FujiFilm North America has announced results from qualitative interviews with more than 1,100 customers indicating an encouraging outlook for print service providers despite the Covid-19 impact on many commercial businesses.
Encouragingly, the highest number of responses (32 percent) projected a return to normal business conditions in the July/August 2020 time frame and 24 percent projected a return to normal business conditions in September/October 2020. Overall, a combined total of 72 percent of the customers expressed optimism about a return to normal business conditions by October.
In regard to staffing, the highest number of respondents said staffing levels remained unchanged for 36 percent of respondents, while some accounts reported decreases of between 1 and 26 percent. Some respondents reported retention of staff and utilization of material cutting and sewing capabilities to successfully shift business priorities and produce personal protective equipment to support Covid-19 response. A significant number of customers (54 percent) reported applying for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) or operating loans.
Expanding the variety of production capabilities was key to business continuity plans for print service providers, as the reported production volume impact from Covid-19 was significant, with 83 percent of the respondents reporting declines in production volume up to 40 percent or more since the start of the pandemic. This statistic excludes businesses deemed essential during the shutdown, including news and print media, whose performance remained flat during this time.
Across segments, despite lower order intake in April, there has been a significant increase in demand for consumable products in May that correlate closely with states re-opening and an increased level of business activity across the country.
‘The customer data points have provided us with quite a bit of insight into the market and the individual situations at each customer,’ said Todd Zimmerman, division president, graphic systems division, at FujiFilm North America Corporation. ‘This has helped us with our production planning to be sure we have inventory available as markets recover. We are as anxious as our customers for a return to more normal business conditions.’