The first day of EFI’s Engage user conference kicked off early in the morning of Monday, January 25. The global virtual conference runs through February 4. Over the next nine days The Cannata Report will provide a two-minute recap of the conference’s general sessions. The initial general session featured EFI CEO Jeff Jacobson’s keynote, “Pivoting to Profitability: Being Agile in a Turbulent Environment.”
Here are the highlights from Jacobson’s keynote, which you should be able to read in two minutes or less.
“Many people who converted to working from home during the pandemic might not come back to working in an office. Even for workers who must report in person it will become a routine fact of work that you telecommute on days when it just does not make sense to commute. The working world as well as academia may in fact come to an age when a major temporary disruption may not mean a major loss in productivity.”
Display Graphics on the Rebound
“So much of printing is tied to marketing and an important segment we serve with our display graphics technologies is tied to retail and marketing areas, segments severely impacted by the pandemic. But we also see areas where the pandemic has increased demand. Short-run, on-demand packaging and e-commerce, for example have driven a 40%+ increase in output for users of EFI Nozomi single-pass corrugated printers. Countless EFI customers who lost traditional work producing promotional signage recovered some of that revenue producing urgently needed social distancing graphics and divisional graphics such as shields and dividers as well as cloth masks.”
Some Good News About the Print Industry
Jacobson shared some positive news courtesy of Andy Paparozzi, chief economist for the Printing United Alliance.
- More than half the jobs lost during March and April have been recovered.
- Software solutions, investments that make your print operations leaner, meaner and more profitable will be a key area of investment for the recovery.
- In the U.S., print industry sales are expected to grow between 2½ and 4% in 2021.
“This sends a clear message, prepare now for the recovery that is coming as we move away from the pandemic,” said Jacobson. “One third of print businesses, according to Printing United Alliance plan on capital equipment investments. At EFI we can attest to seeing early stages of a rebound with some large investments in Q4 of 2020, that included our first Nozomi single-pass corrugated printer sale in Latin America.”
High-Volume Digital Print Manufacturing Growing in Relevance
“High-volume digital print manufacturing is more relevant and applicable than ever. It’s applicable because following the pandemic we are seeing industrial applications such as corrugated packaging and textiles migrate into other markets, including display graphics.”
Digital Print Rules
“Digital print is more and more about giving the customer what he or she wants and when they want it. It is what we have all seen with ecommerce and the Amazon effect, and it will continue. For example, we can take plain brown corrugated boxes and transform them into personalized advertising media. Digital can also mean creating products closer to the point of need. For example, there are European fashion brands decorating accessories and foot ware with shorter turnaround times by using digital print locally.”
Cloud Solutions Preview
“We have exciting cloud solutions to share with you at Engage and I’m sure you will see how important they’ll be in driving your business forward in terms of efficiency, better management, and stronger sales activity.”
Remote Service Accelerating
“If you have seen any of our latest generation printers, you have seen the much larger role remote service and training play. We have customers who have gone through complex workflow implementations with 100% of the training virtual.”
Jacobson presented an overview of some of the products that will be introduced at EFi in 2021, including the first EFI cubic applications in the flooring space for digital printing, including staining of wood and other materials. Also new are enhanced VUTEk printers that bring high quality production printing to longer run applications. According to Jacobson, EFI will unveil some of the most significant developments it has had in 15+ years as a display graphics vendor during Engage.
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