In packaging print, it is Flexo printers who are slowing down digital adoption, and the reason is, because I believe they do not want to change. Simple.
It is a misnomer to think that humans like change. We don't. It is inconvenient. It upsets the order of doing things and makes life unpredictable. It makes life challenging. In actual fact humans crave conformity. The status quo.
In my opinion, it is this very fact that is holding back digital print adoption on a much wider scale, particularly in packaging.
Don't get me wrong, marginal gain in performance can make a big difference, and the volumes in packaging must be so gargantuan, your next Flexo machine will make sense if you have the demand to fill it, as you will see a return on investment quite quickly and you will be able to predict it.
But the truth is that sales battles between brands are taking place on the shop floor. The huge change in how we buy and what we buy is now more fluid. We have more choice and we make decisions later, whilst we are on the shop floor.
So packaging is not just a branding and identification exercise. It is a potent sales influencer. Special officers, speedy change, local relevance and production plus shorter stock inventory all play into digital's hands.
Anything that enhances performance is of interest to the brands and retailers. Fact.
And digital print, for certain aspects of packaging is now good enough, and fast enough, to provide new production options for retailers and FMCG brands.
So, in my opinion, it is the industry, namely flexo printers, who are holding back change. But it will be at their risk to do so. Because brands want digital, and it is only a matter of time before digital starts playing a bigger role in packaging printing. Digital has tipped into the mainstream in other printing sectors, so Flexo printers need to wake up and smell the coffee as they are missing out on a superb opportunity.
Change will occur, whether they are part of it or not. And is likely that for packaging it will not replace, it will provide added value.
So get the coffee on!