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14 November 2001

Experts prime the print industry for dramatic changes in corporate communications

Experts prime the print industry for dramatic changes in corporate communications

Fuji Xerox Australia hosted an educational breakfast at Australian Technology Park for the Print Industry on November 7th. Recognising that the future of strategic corporate marketing communications is changing and the significant impact this will have on the Print Industry, Fuji Xerox Australia invited their customers to hear key industry experts discuss these issues and offer opinions for the future.

Mr Brett Maishman, Showcase Manager, Fuji Xerox Australia, introduced the event by highlighting the explosion of the World Wide Web. 'There are now aspects of the Internet in all printing solutions and we cannot ignore the resultant massive shift in printing from pre-press to desktop,' said Maishman. 'Printers need to adapt to the changing needs of the customer and look for new ways to attract and maintain new business.'

Mr Tony Freeman, Client Manager, Printing Industry Association of Australia, explained the benefits of the Enhanced Printing Industry Competitiveness Scheme (EPICS) offered by the government. EPICS has been designed to offset the increased cost to printers of book production since the introduction of the GST.

Freeman explained, 'Instead of removing the GST from the various processes involved in book production and sales, the government is offering financial benefits to the Print Industry. For example, GST increases the shelf price of a book by ten percent therefore the government will assist the book printers with funding which aims to reduce the production costs by ten percent. The reduced shelf price plus GST maintains the original cost of the book and, therefore, demand should not be affected.'

The $48 million competitive scheme is available to Australian registered publishers, book printers and associated companies involved in the production processes from preparation of text, through pre-press, printing, binding and distribution. EPICS can allow printers to develop new business processes, explore e-management systems, and fund staff skill development. So far 180 companies have applied for grants covering 270 projects.

Mr Cameron Tomes, Editor of Asia Pacific Banking Technology, explained the developments in corporate customer communications in the Financial Services Industry using the banner: "Printers: Financial Services Middlemen or misfits?" Tomes explained the increased importance of the Internet to Financial Services Institutions.

'Online technology will play a big role in the future of printing. It is important that the Print Industry develops a relationship with the Financial Services Institutions that allows them to be involved in, and take advantage of, this shift in style of corporate communication,' said Tomes.

Tomes claimed that the Financial Services Industry is looking to change its outlook and the way it communicates with customers. 'Corporate communication needs to be angled to maintain customer loyalty, attract new customers and be personal and relevant to the recipient,' he said. 'With the advances in digital printing, there are many opportunities for printers to be more tightly integrated into the Financial Services communication process. Printers need to consider the use of variable data and colour to produce customisable documents that can effectively compete with the distribution of online mail.'

Mr Phillip Lawrence, Print Industry Expert and Independent Consultant, quoted Professor Robin Williams of RMIT: '80 per cent of 16 to 24 year olds have never read a book or bought a newspaper.'

'Printing is changing. The delivery of data is changing. It is predicted that ePaper will be in full use by 2010 and entire books will be downloaded from the Internet. It is unlikely that the Print Industry will disappear, but we need to be prepared for these changes,' warned Lawrence.

Lawrence highlighted the future of the paper industry and the positive outlook for digital printing. 'Ironically, the introduction of the paperless office has created a boom for the paper industry. Paper consumption is expected to increase by 25 and 50 percent over the next ten years. This indicates a healthy future for digital printing.'

Using exciting examples of projects that he had been involved in, including personalised Fun Run vests and follow up customised mailers designed to elicit response, Lawrence proved his theory that 'Digital printing is now becoming a commodity based business with corporations prepared to pay big money for creativity.'

Lawrence said that personalised communications were high value, low to medium volume jobs and advertisers wanted these high impact communications programs. He also recommended that all print businesses should invest in a variable data specialist to run the 'engine-room of digital printing.'

Patrick Bernau, Graphics Arts Marketing Manager, Fuji Xerox Australia, told the audience, 'It is the endeavour of Fuji Xerox Australia to share the market environment that we work in and help the Print Industry to deliver communication value to clients and businesses.'

'Print communication must move towards the needs of the customer. These needs have changed and must be recognised. It"s time to look outside the square.'

Further Information:
Patrick Bernau
Fuji Xerox Australia
03 9246 3333

Heather Stewart
Just Go Write
02 9528 8784
0414 411 191