How changing supply chains are creating growth in digital print

01 Dec 2021

The way that we consume in the wake of the pandemic has changed. Australians saw a 32 per cent shift to online shopping over the course of 2020, highlighting the increasing need for instant gratification when it comes to consumer purchases.1 The customer of 2021 now more than ever wants to receive their goods in record time.

Why the shift? 

This shift to e-commerce has seen spending rise, with consumer spend increasing to AU$271 million in the second quarter of 2021 from AU$268 million in the first quarter of 2021.2 Because of this, the manufacturing and printing industries have seen an increase in output for locally produced goods, leading to improved levels of digital transformation and automation, including the growth in some areas of digital print, most notably label production.

Another key contributor to the shifting supply chain model is the challenge organisations are facing when ordering stock from international suppliers. The shift to eCommerce as well as the pandemic has placed increased pressure on global shipping companies. Delays are adding weeks to supply and production, significantly impacting the bottom line and pushing organisations to find local solutions to these supply issues.

These contributing factors have fuelled a shift in the industry to more practical, automated, local, and sustainable ways of printing and producing goods. This shift has been received very positively by consumers who have been passionate about these causes for some time. 

Opportunities for digital print 

The shift from traditional supply chains has provided several opportunities for organisations that have, or are looking to, implement digital printing practices. Just a few of these include: 

Increasing sustainability 
Digital printing has fewer emissions and results in less waste because print runs can be shorter. This means fewer unused plastic prints end up in landfill. Digital printing also uses new and more sustainable materials such as polymer-based inks, while digital presses can print on a range of substrates including recyclable and recycled materials. This means printers can offer consumers a more sustainable choice that can, in most cases, also work out to be more cost effective for the business. The shift in supply chain has also inspired smaller, more biodegradable packaging options to become more widely available, minimising waste and its environmental impact.

  • Creating a more personalised experience with digital designs 
    Organisations know that customer experience is everything. Catering to increasingly discerning consumers means offering personalised experiences. Therefore, being able to offer a personalised experience through digital print is a sure-fire way to convert onlookers to customers. As the marketplace grows more cluttered and businesses need to compete for consumer attention, the finer details such as visually appealing or personalised digital designs on printed goods can significantly impact final purchasing decisions.

  • Seeing the benefits of smart packaging 
    Smart packaging is set to be one of the biggest trends of 2022. Smart packaging can include scannable QR codes and sharable links, be compatible with drone delivery and real-time package tracking, and keep the consumer at the forefront of the entire process from start to end. This is important as consumers continue to become more digitally literate than ever and expect to merge their in-person experience with their online persona.


  • Local guidelines on the labelling of products 
    Manufacturers producing locally must be aware of specific guidelines around the labelling of products. In the food and beverage industry, for example, compliance with local guidelines is essential. Some digital label presses, can now produce food-grade safe toner labels for indirect packaging, giving customers peace of mind in knowing that the packaging adheres to safe food packaging regulations. Flexibility, operability, and quality are some of the reasons why local manufacturers are now considering digital technology to produce labels. 

Digital printing opens a myriad of new possibilities for savvy organisations that want to reduce cost and waste, deliver more impactful projects, and minimise their negative impact on the environment. Because more of Australia’s manufacturing supply chain activities now occur within Australia, printers and manufacturers face a unique opportunity to change the game when it comes to packaging and printing. Digital printing can help them leverage that opportunity and open new revenue streams, as well as streamline existing processes.  

To find out how digital printing can help your business grow in a changing environment, contact the team at Konica Minolta today. 






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