Thursday, July 28, 2011

Two Articles about the Reprographics Industry and challenges faced by Reprographers and by the IRGA

Joel's lead-in commentary:

While I may not always agree with viewpoints expressed by others (sometimes I do, sometimes I don't), I feel it is important to share viewpoints expressed by others, and that's why I've decided to point my blog-readers to these two reprographics-industry-related articles, recently published on the Internet.

In the first article I mention below, the industry "experts" quoted are from the "vendor" side of the reprographics industry, and, quite frankly, I don't consider "vendors" to be experts in the reprographics business, unless, of course, they've actually owned or worked for a "reprographics services" company. Vendors see the reprographics services business from the outside, and, to me, what's most important is what's going on on the inside of the business. I do agree (with the "experts") that more and more "printing" is being done remotely (distribute, then print) rather than being done "centrally" (at reprographer production centers), and, in fact, I've previously written a number of articles on this blog that speak to that "trend", a trend that began several years ago (so it is not new news to reprographers). Remote printing (distribute, then print) is driven by several factors: a) the growth of the FM business; customers recognizing that the FM business model is a win-win business model for them and the reprographers they use, b) continued reductions in the price of wide-format imaging devices; easily enabling customers to have wide-format devices at their office, if they want the convenience of having equipment at their offices, c) the ease of transferring files from one party to many parties; without question, the Internet has dramatically changed AEC workflows and how AEC firms use reprographers.

On July 8th, an article authored by Denise Gustavson was published on the Internet. The article, “Entering AEC’s Digital World”, shares her insights and the insights of certain industry “experts” about the current situation in the reprographics industry, including the challenges that the industry faces as well as “suggestions” for what reprographers should be doing to survive and prosper.

Denise is the Editor of Here’s her bio:

With more than 12 years of experience in the wide-format market, Denise parlays her journalistic experience with her in-depth knowledge of the issues, challenges, and technology of the wide- and grand format industry. She employs her unique vantage point to observe and report on the graphic arts, creative, and photography markets and how wide-format technology plays a vital role in each.

Title: “Entering AEC’s Digital World”

BY DENISE GUSTAVSON (article published on July 8th, 2011)

Here’s the final paragraph in the article that Denise Gustavson authored:

“Also, as reprographers reinvent themselves, there is a need to distinguish the value that they offer and how their services are aligned with the needs of their clients," he added. "They must diversify and look beyond just construction and engineering, all the while however staying close to the AEC industry so they are there as business opportunities develop.”

Here’s the Internet address of the complete article that Denise Gustavson wrote:


Steve Bova, long-time Executive Director of the IRgA wrote an article to share with us his insights into the reprographics industry’s situation, including the IRgA’s situation.

Title: “Industry Insights: Reprographics At A Crossroads”

BY STEVE BOVA (article published on July 8th, 2011)

Here’s the beginning of the article that Steve Bova authored:

IRgA leadership recently announced that the spring 2011 Convention & Trade Show would be the 84-year-old association’s last. As the board figures out ways for the organization to continue to serve the industry, Gary Wilbur, R.S. Knapp, and Bob Roperti, Jiffy Reprographics, shared the rationale for this decision.

“The IRgA has experienced decline similar to that of the reprographics industry. It will scale down to serve a smaller market need," said Wilbur.

The industry is going through a structural change, he added. “Our customers have changed their workflows to processes that in many cases exclude us or, at a minimum, make it very difficult to make enough money to cover the overhead.”

Last year, the IRgA had 200 member companies; that was down from 600 in 1999. Today, there are 185 member companies—148 reprographers, 26 vendors, and 11 complimentary members (affinity groups, regional leaders, media, etc.). While core membership has remained flat, the vendor segment has diminished the most.

Here’s the Internet address of the complete article that Steve Bova wrote:

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