24 Mar 2020

Impact of COVID 19 on the Print Industry

COVID-19 has caused serious disruptions across the globe, bringing both humanity and businesses to their knees. The printing & packaging domain is no different. The subsequent lockdowns caused by the pandemic have significantly shaken the supply chain arms of this sector, making it challenging for businesses to serve customers like they previously used to.

However, most players in this space have taken this crisis as an opportunity to innovate their existing business models by digitizing their service mechanisms and thereby offering digital products and services to ensure business continuity in today’s turbulent times.

From physical to virtual 

Several businesses that earlier banked on physical meetings have quickly switched to virtual interactions via various video conferencing tools like WhatsApp, Google Hangout, Zoom and other tools like Skype and Team Meetings. As these tools become a necessity for operating remotely, new-age enterprises are training employees to get familiar with such advances and smoothly manage operations from the comforts of their home.

Against this backdrop, players in the printing space are also innovating and adding new services to their existing portfolio and transforming their businesses into a digital-first model. Using the new set of tech-driven and app-based services, they are continuing to serve clients and timely meting all the deliverables despite the lockdown and other additional challenges.

As employees are getting acclimatised to working from home, vendors hailing from the printing industry are being trained to provide digital solutions to the quarantined customers. On the back of this transition, players in this space are quickly investing in cloud-enabled and AI-powered digital printing tools to meet the changing needs of new-age consumers.

Pandemic as an Opportunity 

21% of businesses consider the pandemic as a mountain of opportunities, while 48% of them believe that it will drive innovation across the sector, as highlighted by a recent report of Quocirca. In sync with this upbeat vision, many players in this space are taking their services online and meet client requirements digitally by ensuring safety to their employees (engineers , technicians, sales representatives)

The crisis has also created the need for enhancing the existing skillsets of employees to steer through the uncharted waters and in fact become future-ready for upcoming uncertainties. In line with this vision, several companies are actively hosting virtual workshops and training sessions for upskilling and reskilling their existing workforce. By training these professionals, companies are striving to equip their most important assets (employees) with the right set of tools and perform even better in the times to come.

The Balance between Technology and Mental Wellbeing 

While technologies are making the traditional work models smarter and faster, it is also essential for businesses to spread awareness around mental peace and wellbeing while working in the new normal. The transition has certainly presented new challenges to employees, mainly in the form of increased work pressure leading to high employee burnouts.

This is where, leaders and managers should come forward and give teams enough time and space to unwind themselves and return to work with a fresh mind, rather than giving them more work and tighter deadlines.

It is crucial to understand that work from home is not that easy as it may seem because employees have to manage both their office tasks as well as household chores, which definitely calls for additional efforts and patience. Managers, therefore, should empathize with teams at this crucial juncture and boost the morale of their teams so that they can effectively address challenges.

The Future Roadmap

The print sector that has always relied on heavy usage of papers for so many years, is now adopting smarter approaches to deliver alternative printing solutions. Not only are companies going digital, but also focusing on minimizing the usage of paper by printing less and prevent paper wastage in the process.

The pandemic has made this transition a necessity for players to survive as well as to improve their existing offerings and serve customers better. Hence, they must keep experimenting with newer business models and innovate their product portfolio in order to meet the changing print aspirations of modern consumers with innovative solutions.

No doubt, COVID-19 has presented newer challenges to the industry but has also created potential opportunities for players to improve their craft and better understand customers. Those who will be able to deeply analyse the current market insights, take right investment decisions, and make accurate predictions for the upcoming challenges, will be able to outshine others and cement themselves as a leader in the market.