Day 9 of our Industry Roundtable Q&A -- our panel weighs in.
BPIC: One of the most discussed topics on our social-media sites this year was FedEx Office reporting its deployment of new grand-format inkjet printing devices to its centralized productions centers across the country for producing rigid signs, banners, posters, P-O-P materials, and more. And the company was awarded a 4-year contract from Boeing (FedEx Office now serves as Boeing’s primary print provider). [Editor's note: Here is the original story.] Many readers were suspect of FedEx Office becoming a larger player in the wide-format space, particularly on the b2b side of things. Is this a sign of things to come? Should print shops be worried?
Dan Marx, SGIA: I wouldn’t be surprised if FedEx Office doesn’t become a larger player in the wide-format space. Today’s wide-format industry as a whole holds a unique place in the graphic-communications industry in that it has remained robust while traditional print has lost much of its past power. Other sectors are looking to the value-add that our technology brings in order to stay strong. The worry for print shops will be the downward effect big companies can have on price points, because their economies of scale are different.
Tim Greene, InfoTrends: FedEx is indeed a formidable company and it’s likely to grow its wide-format business. But I don’t think that FedEx growing means others have to “worry” or get smaller. Is this a sign of things to come – are other printing organizations going to enter wide-format digital? I think the answer is yes. I believe that many commercial-print companies are looking at wide format because the commercial business is very soft. They’re looking at markets that are adjacent and they think, “We do print work for many companies that also buy wide format – why don’t we offer that?” So, to gain a greater share of their customers’ print spend, they enter wide format, either by acquiring a company that does it or by investing in the equipment themselves.
Peter Mayhew, LightWords Ltd: If, as a PSP, you’re heavily dependent on national/corporate accounts, then, yes, you should be looking over your shoulder and refreshing your contacts with your customers’ headquarters. I would not be relying just on my local connections to secure national/corporate business going forward.