Pandemic hit to printing industry revenue estimated at 53%

PHILIPPINE STAR/ MICHAEL VARCAS

PRINTING INDUSTRY sales declined 53% throughout the pandemic, further dampening demand as companies shift to digital advertising, the Board of Investments (BoI) said.

“Like the other industries, the printing industry was not spared by the COVID-19 pandemic and is still beset by their customers’ shift to digitization, digital transformation of industries,” BoI Executive Director Ma. Corazon H. Dichosa said in a virtual event Monday.

When there are industry orders, Ms. Dichosa said that the industry needs to improve its supply capabilities to remain competitive.

“Our ultimate goal is to improve supply capability so a lot of the printing jobs need not go to China or any other ASEAN country. Our printing industry should be able to service the needs of the other industries and outsourced printing jobs from other countries,” she said.

“Aside from the industry’s heavy reliance on imported inputs like paper, the industry is also challenged by a pervasive lack of formally-trained technical personnel, particularly for machine operations and maintenance.”

The BoI on Monday signed a partnership with the Philippine Trade Training Center and the Philippine Center for Print Excellence Foundation (PCPEF) to use the government’s digital fabrication shared equipment facility to train the printing industry’s workforce. The partnership focuses on skills development, access to technology, and public-private collaboration.

Trade Secretary Ramon M. Lopez in a recorded video message called for investment in the industry’s workers, given their role in print advertising even as digital marketing becomes more popular.

“Another thing we have to consider is that consumable goods and products need to be packed and compliant with labeling requirements,” he said.

“Whether food or non-food products, details of manufacturing, expiry, and batch numbers need to be printed in the packaging. In addition, product reputation is built through superior packaging material and flawless printing technology to complete the finished product.”

The PCPEF in 2015 developed an industry roadmap that aimed to improve supply capability, increase demand for print, and encourage stakeholder links. — Jenina P. Ibanez

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