Online Print Symposium 2022
After two years of strict isolation, I was excited to see Online Print Symposium return as an in-person event. Once again, it proved a great opportunity to strengthen our relationships, provided new insights into the print market, reiterated crucial challenges for the industry, and got us excited about the possibilities of online printing with Insight Pitches from six original start-ups.
While the takeaways from the conference may already sound familiar within the printing industry, they remain relevant and are worth rethinking and expounding.
As every year, I looked forward to the keynote presentation delivered by Bernd Zipper, the event's organizer and one of the industry's thought leaders. I have always valued his deep knowledge, data-driven research, and insights into industry trends.
His presentation this year emphasized the necessity to rethink print and move away from the typical run-of-the-mill print shop to a solution that can address evolving needs of print buyers, who increasingly look for sustainable alternatives and personalized services.
We all agree that personalized customer experience, diverse and customizable product offerings, additional services, and sustainable solutions are the next steps for the print industry. More importantly, we are starting to accept that rethinking print in every respect requires renegotiating its value as well.
When the products and services of a print shop do not differ from the competitors, the price becomes the main selling point. Consequently, we find ourselves in a race to the bottom, which often proves unsustainable and counterproductive, especially in the current economy.
As print buyers become more environmentally conscious and demanding, print companies no longer need to compete on the lowest price but focus instead on providing the best value, the highest quality, the quickest delivery, the best customer support, or the most sustainable solution.
Rethink Personalized Hoodies
Hoodie Hoo, one of the start-ups presenting an Insight Pitch, is an excellent example of how we can rethink print in a sustainable and innovative way.
The basic idea of personalized hoodies is not new. But the level of personalization that Hoodie Hoo offers is simply astonishing, going as far as personalized drawstrings or customized text on buttons.
With its own facility powered by a dedicated API, this start-up sets out to offer more than a design printed on a generic hoodie, and the price is not the selling point. Instead, they aspire to make hoodies sustainably, customize them to the smallest detail, and deliver a high-quality product worth its price.
Rethink Supply Chain
Roland Keppler, the CEO of Onlineprinters, reminded us that the market would remain volatile. Good communication and the right attitude would be crucial for companies to face the challenges of resource shortages and rising costs.
Good communication and the right attitude are broad terms open for interpretation, and each company will ultimately have to decide what path to follow.
The attitude that we, as RPI, take and encourage is rooted in our company mission to Make Real Connections. Instead of looking at RPI as a separate and self-sufficient company, we remind ourselves that it is a link in a supply chain. We invest in partnerships with clients, partners, and suppliers that share the same attitude, agree that a stable supply chain is a business advantage in a volatile market, and are willing to incorporate it as a factor in their decision-making process.
Rethink Pain Points
RPI ships thousands of orders to end consumers every day, so we receive monthly invoices with details for thousands of shipments from multiple carriers. Checking the data for discrepancies, late deliveries, and penalties is a major pain, but we have had to live with it.
Even though I did not go to OPS with this particular business pain point in mind, I did find a promising solution at the Insight Pitch of Lox Solution.
Their AI-powered technology analyzes shipping agreements, compares the data with shipping invoices, detects discrepancies, and, in the long term, saves your company a significant sum of money.
I am very excited. We are in touch.
See you at Online Print Symposium next year!
Even in the digital age, RPI relies on partnerships and real connections. The Online Print Symposium this year was a fantastic opportunity to meet exchange ideas, strengthen existing relationships, and explore new possibilities. I was happy to be there. The six start-up pitches were a great addition to the conference, full of creative energy and inspiration.
It makes me look forward to the next year's event.