Entanglement – The feedback from open letter to all young people in the printing industry in Nigeria as you #endsars.

Entanglement was the word that came to mind while listening to the concerns of some young people in response to my last publication where I made an open letter to our industry young generation. Before I continue I will like to thank those who came back engaging me – I truly feel honoured, and will like to use the opportunity to also encourage those who haven’t to say it’s your time to #Soro Soke – Speak up!

From the many feedbacks, I could pick out a few things like; young people are frustrated that they are not trusted and have been labelled “lazy” while in the real sense they haven’t been given a chance. I like the way Carl Lomer Abia puts it “Chances are anywhere else; all you need to do is to grab them, because they don’t always show up”. By the way this is coming from a young graphics artist and web designer in Cebu City, Philippines. So I will say no one will give you a chance, you have to prove yourself anyhow!

Coming out strong with this feedback is that young people don’t want to be like what they presently see. Well, I am also confused but believe what they are saying is that they want to do things their own way, and this is the reason I am writing this piece.

In my observation I can clearly hear entanglement, that state of being twisted together or entwine into a confusing mass – we can easily see this once an insect gets trapped in the web of a spider. Or for those on the social media, a #entanglement joke went viral very recently but never mind if you didn’t get it – laugh!

There is clearly a clash or entanglement in thinking, which I will like to relate to today’s reality. The teachers and trainers of this younger ones are from the industrial age, where setting up was hard work and efficiency with relationship very hierarchical in nature, compared to the digital age where set up is very opportunistic in nature, comes by learning to master trial by error and relationship is purely internet worked. Or how do we explain the setup of pay stack and the about $200m acquisition currently happening?

Let’s do a bit of comparing.

1. Now the Industrial age is used to an economic environment that is certain with very minimal changes but the digital age is highly volatile and uncertain so a high level of dynamism must come to play.

2. The industrial age thrived on traditional skills and products are mass produced, but the digital age is ran by e-skills and products are purely mass customized. To the industrial age working in the digital is complex and to the digital age the simple can be easily copied.

3. Industrial age printing businesses are value based on the “law of scarcity” but on the “law of abundance” in the digital age.

4. The assets are very tangible with the industrial age but absolutely intangible with the digital age, they play down the tangible assets even when they exist.

5. The Digital age cannot afford to follow the trend of simple products and processes of the digital age but rather embrace value added processes and products to differentiate.

The entanglement is conventional and digital, the new challenge is to bring out the best of both world. We have to take some caution however to ensure we birth a hybrid relationship based on mentorship, trust and innovation.

I have friends in the industry who came in to make sense of the logistics and ecommerce part of the value chain of the printing business but are finding it so difficult because the cycle of fast, consistent and reliable production of printed materials cannot be totally in sync with their ecommerce demands, their frustration has led them into buying printing equipment to gain absolute control. I don’t know but suspect that would have caused them much more frustration. In my opinion, printers must be left to print while the other value chain help in bringing out the best of prints which in turn increases patronage for printers rather than this need based chain competing with the printers they plan out to serve. Another friend totally computerized his ordering system so that from once the print order is taken and entered on the customer relations management (CRM) software the client gets a text message and this messages drop as the print job gets into various stages. For example, once the plates are made, customer gets a text message, when printing starts he gets another, and the final message saying he can pick up arrives once the job is completed. As effective as the system would have projected the company, it was met with some frustration because it takes a different mindset to operate in the digital age.

Many print shop can do better with a fusion. Learning from nature, no bloodline is replaced immediately, as white blood cell ages, new ones are being built and interestingly in larger numbers, even though they are inactive but they will be needed to fight for the body against infection in the near future, so the conventional age needs to create a platform to engage and mentor the digital age for the sake of the future of the printing industry.

Like the proverbial cock landing on a dangling rope as long as the rope doesn’t feel the pain the cock will be alright last last… I promise to remain on the case of both generations as we explore ways to bring out the best of both generation.

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