The Transformative Power of Digital Production and Industrial Print Segments 

In today’s fast-paced and technology-driven world, digital production and industrial print segments are revolutionizing various industries. These segments encompass a wide range of applications, including personalized marketing materials, out of home graphics, textile production and large-scale manufacturing processes. This article explores the transformative power of digital production and industrial print segments and their impact on today’s production print landscape.

Digital production: enhancing efficiency and customization

Digital production has significantly improved efficiency and customization in various sectors. By leveraging digital technologies, businesses can streamline their production processes, reduce costs, and accelerate time to market. One of the key advantages of digital production is its ability to handle shorter print runs economically. Whether it’s packaging materials, promotional items, or labels, digital printing allows companies to produce small quantities with high quality and fast turnaround times. Additionally, digital production enables businesses to offer personalized products and services. With the ability to integrate variable data printing, companies can tailor their offerings to individual customers, resulting in enhanced customer satisfaction and improved brand loyalty. Personalized marketing materials, such as brochures, catalogs, direct mailers, and customized boxes can be easily created with digital production tools and services, enabling businesses to target specific demographics and maximize their marketing efforts.

Industrial print opportunities: revolutionizing manufacturing

Digital production and industrial print segments are closely connected with the concept of Industry 4.0, which refers to the integration of digital technologies into manufacturing processes. The adoption of digital production and industrial print technologies is a significant driver of this transformation. Industry 4.0 enables connectivity between machines, systems, and processes, creating a highly efficient and automated production environment. By incorporating digital production and industrial print technologies, businesses can leverage real-time data, automation, and artificial intelligence to optimize their operations. This integration facilitates predictive maintenance, remote monitoring, and data-driven decision-making, resulting in increased productivity, reduced downtime, and improved overall efficiency. The industrial print segment is revolutionizing the manufacturing industry by bridging the gap between traditional printing technologies and advanced manufacturing processes. Industrial printers such as 3D printers have gained popularity in recent years. These printers can produce complex parts and prototypes with a high degree of accuracy, enabling rapid product development and iteration. This on-demand approach to manufacturing not only applies to 3D print applications, but also other high-growth segments. In fact, digital and industrial printers have witnessed significant growth across various applications. Here are some of the highest growth applications in the industrial category.

Packaging: The packaging industry has experienced a surge in demand for digital and industrial printing. These printers offer capabilities for high-quality, short-run, and personalized packaging solutions. With the rise of e-commerce and the need for unique packaging designs, digital and industrial printers enable efficient production of custom labels, flexible packaging, cartons, and corrugated boxes. This short run digital approach in packaging is relatively new, which certainly plays into the strength of the imaging channel dealers for its pre- and post-sales invested digital infrastructure.

Textiles and apparel: The textile and apparel industry has seen a rapid adoption of digital printing technologies. Digital textile printers allow for on-demand production, quick design changes, and customization, eliminating the need for traditional screen-printing methods. This application enables the production of vibrant, detailed, and complex designs on fabrics for fashion, sportswear, home textiles, soft signage, and promotional items. The demand for fast fashion is growing and as a result, digital is best positioned to provide the seasonal turns to meet the demand. Again, an interpretation of on demand for personalized garments is no different than what the imaging channel has been doing with on demand personalized collateral.

Signage and graphics: The signage and graphics industry has experienced a significant shift toward digital printing. Digital printers enable the production of high-quality signs, banners, vehicle wraps, posters, and decals with intricate designs and vibrant colors. These printers offer faster turnaround times, cost-effective short runs, and the ability to print on a wide range of substrates.

Decor and interior design: Digital printing has revolutionized the decor and interior design industry, allowing the production of custom wallpapers, murals, wall coverings, floorings, and window treatments. Digital printers offer the ability to print on various materials, including textiles, vinyl, and wood, providing designers and homeowners with endless creative possibilities.

Labels and packaging prototypes: Digital printers have made a significant impact on the label industry. The ability to produce high-quality, full-color labels with variable data has enabled businesses to create eye-catching product labels, barcodes, and QR codes. Additionally, digital printing technology has facilitated the production of packaging prototypes, allowing companies to test different designs and concepts before committing to large-scale production.

Ceramic tiles and glass printing: Digital printers have transformed the ceramic and glass industries by enabling the direct printing of designs and patterns onto these surfaces. This eliminates the need for traditional methods like decals or screen printing. Digital ceramic printers can produce intricate and detailed designs on tiles, while glass printers allow for the creation of custom glass panels, backsplashes, and decorative elements.

3D printing in healthcare: 3D printing has found significant applications in the healthcare industry. It enables the production of custom medical devices, prosthetics, anatomical models, and surgical guides. 3D printing technology has the potential to revolutionize patient-specific treatments and surgical planning, leading to improved outcomes and personalized healthcare solutions.

