The Packaging Opportunity
You have been reading about the trends, you have been researching the equipment and now you’re ready to take the leap into digital packaging. But where are the biggest opportunities? Where should you be focusing your efforts?
“Printers and decorators should prepare to meet the demand for personalization and finer segmentation by both organizing their systems to handle the more complex workflow and by ensuring that their equipment can cost-effectively meet these requirements,” says Paul Bolduc, President, KBA-Kammann USA (Booth 4013). “Making the right equipment decision remains crucial to long term success.”
“The biggest trend we see in corrugated is a move beyond prototyping,” notes Jose Luis Ramon Moreno, General Manager, EFI Industrial Printing (Booth 1501). “drupa 2016 showed that the industry was intent establishing production-level capabilities with digital corrugated production. It marks a new point in what many converters can do with digital outside of prototyping, to production runs over and above 200,000 square feet.”
In particular, the single biggest opportunity is in the short-run packaging market. Brands aren’t just looking for static packaging that consumers from coast to coast will all see; rather, they are increasingly looking to version and personalize their packaging as much as they are their marketing campaigns, which means printers who invest in the new technologies that make that kind of work possible will reap the biggest benefits.
“Printing small quantities of boxes (prototypes, personalized print runs, exclusive editions, etc.) and POP-displays,” represent some of the biggest opportunities that printers in the packaging segment should take advantage of right now, notes Petra Fetting, Marketing Services & Communication, swissQprint (Booth 1253).
“Due to the ability to create customized short runs, high end packaging offerings can be provided to small-businesses and short-run niche clients as well as to traditional clients,” agrees Dana E. Goodale, Director of Hardware and Software Solutions, Gerber Technology (Booth 1656).
But don’t forget about the ancillary opportunities, either. Short runs are the biggest talking point right now, but the online component, which has come to dominate how many marketing campaigns are purchased and approved, will make its way into packaging as well; it is only a matter of time.
“When it rains it pours,” says Reuben Quesus, Director of Business Development, Racad Tech, Inc. (Booth 2610). “We have an influx of customers that are yearning for online technology that facilitate the design and editing of boxes and packaging. These customers are paying substantial money for unique technology that can facilitate this on the web. There are not a lot of online players in this space, and there is definitely room for growth and domination within this space if you get in sooner than later.”
Where should you be focusing your time and energy? Putting the right systems in place to handle short-run packaging of all types, along with the back-end software to support it and building up the necessary know-how to ensure you are the leading expert your customers turn to for advice is all going to be critical to long-term success. Use events like SGIA Expo to talk to a wide range of vendors, and learn from a wide range of educational sessions so you are the most well-educated in your market, ready to tackle whatever challenges digital short-run packaging might throw at you.