Taking Pole Position in the Commercial Print Race

| 13 September 2022

By Richard Kilduff, Production & Industrial Print Channel Manager - Commercial Print, at Konica Minolta Business Solutions (UK) Ltd

I feel very privileged to be in my role at Konica Minolta, not only do I get to see the cutting edge of print technology being developed and introduced to the market, but I also get to work closely with some of the most experienced and innovative people in print today – the commercial printers that make the industry what it is.
These talented professional people often live and breathe print, and many have forgotten more about the process than most people will ever know! It’s one thing to have the technical and engineering knowhow to produce the right technology, but quite another to understand the nuances of the commercial print world and make a profitable business from it.
A good analogy would be a Formula One racing team. Everyone plays an important role, but without the right driver all the engineering and organisational nous in the world isn’t enough to win the race. These professional commercial print businesses continue to be the fulcrum of not only the print industry, but also all the other sectors relying on printed material as a key facet of their business. Just about every consumer goods provider relies on commercial printers to produce essential packaging labels, documentation and promotional materials.

Challenging times    
Unfortunately, we will all face more challenging times in the months and years ahead, partially as a function of broader economic issues but also complications caused by the pandemic and trading changes due to Brexit. The well-publicised cost of living crisis is tough for us all on a personal level, but as manufacturing businesses, many commercial printers will be significantly impacted too.
Escalating costs for raw materials (paper and other substrates), along with rising energy prices and wider global supply chain issues are all putting an even greater squeeze on commercial printers. I have no doubt that some of these businesses will consider, where possible, absorbing the extra costs themselves to avoid upsetting their customers. However, at Konica Minolta, we would rather help commercial printers to produce new and innovative products to be more creative in their offering and to raise profit levels instead.  

Seizing opportunities
We have seen time and again that the commercial print industry is a highly resilient one. The 2008 financial crisis and more recently the pandemic have seen businesses adapt and diversify to meet demands and win new business despite the broader challenges.
Konica Minolta is passionate about helping our customers to do this and we recently launched a campaign to ‘See the Potential’ and to look at the possibilities of diversifying into different areas, such as high-value speciality packaging, label printing, and enhancements, all of which offer attractive margins. These are prime examples of where print has a huge impact on the audience and delivers a unique proposition that doesn’t have to compete with online alternatives.  
Much like the Formula One analogy, Konica Minolta is the engineering team. We are developing technology that will power and help commercial printers to take on these challenges, but it is these professionals who take the driving seat, know the obstacles, and will ultimately take the chequered flag when it comes to winning business.

See our latest technology at The Print Show 2022
A great opportunity to come and see the latest technology and to speak to us about your print requirements and the opportunities ahead is at The Print Show 2022, which returns to the NEC Birmingham 20th-22nd September.
In my experience, trade events such as this continue to be very popular with the print industry, probably because what we do is very tangible and needs to be seen in the flesh. After the disruptions of the last few years of course, this year’s event will be the first face-to-face meeting for a long time for many people in the print industry.
Konica Minolta will be appearing on Stand B17 in Hall 17, and it will be a great opportunity for us to meet with partners and customers as well – the people on the front line of the print industry. We are excited to be showcasing our latest technology and to showing just how affordable many of these solutions are, to further encourage commercial printers to see the potential.
One of our focuses will be areas where our customers can diversify and find new revenue streams, such as labels and gateway products for the right investment, along with embellishment products (such as the new AccurioShine 3600 and complementary MGI Digital Technology solutions), right through to our top-end industrial print solutions.

In it to win it
There are exciting opportunities for the entrepreneurial commercial printer to grasp, despite the challenges ahead. Konica Minolta is working with industry bodies like the BPIF and IPIA to help support the wider print industry by aiming to highlight how evolving technology is there to make seizing these opportunities easier and more profitable.
The Konica Minolta team and I are also here to support your technology needs, and The Print Show is a perfect opportunity to come and meet us in person to discuss how we can help you meet these needs, find further inspiration, and uncover new opportunities. Now is the perfect time to jump into the driver’s seat, grab the wheel and get a good lead on your competition.   

Who is talking:

Richard Kilduff

Richard Kilduff is the Production & Industrial Print Channel Manager- Commercial Print at Konica Minolta Business Solutions (UK) Ltd. He has worked for Konica Minolta’s Professional Print division for 8 years and now leads their Commercial Print sales channel, having spent over 25 years in the commercial printing industry. In this article he discusses the vital role of commercial printers in the industry and how Konica Minolta’s technology is helping them to ‘See the Potential’.