Growing the printing market from the bottom up: An adaptive business model

By Alison Job for Kemtek.

Johannesburg, 14 Mar 2024
Mags Govender, Head of Print and Marketing, Kemtek; Jason Annetts, Print Sales Representative, Canon, Kemtek; and Graham Comins, Managing Director, Kemtek.
Mags Govender, Head of Print and Marketing, Kemtek; Jason Annetts, Print Sales Representative, Canon, Kemtek; and Graham Comins, Managing Director, Kemtek.

Contrary to popular belief, the print market is not declining, but flourishing, with growth being driven from the grassroots level by entrepreneurs. In a recent conversation with the Kemtek team, we explored their approach to this evolving landscape and their strategic decision to partner with Canon, to cater to the changing market dynamics. The business already has several key principals that it partners in the digital printing sphere; this press release unpacks the decision to add one more to the mix.

The business has just celebrated 35 years of servicing businesses with an assortment of print-related solutions. The journey has seen the business structure adapt to changing requirements, leading to the creation of a print solutions division within the organisation. This restructuring is aimed at servicing a broader print market, departing from niche-focused relationships towards identifying and filling gaps in an evolving industry.

The current print market hierarchy places commercial and industrial printing at the top, followed by print shops and bureaus. However, a recent surge in print shops has given rise to independent entrepreneurs establishing businesses in the graphic arts and print industries. Kemtek is keen on servicing this burgeoning entry-level market, in addition to its existing commercial, industrial and printshop customers.

Recognising the shifting landscape, Kemtek has strategically chosen to expand its digital press offerings through the new partnership. The growth of smaller print shops in the start-up sector, now providing more sophisticated services, has created a demand for advanced yet affordable equipment. The new digital press range is poised to meet this demand, allowing the business to cater to the entire spectrum of the print market.

As a technology-focused business, Kemtek has always stayed ahead of the curve by evolving and restructuring to meet market requirements and integrating new technologies. Embracing digital printing as the way forward, the intention is to continue bringing new technology to the South African printing industry. This aligns with the business’s broader objective of addressing markets not previously covered by its existing product range, thereby opening up new growth opportunities.

The introduction of a new line of digital presses is not just about technology; it has to be complemented by a dedicated sales team and a skilled service team. This ensures that customers receive comprehensive support and have the flexibility to evolve their businesses in tandem with Kemtek's offerings. The focus is on building lasting relationships, understanding that as customers grow, their printing needs may evolve, and being able to provide the right products and solutions at every stage.

This new partnership marks a strategic move for Kemtek, enabling it to tap into previously unexplored customer segments. By reaching once inaccessible sectors, the business is expanding its customer base and providing these customers access to an extended product range.

However, operating in the South African market brings unique challenges, including foreign exchange rates, low GDP and issues like load-shedding. These changes are navigated by offering solutions at price points that balance profitability for the business and affordability for the customers. The goal is not only to sustain its own business, but also to contribute to the development of a sustainable print market in South Africa.

Looking forward to the next 35 years, Kemtek acknowledges the need for continual re-evaluation and adaptation of technology to remain a leading-edge provider in the printing sector. It is key to identify world-class products and understand the market's evolving requirements, ensuring that the business remains a dynamic force in the ever-changing landscape of the printing industry.