Colorless: The Day Businesses Stopped Printing in Color
Everyone in business is quite good with their mobile devices and laptops. When was the last time you needed to print out a color pie chart?
As the office workers corralled around the conference table, one thing was quickly apparent no one had a stack of paper to hand the attendees; there were no printouts of colored pie charts, graphics or product broachers.
So, how would the sales vice president emphasize how great the sales team did, without the colored graph?
Oh, that’s right, the sales VP put up a remarkable story on the 90-inch glass panel hanging on the wall and emailed the attendees the link to the digital media after the meeting.
The aspirations in business color printing never arrived and, unfortunately, will never come to be. The business processes for delivering color content have evolved so far off the printed page that printing this content now hinders productivity.
More and more documents are staying behind glass and printed pages are a significant interruption in business applications.
Over the last decade, the color printer and color MFP have significantly evolved, and this evolution in printing color has even brought the cost of printed output to extremely low levels compared to just a few years ago. However, the printed color page has never aligned in cost with the black and white (monochrome) output. Realistically, it never will.
In today’s business environment, why would print equipment end-users pay for color output when that output cost is nothing when left behind glass?
All reading this agree that the printed page is not the desired outcome of those printing the page; the desired outcome is the consumption of the information on the paper.
In our highly technological advancing world, those needing to consume information realize the ease, mobility, and tremendous benefits of keeping information digital, keeping and consuming information behind glass.
If anyone in the print equipment and services industry looked at the data, they would quickly see that business color output has remained below 20% of total output even as monochrome printed pages continue declining.
In business printing applications, end-users are not replacing monochrome output with color output. Instead, end-users are replacing the need to read printed output with the ability to consume information behind glass digitally.
When the color printer and color MFP were born decades ago, today’s technologies were unimaginable. Unfortunately, as in most disrupted industries, the actors who participate in the old way are reluctant to comprehend the real threats of the innovative methods, new approaches designed to eliminate the approaches of the old way.
The advancements in managing, consuming, and deleting information behind glass have far exceeded the outdated processes of hard copy paper.
Those in the supply business of color MFPs and color desktop printing were always betting on the billions of business monochrome pages converting to color. Unfortunately, that reality has faded, and instead of monochrome output converting to color output, the trend is for all output is a transition to being behind glass.
The print equipment, supplies, and services industry delivering to business end-users will not see a migration from one device type to another print device type. The migration they are now participating in eliminates the device and allows business end-users to achieve their outcomes while keeping the information in the digital landscape behind glass.
The business’s desired outcome is the ability to consume information, not the printed page. So, the question which business leaders will ask more frequently will be, why are we still using processes which cause the need to print this?
There has been an expectation that with COVID-19 forcing more to work and study from home there would be an increase in the use of smaller color devices. However, the extremely low volumes will not warrant profitability to those organizations servicing businesses. The fantasies regarding home office printing have all been proven wrong.
Hopefully, the actors servicing business print are past chasing that stillness.
There will have to be significant consolidation in the supplies industry, both OEM supply manufacturers and alternative manufacturers, i.e., cartridge remanufacturers and non-OEM new build manufacturers.
I believe that businesses will never produce more than 20% color printed output in business applications. However, please keep in mind that 20% will continue to be a declining number (in terms of units) as the 80% monochrome output is also in a continuous decline. I also believe that the monochrome business MFP will not be replaced with a color output MFPs in the way many in the industry once hoped.
The printer supply industry focused on the business output must focus on cost improvements and consolidation. Those who fool themselves that business applications will convert from monochrome output to color output are foolishly chasing a declining number.
None of the industry’s actors want to face innovative disruptions designed to eliminate their value. Remember, the end-users of all industries are only participating with that industry to reach the desired outcome.
When organizations or industries mistake their product or their services as the desired outcome of those they serve, they will soon understand that they were just a temporary means for their customers to achieve that desired outcome.
“Disruptions destroy those who mistake ‘temporary’ for ‘permanent’.”
I will remind you, as I always do as I wind up, that status quo is the killer of all that will be invented. Don’t get stuck in the status quo.
Have you found this article, “Colorless: The Day Businesses Stopped Printing in Color” helpful?
Ray Stasieczko is a forward-thinking and often controversial writer and speaker. You may not want to agree with everything he says, but you are compelled to read and listen. To do otherwise could spell doom.
He has called the imaging channel home for nearly 30 years and served in various roles and has contributed nearly 100 articles to the industry’s publications. Ray has also spoken at the RT Media Summits in Cairo, South America and China. You can contact him and watch him on LinkedIn.
Read Ray’s other blogs:
- Colorless: The Day Businesses Stopped Printing in Color
- Is the Green Missing in HP Subscriptions? Join the conversation at LinkedIn
- Is A3 Market Share Relevant to Konica Minolta’s Future? NO
- The HP Trojan Horse to Capture Your Customers
- Xerox: Between the Digital and Physical Worlds
- ‘Five Years From Now’ Showed Up Early
- Meeting Standards Means Staying Relevant
- Thankfully My Doctor Wrote a Prescription Not My Obituary
- Business Opportunities Offered by this Pandemic
- That’s a Lot of Toner For a Market in Decline
- The Toner Wars Between Cartridge Suppliers
- When Will HP Write the Check to Xerox?
- The Imaging Channel is Not Alone in Needing Diversification
- Making Your Printer Consumables Business Profitable
- Are Acquisitions the Feel-good Drug in a Declining Market?
- Recognizing Disruption as a Creator and not a Competitor
- Managed Print Services is Not the Door to Managed IT Services