Print on demand — it’s really a thing

The thumbnail version:

  • Our culture is shifting away from the homogeneity of mainstream products
  • The time has never been better for print shops to make a switch

The full version;

This, intentionally, is the second post this month on print-on-demand coming to the the textile decorating industry (Yes, that includes your shop!). The increasing number of articles in trade journals about this phenomenon is “writing on the wall” that print shop owners should be paying attention to if they want to remain relevant in an evolving industry.

Ian Bell, writing for Images Magazine, claims that the time has never been better for print shops to make the switch from business-to-business (“B2B”) to business-to-consumer (“B2C”). He bases this on indicators that “our culture is increasingly shifting away from the homogeneity of mainstream products and markets to more niche, personalized goods and services.”

But, he argues that for a shop to maximize its profitability in the B2C market, a high degree of automation is necessary. He mentions digital technology, automated ordering systems, automated order processing, and highly-automated production (including bar-coding garments so as to be able to track them throughout the process from order to delivery).

To a traditional industry notoriously slow to adapt to change, this might sound like sci-fi dreaming. It’s not. It’s really a thing. It needs to be taken seriously.