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Top 12 critical technologies for 2011

Nov 1, 2010 12:00 AM

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At the 2010 Executive Outlook conference preceding Graph Expo, the Must See 'Ems Selection Committee identified 12 technologies that are critical to print business survival:

1. Computer — IT | Effective use of the computer with application of information technology (IT) in both the running of the business and production aspects of a printing company.

2. Multiple Products | Acquiring and implementing the knowledge, skills and technologies necessary to leverage print content and formats into a variety of multiple products/multiple media.

3. Automation | The incorporation of automation into print production, starting with the use of stand-alone automated systems or equipment and evolving into integrated automation moving toward “lights-out” or “hands-off” manufacturing. The approach includes but is not limited to incorporating JDF/JMF dialog between and among production and management systems.

4. Unique Materials | To differentiate printers in the marketplace, creative use of unique materials and equipment and associated technologies to enhance the value and application of print. Included are technologies such as coating including digital dimensional coating, QR and similar systems, augmented reality, invisible printing, security printing, and unusual finishing to create a unique product.

5. Web to Print | Complete web-to-print capability reducing the amount of human intervention required to produce a printing job. It is more than just an up-to-date communication tool; it is the automation of print from customer inquiry to the pressroom and into distribution.

6. Planning | Business planning and production planning with strategic and tactical direction including technology components.

7 & 8. Digital Printing | An understanding of direct marketing requirements and mailing capability are important ingredients for production digital printing success and are ranked in seventh place almost in parallel with production digital color printing.

9. Specialization | Customer market segment specialization with in-depth knowledge of the segment in conjunction with specialized technologies and equipment to produce special/unique print products for that segment.

10. Marketing Service Provider | Adopting the technology, skills and business approach to convert from being a conventional printer to a marketing service provider.

11 & 12. Up-to-Date Equipment | Up-to-date equipment for the pressroom, closely followed by binding and finishing, ranked eleventh and twelfth respectively, including the integration of binding and finishing into press production lines.