Digital Install–After the Sale

What if marketing is the greatest corporate challenge? What if implementing the digital technology and training staff on its functionality are less than half the battle—as is often the case in the on-demand digital printing environment, where selling the technology, not installing it, poses the highest level of difficulty.

Case in point: The rise of on-demand digital color printing tools has made for an interesting, competitive class of color copiers and digital duplicators, wide-format printers and digital presses—some armed with variable-data software.

Marc Orchant, market development manager for Agfa’s U.S. Digital Printing Systems group, believes that digital color printing allows for the generation of strong profit margins, far in excess of those considered acceptable in the commodity printing business.

However, Orchant cautions, the real secret to achieving success in on-demand printing is to forego commodity pricing and to position digital color printing output as a new communications tool—not as a replacement for conventional offset.

Padgett Printing is the latest commercial printing operation to date to bring an Agfa Chromapress 50i into its facility. Why the digital printing install? The Dallas-based operation wanted to add variable-data printing to its capabilities. “When we started with digital color printing, it was our feeling that digital color printing would prove to be a valuable marketing tool for our customers—we wanted to do more than offer it, we wanted to be the authorities for its use,” reports A. David Torok, president of Padgett.

Still, at first, Torok continues, the Padgett team had a few worries regarding their investment in digital color printing—Would stock limitations prove to be an issue? Would there be quality assurance obstacles with leery customers?

“Our earliest concerns of quality acceptance or stock limits were a worry initially, but, through work and research on our part, those concerns have been largely unfounded and in fact those are non-issues,” Torok reports. “Once we have an opportunity to educate the customer about the results they can receive with variable four-color printing, we find that the selling acceptance is based on product success and not unit cost.”

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