inform product design improvements, optimize maintenance schedules, and suggest usage recommendations to end-users.

Security enhancements: Remote management capabilities can also enhance the security of printing devices. Manufacturers can remotely deploy security patches and updates to address vulnerabilities, ensuring printers remain protected against emerging threats.

Integrating predictive maintenance and remote diagnostics into service offerings improves profit and enhances customer experience.

MPS and subscription-based pricing

Adopting the subscription model in the office printing market is crucial for several reasons; combined with MPS, it becomes a very enticing offering and a competitive advantage.

Competitive advantage: Businesses that embrace subscription-based printing gain a competitive edge by leveraging cost-effective and flexible solutions that enhance productivity and operational efficiency.

Customer-centric approach: Providers offering subscription services prioritize customer satisfaction by delivering comprehensive printing solutions tailored to specific needs. This customer-centric approach fosters long-term relationships and loyalty.

Market disruption and innovation: The rise of subscription-based printing disrupts traditional market dynamics, prompting incumbents to innovate and adapt or risk losing market share to more agile competitors. This fosters innovation and drives the development of advanced printing technologies and service models.

Another trend regaining momentum in the office printing market is the widespread adoption of managed print services (MPS). Once considered “old school,” MPS in the actual “services” format is gaining favor and becoming the preferred way to acquire. It is not a secret that in a mature market, the services become more valuable than the product. The combination of subscription and MPS is gaining more and more preference among end-users.

Integration of cloud printing solutions

Cloud-based printing allows users to print documents from any location using any device connected to the internet. This flexibility is especially beneficial in today’s increasingly remote and mobile workforce environment. Employees can print documents from their smartphones, tablets, or laptops, whether in the office, at home, or on the go. Moreover, cloud printing eliminates the need for complex network setups and reduces reliance on physical infrastructure, resulting in business cost savings.

Organizations can streamline their printing processes by adopting cloud printing solutions, leading to enhanced productivity. Employees no longer need to waste time transferring files to a designated printer or waiting in line to access a shared printer. Instead, they can send print jobs directly to the cloud, which can be retrieved from any compatible printer within the network. This efficiency boost translates into time savings and allows employees to focus their energy on more critical tasks, thereby increasing overall productivity.

Adoption of mobile printing solutions

The proliferation of mobile devices in the workplace has spurred the adoption of mobile printing solutions. Employees increasingly expect the same convenience and flexibility when printing from their mobile devices as from their desktop computers. As a result, manufacturers have developed mobile printing apps and technologies that enable seamless printing from smartphones and tablets.

 Employees can easily print presentations, contracts, or reports on the fly, whether attending a meeting, visiting a client, or working remotely. This accessibility eliminates barriers to productivity and enables employees to remain productive even when they are away from their desks.

Moreover, mobile printing solutions facilitate collaboration and communication by allowing employees to share documents and collaborate on projects in real time. These solutions foster collaboration among team members and accelerate decision-making processes by enabling quick and convenient access to printed materials. As a result, organizations can achieve higher levels of productivity and agility in today’s fast-paced business environment.

Digital transformation

Digital transformation plays a significant role in the office printing market, and here are just a few reasons.

Increased efficiency: Digital transformation streamlines processes, making them more efficient. In the office printing market, this translates to faster printing speeds, reduced downtime, and improved workflows. Digital printing technologies enable automated processes, reducing manual intervention and human error.

Cost reduction: Traditional printing methods can be costly due to the need for physical materials like ink, toner, and paper. Digital transformation allows for more cost-effective printing solutions through technologies like cloud printing, eliminating the need for physical storage space and reducing the overhead costs associated with maintenance and supplies.

Flexibility and customization: Digital printing technologies offer greater flexibility and customization options than traditional printing methods. Businesses can easily personalize documents, such as marketing materials or client proposals, to target specific audiences. Variable data printing allows for unique content on each printed piece, enhancing communication effectiveness.

Environmental sustainability: Digital transformation in the office printing market contributes to environmental sustainability by reducing paper waste and energy consumption. Digital printers typically use less energy than traditional printing presses and produce fewer harmful emissions. Additionally, features like duplex printing and electronic document management systems help minimize paper usage.

Enhanced collaboration and accessibility: Digital transformation improves collaboration and accessibility in the office printing environment. Cloud-based printing solutions allow users to access and print documents from anywhere with an internet connection, promoting remote work and facilitating collaboration among distributed teams. Furthermore, digital documents can be easily shared and accessed across multiple devices, enhancing productivity and workflow efficiency.

Integration with digital workflows: In today’s digital age, businesses rely heavily on digital workflows for various processes. Digital transformation in the office printing market involves integrating printing solutions with existing digital workflows, such as document management systems and enterprise resource planning (ERP) software. This integration enhances efficiency by automating tasks and improving the overall flow of information within the organization.

Overall, digital transformation in the office printing market is essential for modern businesses seeking to improve efficiency, reduce costs, enhance flexibility, and embrace sustainability while adapting to the evolving needs of the digital era.

So many trends are developing that it is impossible to cover all of them. We need to watch the methods that are influencing office procedures and processes. Keeping our eye on how people work and use technology around the document provides us with the roadmap for competitive advantage and greater efficiency. Office printing and copying are mature markets, but by no means are they dormant. So, a good rule of thumb is if you’ve been doing something for 10 or 20 years, you need to change it.  

Ed Mclaughlin has 40 years of experience in the information and imaging industries. He is co-founder of Predictive InSight.