Will Printing Decrease?
Many in the industry are wondering if printing will decrease over the long-term. I think most believe they know the answer. I came from the manufacturing industry where we sold software that facilitated a decrease in centralized printing. We sold document distribution software that was in many ways similar to planroom software. We allowed end users (or document consumers) in the manufacturing plant to get web browser access to engineering content. Once they had access to this information they could view it online, order prints from the central printroom or download and print it. Once our software was installed the traditional processes of ordering prints from the printroom and "pushing" physical engineering drawings to the document consumers decreased substantially almost immediately. This caused a dramatic drop in the amount of printing being done in the central printroom. So the printing decreased? Not exactly.
Once the document consumers had more efficient access to the content they were more likely to print it. There were times when a document consumer just needed to look up a dimension. In this case they didn't print the drawings. If they needed the document to do work they printed it. In fact they printed it, used it, and threw it away. If they needed the same document the next day they printed it again. We didn't collect exact statistics on whether the net printing decreased or increased, but there were some undeniable facts:
- Centralized printing decreased dramatically
- Printing on demand increased dramatically (it was non-existent before)
The same trend is happening in the construction market right this minute. Are you positioned on the right side of this shift?