Fujifilm Interviews Customers, Shares Print Service Industry Outlook

Despite the pandemic, optimism increases over return to normal business conditions by fall

(Image courtesy FUJIFILM)

Fujifilm North America Corporation, Graphic Systems Division, announces results from qualitative interviews with more than 1,100 customers, indicating an encouraging outlook for print service providers despite the recent COVID-19 impact on many commercial businesses.

Encouragingly, the highest number of responses (32%) projected a return to normal business conditions in the July/August 2020 time frame, and 24% expected a return to normal business conditions in September/October 2020. Overall, a combined total of 72% of the customers expressed optimism about recovery to normal business conditions by October.

Concerning staffing, the highest number of respondents said staffing levels remained unchanged for 36% of respondents, while some accounts reported decreases of between 1% and 26%. Some respondents reported retention of staff and utilization of material cutting and sewing capabilities to successfully shift business priorities and produce personal protective equipment (PPE). A significant number of customers (54%) reported applying for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) or operating loans.

Expanding the variety of production capabilities was key to business continuity plans for print service providers, with 83% of the respondents reporting declines in production volume up to 40% or more since the start of the pandemic. This statistic excludes businesses deemed essential during the shutdown, including news/print media, whose performance remained flat during this time.

Across segments, despite lower order intake in April, there was a significant increase in demand for consumable products in May that correlates closely with states reopening and an increased level of business activity across the country.

“The customer data points have provided us with quite a bit of insight into the market and the individual situations at each customer,” says Todd Zimmerman, division president, Fujifilm North America Corporation, Graphic Systems Division. “This has helped us with our production planning to be sure we have inventory available as markets recover. We are as anxious as our customers for a return to more normal business conditions.”

The company interviewed its print service provider customers from the commercial, sign and display, and packaging segments. Since many operations today serve more than one market, and do more than one type of printing, the customer interviews uncovered insights regarding each of the three market segments. Fujifilm conducted the interviews over a month-long period between April 15 and May 15. The majority of the interviews were with companies that defined themselves as commercial printers followed by sign and display printers and packaging printers.

Interviews centered on four main topics:

  • Changes in production volume
  • Changes in staffing levels
  • Applications for government Paycheck Protection Program assistance or other operating loans
  • Projections regarding a return to normal business conditions

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Allee Bruce

Alexandria Bruce

Alexandria Bruce is the former managing editor of GRAPHICS PRO magazine.

View all articles by Alexandria Bruce  

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