Electronics and circuit board printing: Digital printers have found applications in the production of electronics and circuit boards. Inkjet printing technologies enable the deposition of conductive inks, dielectric materials, and insulators, enabling the creation of electronic components and printed circuit boards (PCBs). This opens new possibilities for flexible electronics, wearable devices, and IoT applications.

Challenges and future prospects

While digital production and industrial print segments offer substantial advantages, they also face certain challenges. Cost remains a key consideration, particularly for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) that may find it challenging to invest in high-end digital production and industrial print technologies. However, as these technologies continue to evolve and become more accessible, the costs are likely to decrease, making them increasingly affordable for businesses of all sizes. This is where the opportunities are for our imaging dealer community.

Another challenge is the need for skilled professionals who can operate and maintain digital production and industrial print equipment. The post-COVID era has created a gap in labor in the production and industrial print industry. Companies must invest in training and upskilling their workforce to maximize the benefits of these technologies. The post-sales services available today from dealers can easily morph into industrial applications.

Looking ahead, the prospects for digital production and industrial print segments are promising. As technology continues to advance, what does a reseller need to do to segue into a production and industrial print segment business? It involves planning, market research, and an understanding of the applications or use cases in the necessary equipment, workflow, and resources. Here are some key steps a reseller needs to take to establish a successful business in this field:

Research and identify printer brands: Conduct thorough market research to identify reputable printer brands that specialize in production and industrial printing. Consider factors such as the brand’s reputation, product quality, range of offerings, customer support, and pricing.

Establish supplier relationships: Contact the manufacturers or authorized distributors of the printer brands you are interested in reselling. Initiate discussions to become an authorized reseller or distributor.

Demonstrate your knowledge of the market, explain your business plan, and emphasize your commitment to promoting their products.

Develop a business plan: Create a detailed business plan that outlines your target market, applications, sales strategies, marketing initiatives, financial projections, and competitive analysis. Define your unique selling proposition and identify the customer segments you will be targeting.

Create a sales and marketing strategy: Develop a comprehensive sales and marketing strategy to promote your printer and services offerings. Identify your target market segments and tailor the message according to the application. Utilize various marketing channels, such as online platforms, social media, email marketing, content creation, and industry publications, to reach potential customers. Highlight the unique features and benefits of the printers and solutions you offer to differentiate yourself from competitors and, most importantly, articulate a total cost of ownership (TCO) that wins opportunities. Have a good customer relationship management (CRM) system for better pipeline and stage management. These production opportunities have longer sales cycles and require more nurturing.

Build an online presence: Establish a professional website that showcases your range of production and industrial printers. Ensure the website is user-friendly, provides detailed product information, and enables customers to contact you easily. Optimize the website for search engines to increase its visibility online. Leverage social media platforms to engage with your target audience, share product updates, and showcase success stories.

Train your sales team: This is probably one of the most important topics for the imaging channel due to the retained knowledge equity that already exists. Equip your sales team with the necessary product knowledge and sales techniques to effectively communicate the features, benefits, and technical specifications of the printers you offer. Train them on objection handling, customer relationship management, and effective sales strategies. Encourage ongoing professional development to keep up with evolving technologies and industry trends. Leverage your partners and solutions providers in this area; they are already invested in doing this.

Provide exceptional customer support: A key differentiator is to prioritize customer satisfaction by offering prompt and reliable customer support services. Respond to inquiries and resolve customer issues in a timely manner. Maintain good communication channels with your customers and address any concerns they may have. Provide post-sales support, including installation assistance, training, and maintenance services. In production/industrial segments, there is little to no redundancy and uptime for these segments is critical.

Track industry developments: Stay updated with the latest advancements in production and industrial printing technologies. Regularly communicate with your printer manufacturer or solutions provider to understand product updates, new releases, and future developments. This will help you anticipate market trends and position your business as a trusted provider of cutting-edge solutions.

By following these steps, you can establish a successful path to the exciting world of production/industrial print opportunities. 

Frank Mallozzi is an experienced executive in the imaging technology industry, who is best known for his leadership roles at EFI (Electronics For Imaging), a global provider of digital imaging and printing solutions, Ricoh Corporation and Canon USA.  As Chief Revenue Officer Mallozzi was responsible for leading the company's global sales, marketing, and M&A initiatives, as well as driving identifying high growth addressable markets to accelerate revenue growth and profitability. Most recently Mallozzi founded the Center Reach Group, a consultancy focused on helping companies design and develop go-to-market growth strategies, execute on strategic plans, and optimize marketing efficiencies for direct sales and channel optimization while increasing sales productivity. A few of their go-to-market expertise include, software, SaaS, digital production/commercial print, workflow/ERP, industrial inkjet print, textile print production, sign and display, corrugated and Packaging. Mallozzi holds a Bachelor of Science degree from, New York Institute of Technology. He currently sits on two boards. CalPoly University-Graphic Art’s School and the Print and Graphics Scholarship Foundation advocating on behalf of the printing industry to drive younger professionals to this great industry of print.