In 2011 business faced extreme challenges during a time of economic turmoil. There are few who doubt that the repercussions of a tough year will still reverberate in 2012. According to Western Cape printing and packaging powerhouse, Colourtone Aries, the industry will seek to reduce energy consumption and wastage while focusing on improved turnaround time, quality standards and service delivery at competitive prices.
Colourtone Aries Managing Director, John Bywater, says, “We are quite sure that we will be tested again in 2012 as far as pricing and outputs are concerned. That is part of any business, but we are under more pressure considering the tough economy of last year. The success of our clients’ businesses is of critical importance to us. We form part of their supply chain in the sense that the success of their product also depends on the quality of its packaging. Our ability to provide quality finished products at affordable prices ultimately plays a part in the competitiveness of our clients, making our pricing and production strategies vital aspects of our business and our clients’.”
Digital printing will increasingly play a crucial role in driving costs down as business reduces print run requirements and lead times shorten. Printers have adapted to this demand with significant investment in digital and workflow technologies. Advances in litho press technology have adapted to provide more effective and efficient output in both printing and packaging, while finishing is always under the spotlight to improve quality.
John says, “As digital printing solutions make their mark in the future, we expect to see further technological advances in packaging. As marketers drive experiential marketing, packaging will become increasingly more sophisticated. On demand printing to coincide with order fluctuations brings digital printing in packaging into play, placing enormous challenges on printers to produce highly cost effective print runs not only for conventional marketing material, but for packaging too.”
Colourtone Aries note an increase in demand in more sophisticated solutions for packaging designs:
- Flexibility. Designers demand flexibility. If they can conceptualise it, printers and packaging companies must be able to provide a workable solution.
- Shorter runs. With the focus on experiential marketing and pressure on budgets reducing large print runs, digital printing is being called on more and more, even for packaging, to offer clients effective solutions for reduced packaging order quantities.
- Quality. With the demand for shorter print runs and pressure on pricing models, it is easy to sacrifice on quality. Marketers, however, do not accept that quality should be compromised for price and the responsibility lies with the printer to produce top quality, productive output at more competitive prices.
- Driven by design. To be the best in the industry, marketers continually seek to use innovation as a competitive advantage. New packaging designs capture the imagination of consumers, drawing them to the brand. Packaging companies are in the spotlight when it comes to turning an idea into a practical solution that pushes the boundary of packaging design. Graphic design and innovative marketing is set to continue to drive technology and companies that embrace new age thought and matching technology will prove to have that competitive advantage.
- Productive output. Doing more with less is a principle that has an influence on profitability. Printing and packaging companies have adapted, embracing available technology that not only improves productive output, but reduces pressure on prices to client as well. Clients will continue to demand faster turnaround times, more cost-effectively.
John concludes, “The aim of technology is to improve productive output and reduce the cost to client. We invest significantly in new technology, especially digital technology, to ensure that we can maintain cost effective pricing strategies for our clients. The trend in 2012 will continue to be one of quality output with the focus still on price and we are comfortable in our ability to achieve this.”