In-plant Business Conditions During COVID-19
COVID-19 has wreaked havoc on the in-plant industry. In-house printing facilities were temporarily shut down, revenue dropped considerably, employees were laid off, and numerous workers have tested positive for COVID-19.
But throughout the past year, the resilience of in-plants has been admirable. They have taken advantage of opportunities created by the pandemic, added services, adapted production processes to incorporate social distancing, and continued to serve their parent organizations — often in ways they had not done previously.
New research by In-plant Impressions shows the impact of the pandemic on the in-plant industry. The study, which drew 123 qualified in-plant responses from a range of industries, evaluated revenue trends, safety procedures, infection rates, and downtime shop improvement activities. It examined customer demand trends by individual print applications and ancillary services to find out which areas are generating growth.
Overall, nearly three-quarters of respondents say their in-plant’s sales have decreased since mid-March 2020. Survey respondents report that average annual revenue from 2019 to 2020 dropped 7.9%. Layoffs and furloughs decreased the in-plant workforce by 10.6%. And while there is some optimism from managers that better times are coming — 52% expect business conditions in their in-plant to improve over the next three months — this is tempered by the reality that sales are trending downward for 55% of respondents, while 58% say the amount of work their shops are getting is also continuing to drop.
At the same time, 52% of in-plants report hours worked by employees have mostly held steady, and for 15%, they have increased. Though nearly 70% say their staff size is not changing, 29% still anticipate their employee count will decrease.
The early days of the lockdown were scary for everyone. Many in-plants were not considered “essential” and were compelled to shut down. Overall, 38% fell into this category. Some stayed closed for more than a month. Though almost all eventually reopened, they did so with many changes in place.
Numerous managers and staff now work remotely; some are split into teams that work different hours; and some in-plants are now run entirely by skeleton crews. Currently about 7% of managers say they are working remotely full time, and another 14% say they work from home most days. Fifty-five percent say some of their employees now work remotely.
Though COVID-19 has sickened a number of in-plant managers and their staffs, forcing them to quarantine and impacting production, it could have been much worse. Overall, 13% of managers have tested positive and 36% of respondents’ in-plants have had employees contract COVID-19. Almost 30% had several employees out on quarantine at the same time, and 5% of in-plants had to shut down temporarily due to COVID exposure.
Our full report details safety strategies in-plants have employed to keep their staffs safe, services and applications that have managed to do well during the pandemic, the impact of insourcing during the business slowdown, how managers are keeping in touch with customers in a time of social distancing, and managers’ thoughts on traveling to industry events later in the year.
Download the report, In-plant Business Conditions During COVID-19, at this link: