Looking Ahead to 2021 for the Print Industry

Let’s face it, 2020 has been a tough year. So, will 2021 be better? Is the print industry over with coronavirus? And how does this impact your organization or government agency?

It’s hard to come up with accurate business projections for 2021. Nobody would have guessed at the end of 2019 that 2020 would be such a game-changer for everyone globally. Just last year at this time we were thinking of Thanksgiving dinner and not worrying about a pandemic. COVID-19 has changed everything. Who knows when we will entirely get back to normal or if this is the new normal.

Either way, it is a safe bet that 2021 will probably be a bit tumultuous or at least uncertain. So let’s look at trends and changes in the print industry. What do reopening businesses mean for the print industry? What about government jobs?

Digital Transformation is Already Here with Remote Work

The absolute, number one trend going into 2021 for all professionals is remote work. Remote work is continuing to grow. This impacts all types of business and government agencies, which are making adjustments to work around this.

There are two main aspects of how this impacts a government worker on a practical level. One, working from home brings with it unique challenges. For example, let’s say that an agency has a project to work on, and the collaboration was previously done in person, with printed documents being shared by hand.

Now, people who might meet in person are meeting via video conferencing. The documents that would have been printed on-site are now either read on a computer screen or printed out at home.

With sensitive government documents, protocols must be put into place to handle this. Are documents being sent securely? Are home printers provided by the agency (and thus overseen remotely)?

A lot of these issues can be handled through technology solutions such as document management, which provides secure access to files over the cloud, and managed print solutions, which can provide that secure remote management of the printer.

Going Green in 2021

Despite the coronavirus pandemic dominating much of the landscape, many business experts are predicting that going green will be big in 2021. This has an impact on print in a variety of ways – government agencies in particular have often pledged low or zero waste policies.

So, once again, this is where digital transformation comes into play. Files that do not need to be printed may be better kept online and digital. What is printed needs to be printed on a needed basis. Thus, managed print services and remote printer fleet management will be used to monitor and sometimes restrict printing. (Unfortunately, remote workers sometimes tend to use organizational printers for home printing use, but this can be easily curtailed with managed print solutions.)

Handling Reopening in 2021

It is hard to say what the ultimate path of COVID-19 will be. We may continue to see waves where we have temporary lockdowns or at least restrictions and then multiple reopenings. When these reopenings happen, printing will come into play more as people visit government buildings to handle things like driver's licenses, permits, and other government needs.

When this happens, government agencies will need to have signs directing people on social distancing and other coronavirus safety guidelines. Here is where having onsite wide-format printers can help, so that agencies can quickly print up posters and banners as needed without having to hire out every piece of signage to the local print shop.

This is perhaps not so great news for local print shops, but it does mean that print in and of itself is not going to go away any time soon. While some government agencies may be turning to digital signage as another means of communication, print signs will still be needed and won’t go anywhere in 2021.

Document Management and Managed Print Solutions Are Key in 2021

If you haven’t gone more digital yet, now is the time as we head towards 2021. Document management solutions are a good place to start. Virginia Business Systems is an expert in document management services as well as managed print solutions for businesses, schools, and government agencies. We know how to meet regulatory compliance and keep organizations functioning smoothly. And this will be important in 2021, since we may be in for another rough ride (though hopefully not!).

Virginia Business Systems offers expert document management services and print solutions for government agencies. Contact us today for a quote!

November 9th 2020