Unleashing the Power of Advanced Services in drupa 2024 -- drupa - May 28 to June 7, 2024 - Messe Düsseldorf
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Unleashing the Power of Advanced Services in drupa 2024

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Gone are the days when printing companies solely focused on producing tangible products. The industry is witnessing a paradigm shift as businesses embrace advanced services that extend beyond the conventional realms. Imagine a printing company not just delivering high-quality prints but also seamlessly integrating into their client's operations, optimizing processes, and reducing costs. New business models are one of the contents you will find in drupa 2024.

The core responsibility of an updated printing company is to craft top-notch prints through the utilization of cutting-edge machinery, a proficient team, process standardization, and integrated workflows, all tailored to meet the unique needs of clients. Nevertheless, the escalating challenges of printing shortages and market dynamic demands are heightening competition, often resulting in diminishing profits. Many printers are finding that addressing this challenge involves not only boosting productivity through technology upgrades and reducing wastes, which is typically essential. They are also adopting a transformative approach, extending beyond the traditional printing process mindset to integrate themselves into clients' business processes as comprehensive solutions providers.

Despite printers being referred to as print service providers rather than manufacturers, many of them are indeed manufacturers, particularly those involved in packaging. In fact, most printers are product-centric, prioritizing products over services, although they do offer traditional services to some extent, such as file checking, printing proofs, mockups, and design improvements.

The term "service" can be interpreted in various ways. It can denote a well-executed action ("your delivery was on time, good service") or refer to an activity (design, quality control, fulfillment). Service lies at the heart of today's economy as manufacturers transition from being product-centric to service-centric. This transition involves offering products as services or developing services using their products, making an internal transformation and a shift in mindset within traditional manufacturing organizations, known as the servitization process.

This shift is not entirely new. In February 2014, the drupa Global Trends report stated: "The printing industry is in the midst of a transition from a product-driven industry to a service-driven one. The demand for new solutions and business models that better reflect customer needs is clear."

While we may refer to a printer as a service provider, true service-centric organizations must incorporate new layers of services to conserve their production capabilities. They need to develop what are known as advanced services, which present new opportunities and ongoing profitable revenue streams.

Advanced services are those that either replace or enhance critical client business processes, helping them reduce costs or generate new revenue streams. Unlike traditional value-added services, advanced services involve working closely with clients based on long-term contracts or deploying solutions widely used by customers in their businesses.

Antilhas, a Brazilian packaging manufacturer, meticulously manages all logistics operations for numerous brand franchises' supply chains. They assist their clients in every step, from conceptualization and design to storage and nationwide delivery of sales packaging to each franchise store. Going beyond mere logistics, they maintain direct communication with all licensed franchise stores, efficiently handling orders and aiding franchisers in sales forecasting. With a comprehensive logistics infrastructure in place, they extend their services to distribute other client products, leveraging their expansive market reach. Their innovative business model allows clients to streamline packaging development and distribution processes by outsourcing them. Moreover, Antilhas prioritizes printing production processes by consistently investing in cutting-edge technology and research and development. Notably, they hold world patents in flexography printing, showcasing their commitment to excellence. While offering a diverse range of products, they remain focused on providing advanced service solutions rather than solely serving as a packaging printer.

It's always a challenging task to develop a new market in printing, especially if we approach it from the perspective of product manufacturers rather than advanced service providers. Take, for instance, the wallpaper market within the decorative industry. Traditionally, wallpaper has been sold in department and decoration stores, typically produced through rotogravure printing at high volume. However, with the advancement of digital printing, new opportunities for personalized wallpaper have emerged. These offerings are available on specialized websites, allowing customers to co-create or choose from pre-designed options.

In this context, Criativando, a printing company that originated as a startup in Bassano, a village with a population of 9,000 in the south of Brazil, identified and targeted the right customers in the wallpaper market. They built an entire business around it based on advanced services. Initially supported by venture capital, after developing their business model and concepts, they now supply the entire country. They continue to expand by offering compelling products related to the decorative market, including complete projects for single rooms, entire homes, or offices, including furniture.

Their clientele primarily consists of architects whose customers are high-income individuals. Criativando has developed a platform where more than 6,000 architects (among 100,000 registered) can develop their projects with the support of a specialized team. Architects have the option to choose from pre-conceived ideas or create entirely personalized designs. To bring these projects to life, Criativando collaborates with 17 franchised printers located throughout the country. A geo-localization system on the platform assigns the project to the nearest printer. These franchised printers utilize large-format printers standardized using raw materials supplied by Criativando. Wallpaper designs may include features such as Augmented Reality or specific scents, enhancing the overall experience.

Their platform serves as the cornerstone of the advanced services they offer to their clients: architects, interior designers, decorators, and stores, fostering long-term relationships and adding significant value over time.

There is a growing number of printers worldwide that offer advanced services or are exploring opportunities in this field. In Latin America, several other examples include Mariscal in Ecuador, which specializes in developing projects for its clients; Cadena in Colombia, which not only provides transactional printing but also offers digital payroll and invoicing systems; Litoplas in Mexico, known for its innovative packaging solutions for its clients; and Meta Brasil, based in São Paulo, which has developed the UmLivro (OneBook) platform. This platform enables the sale and printing of books from publishers around the world, directly to Amazon and other digital book retailers, as well as to bookstores and end consumers.

Drupa 2024 offers an outstanding opportunity to delve into novel business models and acquaint oneself with cutting-edge services. The exhibition serves as a veritable technology explosion, catalyzing industry transformation. Drupa's special forums, drupa Cube and drupa DNA, among others, function as a central hub for trends and innovative ideas, hosting presentations and facilitating connections among people who have the potential to inspire fresh approaches extending beyond print. By leveraging print as a foundation, attendees can cultivate a comprehensive service portfolio tailored to meet the diverse needs of clients.

About the Author

Hamilton Terni Costa

Hamilton Terni Costa, MSc, MBA, is a distinguished international consultant, analyst, entrepreneur, professor, and author with over 45 years of extensive experience in the printing industry. Originally from Brazil, Hamilton has held pivotal leadership roles in national and international printing companies, both in Brazil and abroad, including executive positions in industry associations such as ABTG (Brazilian Graphic Technology Association). Currently, as the principal at AN Consulting, he spearheads strategic planning, business development, and market research efforts within the Latin American printing industry, collaborating with various stakeholders to drive growth and innovation. Hamilton's influence extends beyond borders, having served as the Latin America representative and director at the Association for Print Technologies in the United States for 15 years, and being a frequent speaker at major industry events across the Americas.

Recognized for his expertise, Hamilton is a prolific author and columnist, with numerous publications in leading industry magazines like Abigraf's magazine. One of his notable works is the book "Printing: An Industry in Transformation" (2018). Additionally, Hamilton is dedicated to education, contributing to the development of future industry leaders as one of the founders of a postgraduate course at Senai Theobaldo De Nigris College of Printing Technology in Sao Paulo, where he imparts knowledge in Strategic Management and Industrial Marketing. He is also a co-anchor of the Podcast Ondas Impressas (Printed Waves).

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