Changing face of the reprographic industry
Gone are the days when the definition of reprography was merely limited to the reproduction of graphics through mechanical and electrical techniques like photography and xerography. Today’s reprography industry has gone way beyond with contemporary technology and latest techniques dominating the present market and deciding the course of future. In general, reprography is commonly used in catalogues, archives and architectural, engineering, and construction verticals. Though with time its emulation is growing, the reprography industry still forms a minor part of the entire pool of American businesses with only 3,000 firms operating and serving predominantly the large and wide format needs of various industries described above.
Some of the key techniques used by this format are diazo (blue line), electrostatic (xerographic), photographic, laser, and inkjet. However, with the changing times, the reprographic businesses have started to witness several changing trends as described below:
Changing business trends
Modern day businesses are dynamic due to various constraints like changes in customer base, technology, supply and demand etc., and the reprographics business is no different. They have to evolve and change based on how different reprography clients conduct their businesses. For instance, due to construction industry slowdown, many customers now prefer to print in-house rather than approaching reprography specialists. This decentralized printing at the point of use has led to an increase in wide format and easy to use systems, eventually shifting the demand towards low volume and multifunctional network based devices.
There is no business sector in this world that has been or is not being continuously affected by technology. While technology has helped reprographics to upscale, increase profitability, increase efficiency and create better results, it has also been detrimental in some ways to their business as reprography industry lost smaller clients to escalating costs, thinning profit margins and in-house services. The availability of digital formats and sleeker small scale availability of printing, photographing and other reprography equipment has slowed down the industry in major ways.
Colours: Yes, Colours. Today’s businesses prefer coloured printing as it helps to enhance clarity and reduce mistakes. Though many businesses still use black and white workflows, the productivity of modern day inkjet technology based colour printers is unmatched.
Changes in the workflow: Industry experts attribute changes in reprography industry to changing workflow. Modern day sophisticated reprography equipment is mostly a combination of copier scanner and printer. This changes the structure of workflow as an all inclusive machine saves time, efforts and man hours, improving efficiency.
Changes in policies, regulations and market space
While many business trends dominate and change the course of the reprography industry, changes in policies, rules and regulations is also an important determinant of where the industry is going and what to expect. Whether it is a crash in the real estate market, or the rising popularity of decentralized work systems, the reprography industry needs to align itself to stay in business and change with changing times. With this philosophy, many modern day reprography businesses are opting for alternative businesses. These include acting as a franchise for printers and copiers, acting as AEC content managers, offering cloud services like plan-rooms rather than just printing services or even acting as facilities management business to keep their valued clientele onboard, no matter what.