One could describe 2020 so far in many ways, none of them likely flattering. An appropriate saying for this year (so far) could easily come from John Lennon: “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.”
Everyone was making their plans early in the year. And then came COVID -19.
Another saying appropriate for 2020 might come from Colin Powell: “No battle plan ever survives the first encounter with the enemy.” Because of the coronavirus invasion, most organizations across the world have been forced to make some sort of sharp pivot – from discarding all previous forecasts to even changing business models. Many industries are looking for new plans and some kind of vision of the future.
This includes the printer industry. Cartridge World is already a different brand than it was at the beginning of 2020 (change for us is not that unknown, being a company that has survived and thrived through many recessions and industry changes over the last 30 years). Like other printing brands, we are navigating a different printing world — although the vision of the future is pretty solid as we reach close to the halfway point of the year.
What exactly is going to change in printing and how will it affect your work life?
Let’s find out:
The rise of the home office seems like a slam dunk prediction requiring no Oracle from The Matrix or Nostradamus prophecy. Millions of people around the world are currently working remotely.
But will they go back to the office once the pandemic subsides?
According to the analysis of some experts, up to 30 percent of people will work from home multiple days per week in the near future (up from four percent before the pandemic). At the same time, more companies gradually realize that remote work does work. What we’ll likely get soon is a work/home hybrid model.
For those working remotely, the reality is that they will still need help with their printers. Printers will continue to break down and cartridges do not deliver themselves. Therefore, a post COVID – 19 world will require printing brands that can offer tailored services for home offices.
The Fall of the Copy Machine
Right now, many copy machines are gathering dust in empty offices across the land. Meanwhile, the home office with a nimble printer is thriving. What’s more, in both the traditional and the home office (informed by a strained economy), a sense of cost-savings will rule the post COVID – 19 economy.
Although obvious to many, we’ve written in the past how copy machines are suitable only for specific business needs and company sizes. Print-heavy industries like legal and healthcare will still lean on copy machines. For the rest of the business culture, regardless of where the workers are, expect the main imaging machine to be an efficient all-in-one printer.
Expanding Managed Print Services
Before the pandemic, managed print services was a booming vertical, expected to hit $58 billion by 2025. This growth makes sense. Handing over printer service and supplies in a tech-heavy world to a third-party professional allows organizations to focus on work instead of the headache of printer issues. In our case, we even provide the printer at no cost if you just stock your machine with our printer cartridges.
Is this beautiful marriage between printer professionals and organizations over?
Not at all. As we have already done, managed print service providers will have to focus on home offices and business offices looking for smaller multifunction printers. They’ll also have to focus on cleanliness and sterilization (as an example and including CDC recommendations, many of our locations provide wipes and hand sanitizer with each visit). Also, a post COVID – 19 world will focus more on a cleaner, more economical planet. Managed print services supports both office sustainability and better budgets.
An increase in home offices and leaner printing for the rest of 2020 does not mean that printing is less important (as we argued in our article on the myth of the paperless office). In any industry, there will be times for large print jobs or intricate graphics. There will be times too when people travel again or go back to school, which means a physical document will be needed on the fly. And we can’t forget that the usage of smartphones and tablets will continue to grow.
Thus, mobile printing is a perfect printing solution after the pandemic tapers off — from printer kiosks in colleges to printing centers at airports. In fact, research indicates that 83 percent of businesses are interested in adopting mobile printing for their workers.
As with managed print services, expect clean printing locations that might even sell masks or hand sanitizer on the side.
To be honest, these predictions are not too far off from our article that came out late last year: 2020 Printer Technology Trends. The global trend for the last few years has been to leverage smaller printers to save costs, embrace office sustainability, and leverage the latest in technology. COVID -19 has simply accelerated the printer industry trajectory and granted a clearer picture of successful printer products. This reminds of a quote by sci-fi author William Gibson, “The future has arrived — it’s just not evenly distributed yet.”
For the printer industry, the future is evenly distributed now.
Need help with your printing in this “new normal?” Contact us for a solution that meets your needs and budget.