At FESPA 2022, Kornit announced an "integrated showcase of its latest innovations". We will go into the different solutions, but what made Kornit think of something "integrated"? And, why now?
We’re disrupting the status quo for textile production by offering on-demand, sustainable production. Our entire ecosystem of digital textile MAX production systems and workflow solutions provides the full pixel-to-parcel-to-doorstep experience. We aim to enable automation of the production process, digitisation of the production floor, and to provide on-demand responsiveness to demand that ultimately yields less wasteful, high-quality production. On top, our pixel-to-parcel KornitX workflow solution ensures we connect the creative community to the producers who can fulfill their demand quickly, efficiently, and locally. This means Kornit creates value both vertically and horizontally in the market, ultimately unleashing more creative expression in a sustainable way and enabling ever more variety of materials and applications.
Would you agree to the statement: digital textile printing is defining the industry right now? Be it 'yes' or 'no', could you explain your assessment? Why is it so?
Yes. The digital technology is key to unleashing creativity, answering the call for more sustainability, more precisely (and cost-effectively) answering consumer demands, and providing the process digitisation necessary to make onshoring/nearshoring profitable and eliminate unnecessary supply chain complexity and risk. According to McKinsey, 71% of fashion producers intend to nearshore operations within the next three years, and the on-demand production model helps ensure lean production to make those ambitions viable.
People expect to find exactly what they’re looking for, buy at the push of a button, and have it in a day or two. Digital textile printing is the only realistic way to answer that demand, quickly, without overproduction or complication. (30% of production is currently going to waste, and the digital on-demand production capability is an effective means of avoiding inventory creation.) It means producers can create more products, and more diverse products and applications, with less resources. It means supplying by demand rather than producing for inventory, and planning and adjusting in real time.
Analog production will likely remain for large-quantity, simple orders, but demand for such orders is shrinking. Producers who need flexibility in their operations, diversification to answer changing market dynamics and challenges, and profitability from any order increasingly realise digital isn’t simply a nice tool to have, but an essential one.
What do you think is going to drive digital textile printing in the near future: consumer demand or industry compulsions? What are your views about mass customisation?
It’s a combination of both. As noted above, the industry is moving to nearshore, and online applications are empowering a growing creative community. Consumers are becoming far more conscientious about their purchases, and digital textile print means they can have both instant gratification and sustainable, responsible production practices.
As several high-profile Kornit customers have shown, there is great profit opportunity in mass customisation, and some of our print systems have been developed specifically to address that market. Digital on-demand print unlocks new creativity from designers, do-it-yourselfers, and entrepreneurs in new and untapped communities worldwide, and we anticipate that opportunity will continue to grow. That has been a core message of our Kornit Fashion Week events, which show how this technology eliminates barriers to creative fulfillment, in terms of time, investment, and graphic capability.
And more importantly, what role is digital textile printing going to play in influencing the process of automation in the textiles industry that is already a reality?
Digital textile print means automation can be a frictionless end-to-end experience that brings a concept to finished product quickly and efficiently, often within 24 hours. We’re approaching a model whereby the consumer clicks “buy” from a web store, and that order is routed to a production facility, the blank is selected and loaded to a digital print system, and then it’s passed along to a curing system and packaged for shipment—all without human intervention.
When every step of the process is digitised, true automation is achieved, and that means producing more goods with less energy, resources, and labour; fulfilling orders quickly, and helping producers to position themselves for long-term growth. People can now be allocated to more productive and valuable work than production line.
Do you think digital textile printing will open the market for smaller players by offering them a level-playing field with big brands? Do you think, for instance, a small businessman can start selling customised products through a big ecommerce portal like Amazon?
Absolutely. We like to say our on-demand production model and Global Fulfiller Network are “democratising” fulfillment by making entry to market more accessible for creators and micro-brands, without compromising on their respective visions. This model creates demand for our customers’ services, while the growing range of available design and e-commerce applications makes it easier than ever for entrepreneurs and the creative community to bring their creations to life.
The web offers the largest marketplace the world has ever known, and digital textile print empowers visionaries to take advantage, with ease, low cost of entry, and the reassurance their pieces are being produced in a sustainable, conscientious manner.