NEW YORK -- July 14, 2004 -- Over the last 12 to 18 months, Computer Integrated Manufacturing (CIM) has garnered the lion's share of editorial coverage and attention. Most would consider it to be the focus of this Spring's major industry event, DRUPA. Today, TWGA released a special report which indicates that CIM has yet to be significantly adopted by graphic arts businesses, and especially not prepress houses and commercial printers. Nor do they plan to do so in the near future.
According to the TWGA report, 58% of all respondents noted that CIM is "irrelevant to their businesses or they don't know how it relates to them." More specifically, more than three-quarters (77%) of responding prepress shops reported the same sentiments. Of all groups, Periodical Printers have embraced CIM more than any other printing segment, with 23% stating they have incorporated CIM into their production workflows and 20% stating they plan to invest in CIM workflows in the next 12 months.
The report, titled "Computer Integrated Manufacturing: Hot Stuff? Or Much Ado About Nothing?" is available for online purchase at the TWGA eStore in PDF format. For more information, please go to the TWGA website (www.trendwatchgraphicarts.com).
TWGA Overview Comment...
At a recent conference, attended by 300 to 400 printers and industry professionals, one of the presenters asked, "How many of you have been able to implement JDF in your workflows in some way?" Of the 300-400 in attendance, only one hand went up. Given that JDF is the industry standard that is, and will be for the immediate future, used to facilitate the automated and integrated workflows, this alone indicates problems for CIM vendors. If printers have not yet been able to implement JDF in any way, they are miles away from CIM. The fact is, CIM is a terrific concept, but few printers have yet to really understand or embrace it as a solution.
According to the Report...
-- READING UP ON CIM: 30% of respondents say they "have been reading about/studying" CIM; another 6% have attended some kind of industry event or seminar on CIM;
-- BUSINESS CHALLENGE: Only 2% of respondents see "implementing the CIM/Smart Factory concept" as a business challenge;
-- SALES OPPORTUNITY: And only 2% of respondents see "helping customers to understand the CIM/Smart Factory concept" as a sales opportunity;
-- RISING INVESTMENT: The percentage of respondents planning to invest in CIM workflows has risen from 2% to 4% over the last six months;
Eventually, more and more printers will adopt CIM at some level, even if it's just automated prepress workflows or automated press systems. As printers upgrade their equipment, even if it's every 20 years, the equipment they purchase will come standard with the automation required for these workflows to happen. At the same time, printers' staffing will change, becoming increasingly more digital-savvy and more computer-literate. CIM will happen, but its adoption will be slow, especially when you compare it to the exposure and resources dedicated to it in the last 12 months.
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