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What Happens Next?

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“Life moves pretty fast, if you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it”.

Famous words by Ferris Bueller in 1986, and even more apt in today’s world 30 years on.

Whether it’s how we consume information, the speed at which we expect products to be delivered, or the seemingly earlier-and-earlier mention of Christmas, it’s like we have all skipped school and are driving around in Cameron’s Dad’s Ferrari.

When I started out in manufacturing 15 years ago, we would regularly quote by fax and lead times for delivery would be around 3-4 weeks. How times change! The rise and rapid development of technology and data has seen a seismic shift in consumer behaviour, with heightened expectations, and a serious demand for speed and convenience. As a result, being able to deliver quickly is paramount, and incidentally, doesn’t necessarily mean you can charge a premium price, which was traditionally the case (certainly in print).

Only the other week Ricoh – a Blake development partner – unveiled a “revolutionary approach to personalised print-on-demand book production”. The innovative process allows end-users to print their own publications on-site in locations such as bookstores or libraries in minutes. You could even print out a book from an extensive catalogue of several thousand titles while-you-wait. Wow!

But what happens next?

You can sense that the human race would like to slow down, get off the merry-go-round. People talk of digital saturation, of wanting to go “off-grid for a while”, their frustration at a reduced attention span and the implosion in popularity of retreats, yoga, meditation – anything where we can regain some control of the speed at which we exist. Even writing a letter rather than a text or email

I’ve had numerous conversations this year and the same topics regularly come up – getting back to the love of something physical, something tangible, something real. Building lasting relationships, trust and working with local people. Real quality, consistency – but, again, not at the expense of speed and cost. We just want everything! We are ever-so-demanding, right?

There’s a real sense of “watch this space” at Blake as we continue to push the boundaries of innovation in envelopes and postal packaging. I visited HQ last week and came away buzzing with inspiration. I’m excited to see what’s next.

As Ferris said:

“the question isn’t ‘what are we going to do’, the question is: ‘what aren’t we going to do?”.