COVID-19: The Impact on Our Industry and the New Style of Work

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03/16/2020

Randy Dazo

 

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By now, everybody in the world is following the COVID-19 pandemic. The personal and emotional effects it is having on us—not to mention the social, business, and economic ramifications—will be felt for a long time. With all the uncertainty, including how long it will last and what the future will look like, one thing is certain: We will all be affected, business will change, and the world will shift, good or bad, based on this global situation.

 

We are just starting to see these changes as the world pauses. Tradeshows cancelled, face-to-face meetings shifting to virtual, organizations enacting work from home policies, and schools and universities temporarily closing or implementing “distance learning”—there’s already been an impact on both day-to-day business and strategic plans for 2020. This year, to begin with, had its own predictable uncertainties such as the U.S. presidential election, Brexit, and a potential recession around the corner. But when a curveball with the scope of coronavirus is thrown in, all we want is to understand the facts, be agile, and recover as quickly as possible. At the same time, we don’t want to create hysteria and become doom-and-gloomers, because as history has showed us in the print and imaging space, businesses will recuperate, people will begin printing again, and we’ll realize that this is not the end of the world.

 

Keypoint Intelligence has tracked the impact of major events, recessionary periods, and electronic substitution to the cut sheet market for over 20 years. As we know, there is a direct correlation from the economy/employment rate to the fact that people who work in offices print—fewer office workers means fewer devices and lower page volumes. The chart below details this during 9/11, the big recession in 2007, and the mini recession in 2012. From 2012 until today, it’s clear to see the gradual decline in cutsheet demand.

 

 

With companies letting employees work from home and schools implementing distance learning, print will decline as volumes shift from traditional work environments to the home. One mega dealer representative (who is analyzing the situation daily) we spoke with said, “You have to be realistic about what could and will most likely happen, as we are seeing the effects before our eyes. We are predicting a 50 percent reduction in print volumes during this period and we’re keeping that in mind as we strategize on our next steps to recovery.”

 

It may be too soon to think about recovery, but strategic preparedness can help a company’s revenue health regain its form—and beyond—faster than not having a plan for the future. As students return to classes and teachers update their curriculums, new materials may need to be printed to resume continuity. Businesses will resume operations and will want to be better prepared for disasters down the road: That’s why communication and collaboration technologies are so vital, to not only “future proof” an organization for situations like this but also to assist in said organization remaining relevant and transforming business through smart technologies.

 

Lastly, stay informed. Understand the facts and knowledge that will help our community transform into something new. Because of this, Keypoint Intelligence is committed to providing more insight on the effects of the coronavirus. We’ll deliver research and analysis from those who may be most impacted, including the manufacturers, channels, PSPs, and more so that you, our readers, can be educated with real information.

 

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