State of the Industry: Supply Chain Disruptions and Labor Shortages Expected in 2022
The PRINTING United Alliance/NAPCO Research State of the Industry Series provides timely, accurate analysis of the printing industry’s performance and prospects. The series includes a State of the Industry Report, published in November, and SOI Updates, which will be published in February, May, and August. The State of the Industry Series is sponsored by Premier Sponsor, Konica Minolta.
An industry-wide survey is an important part of our methodology. This survey tracks key indicators and industry trends across a cross-section of printing companies, including commercial printers, graphic and sign producers, apparel decorators, functional printers, and package printers/converters. Download the in-depth executive summary to understand the current status of the printing industry.
Here are the key findings from graphic and sign producers and all printers participating in the first State of the Industry survey.
Workflow Software and Inkjet Presses Top Graphic and Sign Producers’ List of Desired Investments in the Next Year
In the most recent State of the Industry Survey, we asked respondents to tell us what types of capital investments they’d most like to make over the next 12 months. Capital investments not only strengthen printers’ ability to produce more output but also create efficiency gains that can help offset some of the additional costs that are materializing due to rising inflation in the post-COVID world.
Figure 1 below shows the desired capital investments that were cited by more than 20% of respondents who indicated that their primary segment is graphic and sign production. Workflow software and inkjet presses were cited by 37.3% of respondents.
Figure 1: Desired Capital Investments in the Next 12 Months
|Graphic and Sign Production (n=51)|
|Inkjet, Wide Format||37.3%|
|Management Information Systems||29.4%|
We also asked respondents to specify why they chose these particular investments. Figure 2 below shows the percentage of graphic and sign producers who cited each investment objective.
Figure 2: Capital Investment Objectives
|Graphic and Sign Production (n=51)|
|Increase production speed/decrease turn times||55.1%|
|Expansion into a new market||38.8%|
|Serve an existing market more effectively/efficiently||38.8%|
|Replace/upgrade aging equipment/software systems||30.6%|
|Our business is growing and we need to expand capacity||28.6%|
|To compete more effectively on price||14.3%|
Current Industry Issues are Expected to Linger into 2022
As we enter the new year, we will do so with many of the same industry issues that were present throughout 2021. To gauge what 2022 will look like, we asked survey respondents, in an open-ended question, to describe the issues that they are likely to face in the coming year. Figure 3 below shows that many of these challenges are simply a continuation of what we are currently seeing.
Figure 3: Anticipated Challenges of 2022
|Expected 2022 Challenge||Citing|
|Material shortages/supply chain disruptions||47.7%|
|Ongoing effects of COVID-19||8.7%|
|External macro factors (e.g., the economy, local business conditions, conditions in our markets, unrest in cities, not enough of the population vaccinated)||6.7%|
|Something specific to our business (e.g., workflow bottlenecks, lack of diversification, insufficient funding)||6.7%|
Want More Printing Industry Trends and Projections?
The full version of the State of the Industry Report digs deeper into the data mentioned above plus much more.
The report includes sections on:
- Trends for sales, production, employment, prices, profitability, quote activity, work-on-hand, payroll production hours, and confidence
- How 2021 third-quarter sales compared to the same period in 2020
- Employment hours worked in the printing industry
- How companies are responding to labor shortages
- Cost inflation – How much prices have changed and what companies are doing to offset these additional costs
- Three critical questions to answer as we head into 2022
- The outlook for the print industry in 2022
- An introduction to the Print Market Atlas – a snapshot of the establishment, industry, and employment trends by region
- “What we show know” – quotes from printers that give a more in-depth pulse of the industry
- Economic indicators to watch
Printing United Alliance members can download a full version of the report here.
Want to be a Part of the Research?
Join the NAPCO Print Industry Research Panel and gain exclusive access to unpublished data and reports. Participation requires completing a 3-5 minute web-based survey approximately once a month. Follow this link to join our business panel: Click here
David Wilaj reports on economic and industry trends which aim to help printers navigate an ever-changing business environment
He joins the Printing United Alliance research team after beginning his career at Printing Industries of America where he analyzed, reported and spoke on key trends in commercial print and aided in the revitalization of the historic Performance Ratios program.