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PERF Study: Print Buyers Want More E-Forms

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Press release from the issuing company

April 18, 2006 -- The Print Education and Research Foundation (PERF) has just published its first quarterly issue of the PERF Print Report, an ongoing research project to help print suppliers evolve in a changing marketplace. The report's first issue focuses on the needs and behaviors of print buyers. Preliminary findings show a mature industry that is facing challenges on many fronts. Findings include: - When print buyers (end users) were asked which printed products they want to produce internally, three responses related to forms emerged. They included traditional forms; a predominant shift toward production of documents in-house; and a continued development of electronic substitution for paper documents. A common factor in nearly every response was the word "forms." Most print buyers plan to create forms on their own in the near future. These include HR forms, employment applications, letterhead, unit sets and memos. One buyer said, "We are trying to reduce the quantity of all the products we purchase. We have moved numerous products to an on-demand production system, and currently create a PDF file for most products which is posted on internal as well as external web sites. Products that have been eliminated are usually high-dollar products." Most respondents say they want to move forms to PDF or some kind of electronic media. - One of the goals of print buyers is to produce internally printed products on high-speed, black-and-white laser printers. A few respondents pointed specifically to high-speed, production-level laser printers as a tool to print forms and other materials internally. In a telephone interview, Pamela Bailey, a print buyer for Greyhound Lines, said her company has two DocuTechs and a bindery where it can fulfill orders, instead of working with a print supplier. Many print buyers are interested in the time-savings of having a printer in-house. - Most respondents said they were looking to internally develop electronic forms. William Hill, CFC, CFSP of Washington State's Department of Labor and Industries said, "The creation of an electronic workflow has allowed us to save up to $60,000 in envelope costs." There is a definite trend toward electronic forms and data collection, and away from traditional forms. Forms are in jeopardy as well as commercial printing jobs that can be replaced by a web-based format. - Many buyers talked about the continued need for printed documents and forms. Their future needs include a variety of printed pieces, including advertising, long run printed materials, oversized forms, booklets and envelopes. Buyers who predict a change in the products they purchase say they will seek other formats such as CDs and electronic forms. In addition, buyers overwhelmingly say they continue to need print-related services such as document fulfillment and mailing. The research is sponsored by PERF in conjunction with Clemson University, California Polytechnic State University, Business Forms Management Association and DMIA. It aims to find information that will define what print buyers and distributors want from the printer/buyer relationship, new technologies printers should be examining, and ways to successfully evolve a printing company.




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