Are You Ready for the Industry Challenges 2023 Could Bring?

Are You Ready for the Industry Challenges 2023 Could Bring?

Are You Ready for the Industry Challenges 2023 Could Bring?

By Sander Sondaal, Director Commercial Print Sales, Ricoh Graphic Communications, Ricoh Europe

Printing United Alliance’s State of the Industry report cemented what many of us have known for a long time. The survey of its American printer membership found we are edging ever closer to a recession as the economy continues to slow appreciably over the next 12 months. Its view of the market is something that will resonate strongly with European Print Service Providers (PSPs) too.

The survey found the top seven challenges identified by commercial printers, graphic and sign producers, packaging printers and converters and apparel decorators were:

  • Rising substrate costs
  • Material shortages
  • Rising labour costs
  • Rising transportation costs
  • Labour shortages
  • Maintaining profitability
  • Rising energy costs

Four fifths of respondents reported increased sales on a year ago although only half experienced a rise in pre-tax profitability. And while two thirds signalled interest in investing in capital equipment – hardware and software in 2023 – 28.7% were unsure of their investment plans with uncertainty about the economy cited as the main influencing factor.

The recently released 8th drupa Global Trends Report from Messe Düsseldorf research partners Printfuture (UK), and Wissler & Partner (Switzerland), found that Print Service Providers (PSPs) are quite resilient in the face of many crises.

The headline figures were optimistic. Globally, in 2022, 34% of the printer panel stated their company’s current economic condition to be “good” and 16% described it as “poor,” yielding a net positive balance of +18%. The expectations for 2023 are even better, with a net balance of 27% of participants expecting good business. However, European printers anticipate their economic condition will worsen in 2023 due to rising paper and energy prices and a general stalling of the economy.

The report also found that, since 2019, capital expenditure had fallen steadily reaching a low in 2022. But, as a result, a rebound in investments is expected in 2023 and could potentially surpass the capital expenditure in all previous years as operations catch up.

According toWalter Fricke’s How to Survive a Recession and Thrive Afterwards, “Recessions are a high pressure exercise in change management, and to navigate one successfully, a company needs to be flexible and ready to adjust. It’s tempting to think of a recession as a time to batten down the hatches and play it safe. However, downturns …encourage the adoption of new technologies.”

Ranjay Gulati, Nitin Nohria, and Franz Wohlgezogen, take this approach a step further when they say instead of retreating into survival mode and hoping for the best, businesses can prepare to come “roaring out of recession.”

Both point to agile PSPs as those most likely to identify opportunities and ride out a downturn and lay firm foundations for continued success once the downturn ends.

But how do you identify the right opportunity? This is something Ricoh’s EDGE business development consultancy service can help operations with. By working through its lean canvas (see example below) PSPs can evaluate and identify relevant opportunities.

Problem/Pain Point   Why this product/service will be important to clients Solution   How are you going to solve the problem/relieve the pain? Customer Segment     Your target market
Channels   How will you reach the target market? Unique Value Proposition   Why your target market will buy from you rather than the competition? Revenue Streams   Revenues the product/service is expected to generate
Cost Structure   Costs of bringing the product/service to market Key Metrics   How will you measure performance/if expectations are being met Your Unfair Advantage   Specific skills/attributes that will differentiate you


They could also consider questions such as:

  • Why now?
  • Precisely for whom will we create the value/solve the problem?
  • How big is the opportunity?
  • What alternatives are out there?
  • Why are we best suited to pursue this? What’s our differentiator?
  • What factors – internal and external — are critical to success?

The aim is to avoid wasting time and money on poor opportunities while gaining an understanding of what will be required to succeed with good opportunities.

Interested in seeing what opportunities there are for your business to discover, introduce and build successfully on? Speak to our team to learn more about how Ricoh EDGE can help.

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