17 June 2020

Fujifilm customer interviews show optimistic prospects for print

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Fujifilm North America, Graphic Systems Division, announced results from qualitative interviews with more than 1,100 customers across the US indicating an encouraging outlook for print service providers (PSPs) despite the recent Covid-19 impact on many commercial businesses. The company interviewed customers from the commercial, sign and display, and packaging segments from April 15 to May 15, 2020.

According to the company, the highest number of responses (32 percent) projected a return to normal business conditions in the July/August 2020 time frame and 24 percent projected a return to normal business conditions in September/October 2020. Overall, a combined total of 72 percent of the customers expressed optimism about a return to normal business conditions by October. 

 

In regard to staffing, the highest number of respondents said that staffing levels remained unchanged for 36 percent of respondents, while a few reported decreases of between 1 percent and 26 percent. Some respondents reported retention of staff and utilization of material cutting and sewing capabilities to successfully shift business priorities and produce personal protective equipment (PPE) to support Covid-19 response. More than half of customers (54 percent) reported applying for Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) or operating loans.  

 

Expanding the variety of production capabilities was key to business continuity plans for PSPs, as the reported production volume impact from Covid-19 was significant, with 83 percent of the respondents reporting declines in production volume up to 40 percent or more since the start of the pandemic. This statistic excludes businesses deemed essential during the shutdown, including news/print media, whose performance remained flat during this time.   

 

Across segments, despite lower order intake in April, there has been a significant increase in demand for consumable products in May that correlate closely with states re-opening and an increased level of business activity across the country. 

 

‘The customer data points have provided us with quite a bit of insight into the market and the individual situations at each customer,’ said Todd Zimmerman, division president, Fujifilm North America, Graphic Systems Division. ‘This has helped us with our production planning to be sure we have inventory available as markets recover. We are as anxious as our customers for a return to more normal business conditions.’ 

 

Methodology behind the customer questionnaire

 

Fujifilm North America, Graphic Systems Division interviewed its PSP customers from the commercial, sign and display, and packaging segments. Since many operations today serve more than one market, and do more than one type of printing, the customer interviews uncovered insights regarding each of the three market segments. The interviews were conducted between April 15 and May 15, 2020, with Fujifilm Graphic Systems customers across the United States. The majority of the interviews were conducted with companies that defined themselves as commercial printers followed by sign and display printers and packaging printers.

 

Interviews with customers were centered on four main topic - changes in production volume, changes in staffing levels, applications for government Paycheck Protection Program assistance or other operating loans and projections regarding a return to normal business conditions.

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