European business leaders have identified new printing technologies as key enablers of agility and innovation. According to a new study commissioned by Ricoh Europe, the majority of the 3,150 decision makers surveyed say agility (77%) and innovation (69%) benefits are key investment drivers for new printing technologies.
These findings show that new forms of printing have become crucial components of business leaders' strategies for success. The research also shows that 69% think printing will unlock revenue and 67% believe it will provide a source of competitive differentiation. These leaders back up this belief with financial commitment: 51% have already invested in new forms of printing with a further 36% planning to do so in the next five years.
David Mills, CEO of Ricoh Europe, says: "The refrain that "print is dead" is utterly misguided. New printing technologies are helping businesses fundamentally transform their operations. In healthcare, pharmaceutical companies are manufacturing 3D printed prosthetic limbs tailored to specific patients. In retail, vendors are manufacturing shoes and printing unique designs on demand, reducing stock wastage. In education, students can buy personalised textbooks, reducing costs and improving learning."
Businesses are prioritising printing technologies in areas that directly improve the experience for their customers. Marketing (79%), product development (79%), and manufacturing (76%) departments have so far received the most investment from business leaders. Similarly, the need for faster product development (80%) and the ability to localise manufacturing closer to the end user (69%) have driven investment in additive manufacturing, catering for consumer demands for speed and personalisation.
Mills adds: "New printing technologies are enabling businesses to deepen their relationships with customers, respond quicker to their expectations and offer a more personalised experience. It is telling that 78% of those questioned think printing is integral to maintaining customers' trust. These results show that without the dynamic, personal approach that new printing technologies allow, businesses will struggle to remain competitive in the future."