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New Study Examines How U.S. Printing Industry Can Deal with Offshore Competition

Monday, September 13, 2004

Press release from the issuing company

Harrisville, RI -- September 13, 2004 -- Strategies for Management, Inc. has announced a new study, “A Critical Look at Offshore Printing.” The project will be directed by leading printing industry commentator and forecaster Dr. Joe Webb, and managed by Mr. Vince Naselli, formerly of TrendWatch Graphic Arts. A copy of a presentation about the project can be downloaded from http://www.prweb.com/prfiles/2004/09/08/156536/Offshore_Printing_Presentation_www-sfminc-com.pdf The U.S. commercial printing industry has a new competitor: non-U.S. printers. In the past, language, logistics, delivery time, and shipping costs all made creating and coordinating cross-border print purchases difficult. For this reason, Canada has been the U.S.'s only significant trade partner in print, with the U.S. maintaining a surplus. “The commercial printing industry has long been concerned about the occasional forays of non-U.S. printers into the U.S. market, but it was usually limited to coffee table books and other items that had long shelf lives and could withstand long turnaround and shipping times,” said Dr. Joe Webb, president of Strategies for Management. “It is no surprise that things have certainly been changing, however identifying the impact and direction of this change has been elusive. For this reason, a thorough review of the drivers and dynamics of this change are warranted.” For the first half of 2004, the surplus in printed materials trade declined by $75 billion. That's a 38% decrease compared to 2003. About ten years ago, the U.S. had a 72% surplus in books and printed matter; today it is barely more than 16%. New communications technologies, new overseas plants, and reduction in trade barriers have conspired to erode natural protectors of commercial printing. “The fact that this shift is happening should not come as a surprise to anyone,” said Vince Naselli, principal of Naselli & Associates. “Many of the same change agents that are restructuring commercial printing at large are also changing the dynamics related to non-U.S. print competition. What has not been well understood are the drivers of this change, the impact they pose on operations today, and what alternatives must be considered to turn a potentially negative situation into an opportunity for U.S. print operations.” As examples, Mr. Naselli said that “digital proofing now allows quick review of materials by print buyers and managers who are becoming more accustomed to remote workflows that are aided by advances in color management technologies." Mr. Naselli also stated that broadband telecommunications allow transmission of large graphic data files, shortening proofing cycles and enabling 'time-shifting' where production work occurs overseas while clients are sleeping on the other side of the world. Dr. Webb added that trade agreements such as NAFTA, the European Union, the World Trade Organization, and other initiatives further reduce the barriers to trade. “Trade is very important, because it raises the standard of living on both sides of the transactions. But the sudden shock of dealing in a new trade environment can be difficult for some businesses,” he said. “This report will discuss those essential transitions and the opportunities they provide. Freer trade is unstoppable; but the way the industry adapts to it is up to innovative CEOs and shop owners. Having the right information is essential to their decisions.” This new study, now soliciting ”early-bird discount” sponsorships, will cover the following issues: -- Identifying the dynamics of "offshore" printing -- Understanding the economic issues affecting print import and export volumes -- Questions related to production -- Economic and structural enablers of non-U.S. printing -- Profiles of selected non-U.S. printers -- What print buyers say about their use of “offshore” printing -- What U.S. printers need to do to compete/sell against non-U.S. printers -- Estimation of “offshore” printing's ultimate impact The project will include in its research effort: -- Interviews with U.S. and non-U.S. printers -- Discussions with print buyers who use non-U.S. printers -- Conversations with print brokers and other print sales representatives -- Quantitative economic analysis and forecasts -- The latest government data, enhanced by SFM analysis and forecasting -- Secondary research, including the Internet and many other sources The research for the project begins on September 27, 2004. The report is planned to be released on or about November 17, 2004. This report is priced at $2,875. There is a special pre-publication price of $1,975, a savings of more than 30% ($900). The report can be ordered at http://store.yahoo.com/drjoe/offshore.html For more information, interested parties can e-mail Strategies for Management at offshore@sfminc.com, or can call Mr. Vince Naselli at 1-732-568-0316.




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