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Innovation the key to future of SMBs

80% of companies active in the sign and graphics sector are small businesses with a turnover of £500,000.

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With heightened customer demands dictating the direction of change, 59% of SMB leaders claim innovation is now a top priority

With a fairly low cost of entry and an enthusiastic customer base of global companies utilising signage as their strongest marketing tool, the sign industry remains an attractive one – one that is set to evolve and grow even more.

In a report funded by Ricoh Europe that spoke to 3,300 small to medium-sized businesses (SMBs), 91% said they expect their products and services to change in the next five years.

This survey reflects a growing trend of businesses recognising they must be able to adapt to market trends and customer preferences.

The development of technology and software is a recurring theme throughout the findings. 74% said technology helps their ability to innovate with 51% of these saying they will use new technologies to overcome these challenges, freeing up time to focus on customers, not processes.

“We work with SMBs across Europe who are already realising the benefits of approaching innovation in a new light,” says David Mills, chief executive officer of Ricoh Europe, a provider of document services, consulting, software, and hardware to businesses around the world. He says that innovation is the way for SMBs to remain on top in such an evolving industry.

Whether that is streamlining operations to introduce products to the market in half the time, using cloud services to speed up processes or experimenting with new ways to engage with customers and employees, the more innovation-minded SMBs are levelling the playing field against their larger rivals

“Whether that is streamlining operations to introduce products to the market in half the time, using cloud services to speed up processes or experimenting with new ways to engage with customers and employees, the more innovation-minded SMBs are levelling the playing field against their larger rivals.”

While technology is seen as playing a vital role in the innovation process, with 45% of SMB leaders planning to use data-driven insights to help shape their product set, concerns still exist. 59% call for access to better workplace technology, 42% want clearer routes to funding and 39% identify complex regulation as a key challenge.

Fabio Fogliani, managing director at refrigeration company Beijer Ref, places technological innovation at the heart of its mission to drive customer success. He says: “Innovation offers us the opportunity to reduce our time to market. Technical competence is one of the key ingredients to our success.

“We’re constantly considering new ways to do business and conceiving original approaches to old problems. By using technology in new ways, we’re able to spread an agile mindset and innovative products throughout the company extremely quickly and ahead of our competitors.”

If you have any news, please email carys@linkpublishing.co.uk, or join in with the conversation on Twitter.


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