There is no doubt the flexographic industry is evolving. It is important in any business to know what is trending so that you can better understand and prepare your business. Here are four trends to be aware of in 2022 and beyond and a few reasons why you should exercise them in your business.
- Sustainability has been an evolving trend. According to the article “What is Corporate Sustainability?” (Sphera’s Editorial Team | November 19, 2021), sustainability does a lot for businesses, including securing a place in the future economy. Other benefits of sustainability include: lessening risk, building brand reputation, increasing revenue, reducing costs and attracting investment are opportunities for businesses that hold sustainability high on their pedestals. “More businesses are going sustainable because more of today’s consumers demand it.” (Blue Bite, 2022). One example of how sustainability can reduce costs would be the introduction of compressed air dryers. These dryers which are powered by electricity rather than gas, allow printers to utilize alternative forms of energy, like solar power. Other new advances in technology also help lessen the amount of energy used on equipment. For example; newer presses feature regenerative drives that store energy in capacitors as the machine is slowing down and then allow it to use that energy when it needs it in the process. Another way to understand this is when you form a snowball at the top of a hill and then allow it to roll down the hill. It takes less energy on your part to make that snowball as inertia creates a bigger and faster snowball. So, wouldn’t it be great if we could store all of that extra energy that you are saving by allowing gravity and the weight of snow to move that snowball faster down the hill? By working towards sustainability you can reap the benefits of reducing overhead costs and more.
- One motivating factor in the labor shortage era is the automation of equipment according to Laurie Burkel, owner of Printco Industries, a leading manufacturer of flexographic equipment. “By automating equipment, production levels remain at the same rate while utilizing less human resources. It’s a win, win situation,” says Burkel. Industry author Robert Pennings mentions in a recent article that AI technology, such as a camera-based automatic impression and register systems take the operator error and guesswork out of the equipment. By taking advantage of these advancements companies can gain a competitive advantage. Additionally, printing presses and machinery are major investments, so by working with your equipment manufacturer to simply enhance pieces of machinery, components and controls may be your best option moving toward automation. (Pennings, 2020)
- Supply Chain Disruption Management, according to Anderson and Vreeland, Inc, a company that provides innovative solutions to the flexographic industry is an important movement in the manufacturing world that isn’t going away anytime soon. (4 trends flexographic, 2022) Being able to get ahead of inventory stock levels, and finding a way to forecast inventory using data, will be critical to avoiding disruption. There are automated inventory software systems available like Vendor Managed Inventory System, Zohoo Inventory, and Webgility, that make this easier to manage.
- Trends decline in flexographic printing, according to “9 Emerging Trends in The Flexographic Printing Industry – 2022 Guide,” due to technological advancements, personalization on the packaging, the internet, and smartphones. The industry is expected to opt for lower volume requirements. (Collins, 2021) This is a similar trend to what the world has seen in the newspaper and magazine industry. Understanding what is going on around you, and the world from a macro perspective will benefit you in the long run.
In summary, staying aware and ahead of industry trends will lead you to greener pastures. Looking into the future, it’s important that you embrace sustainability, automation, supply chain management, and know what the market is doing, educate yourself and understand that times change. History has shown that human habits change due to technological advancements. Another key to remaining ahead of your competition is by staying in touch with your customers. According to industry leader, Laurie Burkel, “The key factor in any business is to maintain healthy relationships. At Printco Industries, we plan to focus on keeping the lines of communication open every step of the way. Knowing what keeps our customers up at night, and being the expert who is able to guide them and find solutions is how we plan to stay ahead of our competition.”