IOP: These three top topics are shaping the online print industry

Steffen Tomasi, CEO of Flyerline Schweiz AG and member of the Initiative Online Print e.V., gave valuable insights into his company as a speaker on stage at the Online Print Symposium 2024.
Photo: Nadja von Prümmer

Many members of the Initiative Online Print e.V. (IOP) attend the annual Online Print Symposium in Munich to learn about and exchange information on trending topics in the online print industry. This year, numerous presentations were influenced by artificial intelligence – this can also be seen in the top three insights of the year identified by the members of the IOP.

Even though the members of the Initiative Online Print meet regularly for internal association conferences, the Online Print Symposium is an additional, fixed date on most of their calendars. This is because the two-day event not only offers high-quality presentations on current topics at the cutting edge of the industry but also provides ample opportunities for networking and idea exchange. This year, IOP members at the industry event identified these three trending topics in particular:

1. Focus: Customer

    “The bait must taste good to the fish, not the fisherman” – this is exactly what decision-makers and print entrepreneurs should keep in mind at all times. Thanks to the large number of online print offers on the Internet and the simple handling of the shops, customers can freely decide at any time where they want to have something produced – the competition is always just a click away. What’s more, quality and price are no longer the only decisive factors when choosing the right printer. Speed, sustainability, a modern appearance, the variety of products on offer and customer service are also taken into account when making a decision. “The customer is king” has rarely been as true as it is today. Only those who have an offer that meets genuine demand and who stay attuned to their customers’ needs can thrive amidst digital transformation. “Adapt or perish is the motto, because if you don’t move with the times, you’ll be gone in no time,” said Steffen Tomasi, founder and CEO of Flyerline Schweiz AG and member of the Initiative Online Print, on stage at this year’s OPS, summarising his presentation.

    2. Artificial Intelligence

    Artificial intelligence is a versatile tool. However, the prerequisite for meaningful use is in the mindset of the company, as decision-makers must not only recognise the potential of this tool, but also be prepared to train AI to meet their own needs. The optimisation of operational processes, enhanced productivity, accelerated workflows, better planning and calculations, and AI-supported customer interactions are just a few examples of how artificial intelligence can provide useful support amid a shortage of skilled workers. With a bit of courage to embrace change, a company can achieve and propel significant progress forward by acknowledging the need for constant adaptation to the demands of the times.

    3. Mass Customization

    Mass customisation is nothing new in the online print industry, but the topic is rapidly gaining in importance due to changing society and the emergence of the so-called “creator economy”. The era of mass production has come to an end, with value, sustainability, and above all, individualisation emerging as the most crucial customer requirements today. With print-on-demand and a wide range of personalisation and customisation options, a company can set itself apart from the competition and position itself for the future.

    Ulrich Schätzl, member of the IOP Board, summarises the status quo of the online print industry as follows: “It won’t work without continuous progress. If you don’t realise this, you won’t be able to hold your own in the online print industry, let alone develop further. And so, it must become the duty of every management team to regularly scrutinise and question itself. Only those who continually take a critical look at their chosen paths and strategies can recognise what can and must be optimised.”

    Roland Keppler, CEO of Onlineprinters GmbH and also a member of the IOP Board, adds: “Artificial intelligence can be a very powerful tool if you learn how to use it correctly from the outset. Of course, it also involves risks, but one thing is clear: AI is not a trend that will pass by, but a trend that is here to stay. So artificial intelligence should be recognised as an opportunity to be seized.”

    Log in now:

    Jetzt einloggen: