In-plants Boldly Go Where No In-plant Has Gone Before
As the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, the in-plant printing industry, and the supporting workforce contained within it, are experiencing a colossal paradigm shift. The needs of the industry have changed as in-plants try to respond to an increasingly diminished demand for traditionally printed media from within their parent organizations. As a result, in-plant enterprises (see what we did there?) are expanding into multiple auxiliary services that include grand-format printing, web development, mobile app design and development, packaging, functional imaging, and 3D printing, to name just a few.
AT PRINT 17, Cal Poly’s Ken Macro set out on the mission of “Finding the In-plant on the USS Enterprise.” His session provided in-plants with a look into the future, prompting discussion on the relevance of in-plant printing services as they (may) pertain to the USS Enterprise.
The needs of the workforce have changed, and immersed in a computer-centric world, the generation of today (Generation Z) places little value in obtaining skills that are manual and/or analog. Hence, printing organizations are challenged by finding skilled employees, and thus having to train them from within in order to keep their mechanical presses in operation. As a result, educational institutions have revised their curricula to respond to this need by increasing offerings in cross-media technologies that include web design, smartphone application creation, 3D graphics, and animation. Will in-plants need to rethink their strategic positioning within their parent organizations?
As in-plant printing enterprises brace for the change, inevitably, the end result will require everyone to look up into the sky and consider what role will it play on the Starship Enterprise.
“This was a fun and thoughtful seminar on current, trending, and future technologies such as 3D printing, printed electronics, augmented reality, interactive print and other applications that will influence the future of the in-plant printer,” says Macro.