Printer Supplies Opportunities Post COVID-19

Printer Supplies Opportunities Post COVID-19

Printer Supplies Opportunities Post COVID-19

Printer Supplies Opportunities Post COVID-19Very rarely does one global event come along and change the landscape. In our lifetime, we have seen regional conflicts, acts of terror, natural disasters, and trade wars which impact some industries, in some geographies, some of the time. Like the 2008 financial crash, this current pandemic crisis is global but is having a deeper impact on our daily lives. At the time of writing, more than 320,000 have died prematurely. Societies and economies all over the world have been shut down.

What does it mean for those of us that depend upon printer supplies to make a living? In the short term, it has crashed the toner cartridge business. But, change always brings opportunity. As Jimmy Dean famously said, “We cannot change the direction of the wind, but we can adjust our sails to reach our destination.” The speed at which many players have switched focus is a source of pride. Inkjet, 3D printer filaments and PPE are booming. While the OEMs try to turn their oil tankers, our industry speedboats have shown how nimble and versatile we can be.

We cannot be like the ostrich that buries its head in the sand. The longer-term impact of this crisis will also deliver new opportunities. On the one hand, we need to recognise it will amplify and accelerate certain pre-existing trends. One of those is a reduction in global page volumes. During the crisis, some remote workers have used inkjet and smaller footprint laser for their hard copies. But others have learned to live without hard copies and will bring their new habits back to the office. On the other hand, we must not forget that our industry was born out of the concept of reuse and has always thrived in recessionary times.

We have observed the decline in emissions caused by COVID-19 which shows the impact of reduced human activity. Clearly, we must get the wheels of the global economy turning again as soon as it is safe to do so. This is essential for wealth creation and distribution to improve the lives of everybody. It does not mean we should allow old habits to return and so follow the previous trajectory.

Some things will never be the same. We must harness this increased acceptance of the change to accelerate the decoupling of economic growth from the consumption of our finite resources. Designing out waste and pollution, prolonging useable lifecycles, and regenerating natural systems should be our focus. These are the pillars of a circular economy.

Our remanufacturers are in pole position to take advantage. We must think of remanufacturing in a wider scope and fully embrace hardware as well as supplies. OEMs will be under more pressure than ever to place new devices. The pushback will come from corporations that will not commit to expensive leases due to economic uncertainty. Such enterprises will demand lower-cost solutions.

Delivering lower cost is in our DNA. Hardware is out there for us to refurbish. In both the transactional and Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) models, we have the edge over OEMs. We prolong lifecycles and keep products and materials in use for longer. And we drive cost reduction.

Post COVID-19, the transactional business model will catch a second wind. In parallel, those corporations that do seek a subscription model will be ripe for one based around remanufactured devices and supplies. The refurbished MFP market will accelerate. By offering bundled hardware and supplies we can capture more revenue and more margin.

For the first time, we even see the emergence of new-build compatible cartridges that are designed to be remanufactured! If we are as successful as I think we can be, we may not be able to rely on OEM empty cartridge availability. Could this be a development that eventually brings together the two tribes, reman versus NBC? An acceleration of industry consolidation is inevitable anyway. It might force that coming together.

*This article is published in our latest edition. Click here to download the whole PDF.


mark dawson rtmworldMark Dawson is RT Imaging World’s Regional Partner for Europe and the Middle East.

He joined the imaging supplies industry in 1987 and has held senior positions with both American and European corporations, including MSE and Clover. He is currently a director with IOP (Internet of Printing BV) whose mission is to help independent resellers find new revenue streams and optimize margins.

Dawson is partnering with RT to bring VIP Expo one day intensive events to Europe and the Middle East. For more information please contact him at <mark@ iopbv.com>

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