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Supplier & Service Provider Priorities

11 Aug, 2008 By: Brenda Kai imageSource

Supplier & Service Provider Priorities

An EDSF Study, produced in collaboration with InfoTrends and the Rochester
Institute of Technology, looks at the Perceptions, Existing Priorities and
Future Plans of Those in the Print-for-Pay Business and Those Who Supply the

As many organizations consider their strategic efforts throughout 2008 and
beyond, analysis from a recent EDSF study may be of interest. The report,
"Supplier and Service Provider Priorities: 2007 Survey Results,” seeks to
evaluate and understand the priorities and plans of print-for-pay service
providers. In addition, the study strives to obtain an understanding of how the
views of suppliers and print providers align, and considers how these views
change over time.

The new paper, an annual research study, is a collaboration between
InfoTrends, a worldwide market research and strategic consulting firm for the
digital imaging and document solutions industry, and the Rochester Institute of
Technology’s School of Print Media. The survey results and analysis is available
as a free PDF download at the EDSF Web site:

This survey builds on previous industry trend studies completed in 2005 &
2006 by InfoTrends and EDSF to gauge the current state and future direction of
the print-for-pay market. To evaluate the industry, InfoTrends conducted a
Web-based survey with  suppliers to the print-for-pay market and print-for-pay
providers. The free report analyzes the print provider responses and then the
supplier responses (with in-depth comparisons of the two groups in this
category). Analysis of these comparisons suggests where the supplier market and
the print provider market need to better understand each other. Overall, this
study is relevant to print providers, providers of products and services to the
print-for-pay community, and end-users who purchase print.

Key Survey Findings

Although printers remained optimistic in this year’s study, that optimism
did not reach their responses when they were asked about critical skill needs
and areas they have targeted for growth. Shrinking revenue, increased costs and
the need for increased skills in areas critical to their success (e.g.,
marketing and technology) continue to be primary concerns. Here are some
highlights of the key findings.

1. Print providers remain optimistic that their gross income will
continue to increase, although they recognize that costs will rise at a faster
rate than prices paid to them for their products and services. Similar optimism
was reported in ‘05 & ‘06.

2. Among the print providers surveyed, Adobe PDF continues to be the
most common print language, and companies continue to retain a high level of use
and interest in a PDF-enabled workflow.

3. The skill set gap is recognized by print providers, who list skills
in programming, sales, marketing and data preparation as the areas where current
employees have the weakest skills to adequately support the overall direction of
the company.

4. A total of 27.8 percent of respondents want their current press
employees to acquire more technical skills, with 41.8 percent wanting future
employees to have more industry-specific skills. This hints at the reason behind
the perceived technical skill set gap of current employees.

5. Over 73.1 percent of print respondents were unhappy with the skill
sets that they have been seeing from the marketplace pool of potential
employees. The majority of these (41.8 percent) want future employees with more
industry-specific skills.

For the complete EDSF report, “Supplier and Service Provider Priorities: 2007
Survey Results,” visit www.edsf.org and click
“Research and  Publications” for the EDSF Industry Library. The report is listed
under “EDSF White Papers.” Many other research reports on a variety of industry
topics and trends are also avaialable from EDSF and posted at the site.

Brenda Kai is the EDSF executive director. EDSF is a charitable foundation
dedicated to preparing the next generation of professionals. EDSF supports the
industry’s future by granting scholarships to students in support of their
academic careers, by providing research grants to colleges and universities, by
building awareness about industry careers, and by recognizing innovative
educators and educational programs. The research paper discussed in this article
was made possible through a research grant provided by EDSF to the Rochester
Institute of Technology. Questions? E-mail

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