The COVID-19 pandemic has now influenced business globally for almost a year, and still, the spread is increasing with more people infected. Of course, most people hope and expect that the pandemic will soon have topped and that both heard-immunity and vaccines can help us return to normal. Phase-3 tests on various vaccines are in progress, and many expect these to be ready for mass-production during Q4 of 2020 or Q1 2021. This is, by all means, good news, but the logistics of manufacturing between 14 and 21 billion doses and get these distributed is not something that is easily done - and for sure takes time.
So I couldn't help thinking about a couple of things. It will take time to vaccinate the population, which by many is considered a necessity for returning to 'normal.' Secondly, will we ever return to the time before the Corona?
The first thing we did - along with other media, vendors, and companies in general, was creating new products- and services. Products that could substitute some of the 'real' products - so we created 'Over The Skype,' 'Instant,' 'Learn With Us,' and other formats using the internet. Some printing companies quickly converted their productions to face shields, masks, and other products. However, all we have done so far is working on workarounds, hoping to return to 'normal.'
When Europe opened up for travel, we immediately tried to sell and revert to the typical INKISH products. This was great, and we were so happy to make great films from companies like Koenig & Bauer, Heidelberg, Scodix, LamiFaktur, Traffic Print, Tello, and more. Still, it's a fact that with the increasing number of COVID-19 infections, we are now facing the second wave.
We have to face that this isn't over and that this may take a way longer time than expected. We have started working on a new strategy that will dramatically change some of the ways we think business.
We don't expect any tradeshows before 2022, and we also expect considerably fewer travel days in 2020/2021. As we had more than 100 travel days in 2019 and a relatively large percentage of our revenue was generated from trade shows and events, we must change our focus to other products, services, and maybe more important ways to make money. Changing the business objective is necessary, and I believe that all companies in the printing industry must consider what kind of company they will have in the future. It will most likely not be like the one before the COVID-19.
Of course, you may be in a position where your market is returning to 'normal,' but maybe you, like me, are starting to consider how the market and the industry look in three months, six months, and twelve months - and maybe, it will be radically changed?
INKISH will, of course, continue to produce films, and we are so lucky that we have partners that can travel within the countries they represent. Media who don't have this can, of course, consider using local journalists and film crews - but most likely a bit more demanding than ours already in place organizations. Some will find virtual products sufficient; some won't. Some will be able to sell their equipment without traveling; some won't. And with the new reality also new opportunities will occur, of course. Some of the changes in our business plan are quite interesting from our perspective.
The way we have started revising our business plan has been fun and so creative that we can't wait to share this with everybody. The most exciting thing is, of course, whether we can make the plan operational.
What we are doing isn't important to most, but I share the story with you because I believe it's important for everybody to re-think their business plans. The COVID-19 has already changed a lot and will most likely change even more in the future. Will travel limitations and cancelations of maybe all events influence your business? I am not talking about the drupas and the fespas - I am talking about your customers' participation at events or their limitations in traveling. I am talking about all the things that can influence your business and where you may have to re-think everything to be profitable.