Sitting down to write a Quarterly Update can be challenging. My goal is to provide you information that is worthy of your time and attention. This update will provide a mix that will be a continuation of the theme for the last year and some vision to the future. Please drop me an email and let me know if it was worthy of your attention. My email is email@example.com.
The Easy Part – More of the Same
- The supply of raw materials (paper) is still a challenge. NextPage has worked hard and expanded our inventory by over 300% from 2021 levels.
- The supply of workers is just as big and probably more complex of a challenge. Add to that, the need for skilled print professionals is a significant roadblock at times. This is not meant as a political commentary; every business owner I speak with has indicated the need for the United States to overhaul our immigration policy AND increase the number of workers we allow into the country.
- While we averted a strike with the rail system, we still have a significant shortage of over-the-road drivers.
- Energy costs are significant in the printing industry and as winter falls upon Europe, and as of this writing, the Russian attack on Ukraine continues, we will see pricing increases associated with energy costs.
What does the future hold for the printing industry?
IRONMARK USA recently published a blog post on the future of print. They spoke with five industry experts that provided insight and distilled some futuristic thoughts. I found their thoughts to be right on track with my own as well as the direction that NextPage has been taking for 30 years.
- Embracing Innovation – For over 30 years, NextPage has focused on thinking about the business of print with a different lens. We take complex processes and use technology and ingenuity to streamline those inefficiencies whether on the plant floor or in the marketing operations of our clients.
- Integrating with Digital Technology – Digital print technology is just one way that NextPage has worked with digital transformation of the marketing world. We work to streamline data handling, order processing, and results tracking for our clients. If your current providers aren’t able to help you streamline your marketing operation then please reach out.
- Getting More Customized – Consumers demand personalization. They have a short attention span and feel that businesses should know what they want and how they want to buy it. Not only does “one size fits all” not work; one size fits most is passé.
- The Amount and Speed of Change will Continue – Over the last 30 years, NextPage has transformed from a duplicator shop to a complex production and marketing operation. With over 160,000 square feet of production space, and millions of dollars in computing power, we know that change is happening at a faster rate than ever before. Can your current suppliers keep up? Do they even think about leading?
Some Things Bear Repeating (I know I’m a broken record).
- Flexibility – Buyers will be successful if they are flexible on their stock choice, on their production methods, and on their mail dates.
- Prior Planning – It is important that you connect with us and advise us of your plans for 2023. Yes, 2022 is all but over. We have some capacity and will move heaven and earth to do everything we can for you. Unfortunately, there will be times when we can’t solve the challenge. Let’s get started thinking AND TALKING about 2023. We can help with budgets, plans, and sourcing.
- Budgets – We are expecting additional price increases related to raw materials. Please allow for a budget increase of 12-18% for 2023. We will work to do everything we can to support your budget. 2022 brought multiple rounds of price increases from raw material vendors. There is no expectation that it will be different in 2023. I hope I’m wrong.
- Communication – We have always believed that communication was at the core of a successful relationship. Our commitment is to be upfront and clear about what we know, when we know it. We will do our best to over-communicate with you. We ask that you do the same with us.
- Estimates & Pricing – Any estimate that we provide is only valid for 7 days, pending paper pricing and availability. If you are asking us to provide you a budget for projects to be completed months later, we will work with you to ensure proper planning.
- Staffing Levels – NextPage maintains a highly skilled and committed workforce. Our team is committed to care for our clients so we can take care of our families.
And, I will say it again, COMMUNICATION is key. Please let us know well in advance of your goals and plans. The NextPage team will move heaven and earth to try and accommodate every request.
Thank you for your business and here’s to a successful fourth quarter!
Gina M. Danner :: CEO