PCI Group president Chris Kropac recently presented at the thINK Forum Annual Conference. This event includes the Canon community of inkjet printer customers, solution partners, and print industry experts. The gathering brings together those in the industry to learn, network, and collaborate. While there, Chris shared insights into the transactional print industry during an interview with David Zwang of WhatTheyThink.

As a Canon partner, Chris was excited to see new innovative equipment forthcoming and hear from thought leaders in the field. While many different types of businesses use Canon projects, very few specialize only in transactional print, as we do. Chris explained during the interview, “Everything we touch is mission-critical and relates to security and compliance, and that’s the area where we’re experts.”

Pandemic Shifts to the Industry

David and Chris also discussed the impact of the pandemic on the transactional print industry. “Well, we were providing an essential service, and our workers were essential,” Chris relayed. 

People Still Need Mission-Critical Communications

The fact is that this area of statements, bills, and other regulated communications is that much of them are still paper-based. There was some greater adoption of digital communications during the last few years. However, for things like bills, EOBs (explanation of benefits), patient communications, and many others in this category, consumers want that paper document. 

“We tailor our solutions to what our clients want, which is what their customers want. Much of the time, that’s a paper statement with online payments,” Chris said. 

In-Plants Struggle

Chris also noted that the pandemic caused many in-plants to seek outside help. In addition, many companies that manage their own print and mail services found it no longer fiscally viable due to COVID-19. Shutdowns of operations during lockdowns and the need to restructure resulted in these organizations coming to us. “There’s more outsourcing happening now,” Chris added.

Paper Availability Causing Challenges

Paper markets are not only seeing rising costs; there are availability issues as well for some. Chris explained how this hasn’t been an issue for PCI Group. “We have contracts with our paper vendors that allow us a certain allocation of paper every month. So, we haven’t had any shortages because of our purchasing power.  We’re printing 1.5 billion pieces of paper every year.”

The Transactional Print Industry: What’s Ahead

The conversation ended with looking to the future. Although there’s no crystal ball available, some things remain the same. First and foremost, companies will always need channels to communicate with their customers. That could be print, digital, or both, depending on the end customer preferences. 

“This is what we specialize in, providing those communications, whether digital or hard copy. How we do it is up to them. It’s a service that’s still necessary because everyone still has to receive and pay bills. We’re that cash register for our clients.”

Will print and mail eventually disappear? That’s certainly a possibility in a digital world, but we’ll evolve as our customers do, always ready to deliver accurate, compliant, and high-quality communications.