Changes in the sky of 2022 printing business

The changes in the life of an adolescent should help us understand the rapid changes we see in the world around us today. They say change is the only constant but even though we all have gone through adolescence it is still normal to resist the changes we see in and around our world today, some are of the opinion that covid-19 came to increase the pace of mental, social, medical and attitudinal changes while others felt the world needed a slowdown, on whichever side of the divide, we however can’t deny that change has come to stay. Permit me to liken the effect of the pandemic to a stage play whose producer has discarded the old script for a new one but the cast have not had enough time to rehearse, they are currently fitting the new script into the “brain map” of the old one. The confusion and disaster needs to be cleared by first ensuring that as many people in your team as possible see and visualize the new expectations and building or providing a platform to help perform the new role on a new stage with a new script.

For instance, we all know that we can’t ask for money from my dad at the beginning of the month, as a child I didn’t understand why “old soja” – as we popularly call my father – will only part with money after the fifth of every month. Rarely have I seen this rule being broken, dad was extremely disciplined and he instilled this on whoever was close to him. So unless it’s a matter of life and death we know better than going to him for request pertaining to money before the fifth day of any month. I later understood what was going on, he will not break his investment and only took from the yield after maturity from the sixth day of every month.

In 1980, Federal funds, effective rate was 13.35% and as at 2002 went as low as 1.67%, I am not sure anyone monitors this today though, even investment in treasury bills was between 10.85 and 11.39% in the 80’and as little as 2.5% in 2021, let’s not even talk about fixed deposits which was a very lucrative money market investment decades back and has become so unpopular today. Smart people in those days live on the yield of their investments but life has so changed… Today, smart people are positioning to attract “smart money”.

Smart money are funds under the control of institutional investors, central banks, market mavens (a slang term used to describe an investor “who is in-the-know”) and other financial individuals and entity. In other words people are looking for those who have become institution in the art of multiplying money and if you are that person you will attract smart money. There are some gamblers with a history of success and when we have people who bet on them this is similar to smart money. In the 80’s treasury bills, and fixed deposits served as smart money for a lot of those with free funds. This concept has shifted and those who will attract smart money will be immensely knowledgeable about a trade or have valid insider information or better still have both. Those who will change the face of printing in 2022 will have access to smart money by virtue of their track record over the years. Their knowledge will truly become their power!

Similarly, the leadership pressure of today has also totally changed from what it was a few years back, gone are the days when once a leader is visionary and can add a bit of charisma like waiving the wand he succeeds, our sign of the end time is when we see great leaders of the industry battling with something as small as retaining their good staffs, we are battling many things today and it is just what it is; I wasn’t too young when my grandfather’s only source of information was his transistor radio, years after I observed my father depending on the transistor radio, the TV set and the daily newspaper as his own source of information but today even the dailies depend on the social media for breaking news. You can imagine if leadership refuse to adopt the spirit of the moment disaster will definitely be inevitable. Today’s leaders have a different kind of pressure with the trivial ones like being relevant, so they intentionally build a trail on social media and ensuring they keep a good image in the midst of the bad side of social media – abuse, bullying et la. The more serious task of performing and at the same time leading a transformation is one to really worry about in this New Year. Today’s leader must deliver impressive short term results despite the super radical shifts in customer needs and expectations, to achieve this he is balancing where (online, offline or hybrid) and how (online, offline or hybrid) his staffs choose to align with his vision for the job and the organization, with the now unpredictable and lousy supply chain and the reality that every price in Nigeria has gone more than double, meaning all cost of sale has gone up yet the end users power to purchase the products have been greatly reduced. Before you start thinking that the challenge of leadership are suddenly more intense, you should be quick to remember that today’s leaders must simultaneously transform while sustaining the existing, most companies future have changed and leadership must reimagine the future of their organizations share in the marketplace of the near future and reinvent or reposition the companies culture and strategies to win that fast approaching future. The 2022 prepress outfit for instance will no longer survive by just making and selling CTP/CTCP plates, the new prepress outfit must become and have the mindset of a content provider and event manager for businesses that require prints. Recall that in 2021 I predicted that large format machines will be converted to textile printing machines, this didn’t happen but we saw conversion of DX5 to XP600 print heads which in my opinion is the beginning of greater things, technical people must be encouraged in 2022 to help us bring home all they have learnt globally.

2022 leaders will have to up their game in motivating and empowering their “rank and files”, introducing activities that will reduce anxiety, the team will need to invest more time so they must be helped to enjoy the time invested, otherwise leaders will become even more inefficient in time management, meanwhile you need to be top on time management to create time to hatch the future which is the definer of your success this year. Let it be clear that you need your mind intact to solve problems that your print shop has not encountered before, your role will continue to feel bigger than you and extremely harder to manage on a daily basis. We have entered a new level of unusual times and yes you need tremendous strength and a very positive state of mind to keep up. So you might want to consider creating time for exercise and relaxation.

Imagine yourself becoming a master at attracting smart money in an economy where funds have become scarce and scary, and positioning as that leader who can craft the future of a printing industry where bloggers are still reducing newspaper readership, government of countries who are major prints buyer going paperless, smart classrooms taking over our conventional learning modes, an industry where we haven’t seen the end of supply chain disruption, and politics overriding sober reflection and deep love for humane ways of using our professional vehicle to drive changes that will benefit all of us.

That printing business will be profitable again is a task that must start with you. In fact your job must become your identity, and my job my identity. Someone might ask “why is my identity important this year”? Those who watched Romeo and Juliet must be familiar with William Shakespeare saying “that which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet”.

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