Thursday, December 3, 2009

Printers are in the infrastructure business. It's a good business.

Cats Solutions acquires LDSI to create £15m-turnover group

Cats Solutions, the digital print and print management company, has bought the business and principal assets of Legal Document Services International (LDSI) to create a £15m-turnover group.

The equity-based acquisition, the details of which have not yet been disclosed, is intended to create a "market leader in the provision of managed print, scanning and electronic data discovery services to the legal sector".

Since at least September, 2006, I've been on the same little soapbox.
What business are you in? is a multiple choice question.
A. Infrastructure
B. Personal service
C. Creative

It's interesting this is another case of a "print management company" doing the buying. Makes sense if the "value is the network." It's consistent with the most successful users of digital marketing techniques have been mailing houses that clipped on the print manufacturing. Or a company like Color Central that prints for Everybody gets the hype about lulu. Color Central gets the clicks. Infrastructure is about clicks not hype.

The recent "market service provider" meme was a very wrong turn. If you already supplying a market service buying or partnering with a printer is easy. The wrong headed notion is that printers should fundamentally move away from the skill and experience they have earned in manufacturing print, at scale and on time.

Many in the industry have been taken in by the noise of "marketing" "internet blabla" and have been blind to the defensible value of manufacturing. As America is finally moving back to a manufacturing, business model innovation powerhouse, this meme should quietly fade away.

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