Giving Thanks: Despite a Challenging Year, Commercial Print and In-Plant Customers Still Have Reasons to be Thankful

By Elisha Kasinskas, RSA — The third wave of the pandemic has arrived, creating more business challenges and concerns on top of all the other previous challenges and concerns businesses encountered in 2020.

Despite the impact of the pandemic on business and business operations, there are still reasons for commercial printers and in-plants to be thankful this holiday season and optimistic for the year ahead.

Here are eight reasons for your commercial print and/or in-plant customers to give thanks during this time.

  1. Thankful for the ability to pivot – Forced to be flexible and make changes to save the business, many organizations did so, discovering that while at times painful, those changes, whether they were enhancing business processes or learning how to operate with fewer personnel was a lifesaver.
  2. Thankful for the opportunity to re-examine existing business processes – A downturn in business can be a time for reflection and re-evaluation. The hustle and bustle of business pre-pandemic may have distracted managers and owners from examining segments of the business where processes could be improved, and costs trimmed. We are not talking about trimming employees although that may have been an option for some organizations but by adding equipment and software that reduces the need for manual intervention. Indeed, when things got slow, some organizations discovered better ways of getting a job out the door and tools such as software from RSA to improve internal processes so that when business picks up again, their organizations are running more effectively and efficiently.
  3. Thankful for starting to accelerate your business’s digital transformation – If there wasn’t an online strategy before the pandemic, the pandemic created a need to adapt one. According to an article on McKinsey Digital, digital interaction with B2B is now two times more important than traditional channels, a 30% increase since the pandemic struck in March. Digital tools, including software from RSA, have long been essential for accelerating a digital interaction and enhancing customer engagement.
  4. Thankful for the time to think about new ways of marketing the business – When traditional customers aren’t printing like they used to and business was slow, this was a good time to explore new marketing strategies, such as social media, particularly when no social media presence existed before. This was one way a commercial printer could cast a wider marketing net and remain top of mind with existing customers.
  5. Thankful for VDP – We have touted the benefits of VDP before in this blog, and VDP jobs helped make a difference for some in-plants during the downturn as they produced essential printed output. If you are selling a VDP solution such as RSA’s WebCRD with the ImpactVDP variable data printing module, you are well positioned to provide customers with a VDP edge.
  6. Thankful for Web to Print Software – Workflow software such as RSA’s WebCRD was the ultimate in socially distant job submission and with some print shops and in-plants running lean and mean, it enabled greater efficiencies within these organizations.
  7. Thankful for the increased need for signage – An election year notwithstanding, the need for signs promoting social distancing, mask wearing, curbside pickup, etc. made a difference for some print shops. This was an application that brought in new customers who never needed the services of a commercial printer before or help keep staff in some in-plant operations busy.
  8. Thankful for remote learning – With most school districts educating students remotely, there was still a need for printed materials, particularly for students without access to computers, the internet, or a printer at home.
  9. Thankful for existing customers – Even if customers weren’t submitting jobs as often as in the past, commercial printers were thankful for that past loyalty and business. The smart ones took time to notify these customers of changes they made during this down period that will allow them to serve them better.

It may still be difficult for your commercial print and in-plant customers to identify why they should be thankful in the middle of a pandemic, and likely you are having a difficult time finding things to be thankful for as well. But if everyone’s business is still operating—theirs and yours—and both of you are intent on keeping your doors wide open going forward, a moment of thanks for what we all still have and the possibilities for the future as we enter the new year can’t hurt.