It was my first time at the Digital Printing Froum in Milano 2. It has been a very interesting event proposing a wide range of opportunities for communication companies, digital printers, DM operators, service providers to directly meet many technology providers. This year the event celebrates the 16th edition with a First Class organization level. I have been invited to the round table dedicated to innovation within the editorial market, new media and future strategies. In summary, among the many social, economical, technological factors influencing and driving the market, I emphasized that in Italy I have seen a large number of companies without a clear content management strategy. This is mainly due to the fact that they think content management is a technical issue which must be solved within ICT department rather than a real strategic leverage supporting the business growth. In my opinion the crucial point is that today "content is King" more than ever. If a company has set up the appropriate content management strategy, supported by the right technological infrastructure, will have no problem using the content which today is printed on paper (product catalogue, magazine, newspaper) and tomorrow will be distributed on web sites, social media, e-Book readers, tablets, smart phones. It does not matter the kind of company: printer, graphic industry, book publisher, new media, newspaper and magazine publisher or even industry and services because content, at the most granular level, is just about text, image, sound and video file formats. If companies have all structured new processes to manage, to share and to distribute any content from one unique system or platform like censhare, they will have "less" problems when printed orders will start to decrease. They will surely be able to compensate the loss of the printed volume providing new services to their customers. This is how in my opinion, graphic industries will become in the future "content distributors" and newspapers or magazine editors will become more like "marketing companies". I suggest the reading of this article published on 2009 on the Harward Business Review. Media Companies Need To Become Marketing Companies. I am very grateful to the organizers for the opportunity to be present and to live such a rich experience.
The future of the graphic arts, the printing industry, the media services has never been so hard to foreseen. It’s not just about the rapid technology development, the global economy situation, the deep social and cultural changes and many others valid factors. For a number of companies I think there is a factor playing an important role: many of them are simply missing a vision on fundamental strategic issues. Currently the discussion about how long the paper will survive the new technology is very active on online and printed articles, events, round tables. I personally hate this kind of useless discussions which are reminding me something very similar about the “supposed death of paper” when the web exploded some 15 years ago. I believe the challenge here is different: it’s not about how long the paper will survive, but rather how many companies will close down before the paper - lets suppose for one second - will disappear. We will still need paper for a while as we have needed until today, with the exeption of printed newspapers and magazines because news and information have become a new experience which goes beyond the printed page. Starting from a truly customer oriented vision, there are in my opinion few strategic issues that could be helpful to a graphic industry, a printing company or a book or magazine publisher. Lets try to summarize:
- Have you adopted a content management strategy which allows effective business processes, optimized efficiency when creating, using and distributing content on every media channel? The content management strategy is a very powerful leverage that fully supports the organization to reach its business objectives.
- Have you integrated your production and business workflows within a JDF environment? This can offer the final customer a great product and service experience, while the company can take advantage from the increased efficiency of all its internal processes.
- Have you ever considered to start a Lean Six Sigma project? There are many useful tools in this great methodology that help to create a culture of continuous improvement of processes and quality, by eliminating wastes, non value added activities, hidden costs and inefficiencies. Please don’t think about how much a Lean Six Sigma project could cost, but rather how much could be the cost for your company of not doing it.
I hope these three questions can help to trigger useful reflection on how to find a constructive way to consolidate your competitive edge on the market. What do you think? Thank you for your feedback.