In most market sectors and regions there are very challenging conditions. As for suppliers, they are only as healthy as their customers and they too must respond to the declining prospects for traditional products and services. For many the answer must be, at least in part, to launch new products and services.
“Commodity printing is overtraded, move away from commodity printing or close your doors.” --Commercial printer, South Africa
About 60% of printers launched major new products or services in the last four years into their existing markets. About half of the launches were successful and only very few were not successful. Diversification of the product or service range and the acquisition of new customers were named as the most important advantages. As for the disadvantages, most reported that launches took up too much time and other resources and often fell far behind schedule.
About 30% of printers had launched into new market sectors. This is clearly a more difficult challenge and the results reflected that, with approximately 40% of the launches going well (compared to 54% for existing markets).
Before the coronavirus outbreak, 76% of printers and 85% of suppliers were either definitely or possibly launching new products or services in the next four years. Clearly that will mean investment, with digital print technology followed by finishing being the most popular targets for printers.
The report draws four key lessons on how best to succeed when launching new products or services:
- Launching new services and products requires suitable, well-prepared processes
- Careful selection and development is essential – no reflex reactions
- Plan conservatively – expect delays and complications
- Manage your expectations – be realistic
These two quotes from panel participants underline these conclusions:
“The most important lesson has been to define plans with the ability to adapt to rapid changes in market and customers’ demands. The challenge is to grow by introducing new product or services areas while maintaining the existing ones.” --Packaging printer, Puerto Rico
“The switch from print to print + digital is essential for the survival of the graphic industries. Customers are no longer waiting. If you cannot provide the service they request, they will leave you, because a competitor, who has been able to adapt and develop new services, will take the market.” --Commercial market supplier, France
The full report will be published in English at the end of the month and can purchased online at www.drupa.com