The '90s In Review - New Trends Aren't So New
A look back at the in-plant world of the early 1990s reveals a lot of the same concerns and predictions that we see today—but a lot of changes, as well.
As one pages through issues of In-Plant Reproductions magazine (now called In-Plant Graphics, for those of you who have been asleep) from 1990, the most interesting observation is how similar the topics are to those covered in 1999.
Even at the beginning of the decade, in-plant managers were worried about facilities management. Like today, IPR urged them to learn their costs by charging back and to justify themselves to management.
And contrary to contemporary thought, the color printing craze is nothing new. Color was on the rise even back then. Our articles predicted that "in-plants will invest in more color units on their presses as color continues to gain momentum in corporate communications."
A 1990 article on emerging trends, in fact, could have been written today. Computer technology was predicted to continue to merge with conventional presses, leading to more automation. Press equipment, we said, would continue to produce images faster and with much more accuracy. Finishing equipment would become even more user-friendly. These are the same "predictions" that experts continue to make today.
But things were different in 1990, as you all know. Digital printers and copiers were not yet as prevalent. In a 1990 article, Steve Kramer of Multigraphics predicted a change in the way materials would be printed: "Laser printers will take over more of the low end, short-run market and the offset printer will concentrate more on short-run color." His predictions seems to have come true.
In other cases, we weren't so right. In January 1991 our "experts" predicted that flexographic printing would make major inroads into the in-plant market in the '90s due to its ease of operation, cheap plates and quality. That didn't quite turn out as they figured it would.