2022: The year of digital print

By Eef de Ridder, Vice President, Graphic Communications Group, Ricoh Europe

It is that time of year when we consider the trends likely to shape the year ahead and how print operations can adapt to them, so they are at the forefront of new possibilities.

While the certainty with which predictions are made is by no means sure, even the ones formed on the soundest of information have been considerably challenged by the current unprecedented times. These times are unlikely to see swift improvement.

It is clear the impact of the pandemic is going to shape the industry for far longer than any us would ideally want.

Despite this operational backdrop, IDC – the information technology, telecommunications, and consumer technology research, analysis and advisory firm – has set out its thoughts for the future in its Worldwide Imaging, Printing, and Document Solutions 2022 Predictions report.

There are three in particular we expect to define the print production environment.

Prediction 1: By 2023, 60% of managed print services customers will rate the vendor’s sustainability programme as a major factor in choosing a print service provider.

We have already seen how COP 26 has begun to accelerate the discussions on how companies will manage their impact on the climate. As part of that, we believe there will be an increased focus on optimising supply chains and a greater focus on ensuring goods and services are procured with fewer CO2 emissions. Sustainability is something companies needs to consider throughout their business and manufacturing operations.

Prediction 2:  60% of organisations will move to a subscription based model for print and print related services to support the needs of the hybrid workforce.

PSP’s are having to turn to software and workflow solutions that provide a proven framework to deliver scalability for business growth and support a tailored strategy. These solutions will need to be available in flexible subscription pricing models in both cloud and locally hosted versions and can be adapted and configured as required. They must range from web enablement software connecting print businesses and their clients 24/7, allowing job submission and online ordering, and MIS solutions allowing estimating and planning designed specifically for digital print, to fully automated end-to-end workflow solutions.

Prediction 3: By 2024, 70% of global industrial print users will have adopted digital printing technology into their production/manufacturing operations. We think this will take the form of cost effective, flexible, non-impact inkjet, with emerging opportunities for Direct To Garment printing.

While these forward looking statements are being made in the face of a constantly changing environment, they take into account the core elements of an industry that is continually evolving. More recently that evolution has been rapid and agile in response to a harsher climate but, importantly, substantial change was already underway.

How do you see 2022 shaping up and what are your thoughts on these predictions for the year ahead?