The Real Media Collective survey highlights industry impact of COVID-19 - Image Magazine


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The Real Media Collective survey highlights industry impact of COVID-19

The Real Media Collective survey highlights industry impact of COVID-19

The Real Media Collective released its Industry Insights Survey 2021 to members last week which highlights the significant impact of the COVID pandemic for printers, publishers, mail-houses and distributors.

Over 90% of Australian businesses had been significantly impacted with an average 55% downturn and 72% having exposure to debtor related issues. New Zealand reported 37.2% downturn with 70% of companies reducing their hours and 16.7% of the industry’s workforce being made redundant.

“We know what we all endured last year and what we are still recovering from. This pandemic has hit the manufacturing sectors incredibly hard and none more so than the print and related industries. Furthermore, as a low margin to output ratio, our recovery is delayed by the recovery of our customers compared against high-margin industries. As industries such as Tourism, Retail and Hospitality recover our sector recovers slowly behind,” said Kellie Northwood, CEO, The Real Media Collective.

The total Australian marketing of Fine Paper imports and locally produced grades reduced by 159,258 tones between 2013 and 2019 as an average across all grades, however most notably to the pandemic, the previous twelve months realised a decrease of 160,000 tons and throughout COVID pandemic windows a stall in graphic paper grades.

New Zealand has remained relatively stable across light-weight coated (LWC), super-calendered (SC) and wood-free coated reels, however wood-free coated sheets appear to have had the highest volume decline.

“Through engagement with our members we noted many printers utilised ‘house’ or ‘floor stock’ within their factories to reduce inventory and manage slowed supply chains as operational uncertainty and future planning was unclear. This halted orders and has impacted the import figures dramatically,” added Kellie.

Future projections indicate a slow recovery from March, however the true impact will be determined in a more efficient recovery from 2022. TRMC is monitoring the current pulp price increases, delayed shipping pressures of paper and ink supplies and providing insight papers for members to manage their supply chain solutions.

TRMC announced its campaign association with the Australian Made organisation last year and are pursuing their campaign with government to move off-shored print to local markets. An analysis conducted by TRMC indicates the government is responsible for $50-80M of off-shored print work and has written to all Federal, State and Local governments highlighting the industry’s need to have this work redirected to local manufacturing. The initial feedback has been welcomed by Ministers and elected officials.

“We have been pleased with the government responses confirming their policies and amended practices, they are also keen to learn about the environmental credibility of paper and print, as this was a message many were unaware of. It has been a strong educational journey as well as an opportunity to present the importance of local manufacture. We are now preparing to review the opportunity through Freedom of Information channels on the procurement practices and look to print management models that do not point to local manufacture as a critical KPI in contract management. The Industry Insights reporting structure has also been valuable to assist government when understanding the challenges our industry faces, we have started this collection of metrics and now need to continue the process,” said Kellie.

TRMC led the response for industry throughout the COVID pandemic in 2020 with Economic Stimulus Reports, Fact Sheets, Industrial Relations reform, Australia Post relaxations and more shared beyond their members to a broader industry network. Whilst TRMC members will receive content before release to industry, TRMC have announced they will continue to share content with all of industry as a benefit to all.

“Our industry has endured difficulty, like many other industries, throughout this period. Our priority is always to our members and working one on one with them to meet their needs, however there are materials of benefit for all of industry and we will continue to advocate for all of industry and therefore share industry initiatives. Our industry must continue to invest in amplifying our key strengths, working together, communicating our effectiveness, our environmental credentials, our skills, diversity and sustainability as an industry to attract new talent. Together we can achieve this and this commitment from the Collective will continue throughout 2021 and beyond,” concluded Kellie.

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