Inkjet Is Like a Teenager…

In my last blog we asked the question “Whose responsibility is it to ensure the paper is compatible with inkjet?” I received responses from paper mills, customers and OEMs via e-mail, but not through the blog. In asking why they came through the e-mail channel, there seemed to be a common response: “Corporate communication rules limit our freedom to respond honestly via blogging and Internet portals.”

The inkjet industry’s lack of communication reminds me of my 16-year-old teenager. He is a bright, creative, innovative and responsible young man, whom I can depend upon to be consistent and hard working. But, when it comes to communication, as any 16-year-old is, he tends to only tell his father and I what he thinks we should hear or on a need-to-know basis. I guess, to him, this keeps harmony.

What it really does…it slows progress, causes confusion and creates missed opportunities.

My husband and I are helping our son to understand the value of communication. But, for the inkjet industry, it takes all of us…ink companies, print head manufacturers, OEMs, paper mills, finishing suppliers and end users.

Blogging, in my mind, opens up the communication in which all can learn and prosper from collaborative knowledge sharing. It is an amazing tool that can advance an industry. Let’s use this forum to advance the inkjet industry by opening up good dialog, from which we all can learn and benefit.

What suggestions do you have to communicate better as an industry?

(p.s. I would love for everyone to respond to the blog so we can communicate collectively, but, if you respond via e-mail, the source is always confidential.)

Mary Schilling works with all the elements of the digital process-from conventional and inkjet technologies to fluids and substrates-and provides technical support to print providers on optimizing print quality while lowering total print cost. Understanding the dynamics of the digital marketplace, and the incredible growth and advancements in inkjet technology, Mary provides customers with print quality, color gamut, fluid consumption, machine and print quality analysis, utilizing G7 methodology. She also works with inkjet fluid and machine developers to align paper development of new, innovative inkjet substrates. As the owner of Schilling Inkjet Consulting, she consults with fluid and inkjet machinery suppliers and end users on how to improve color and print quality for paper, plastics, metal, fabric and glass with UV, solvent and aqueous inkjet fluids. Mary received Innovator of the Year awards from the Flexographic Technical Association and from Xplor International for her efforts in closing the gap between document printing and digital packaging. She is G7 certified and a member of the IDEAlliance Print Properties Committee.
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  • Kelly Mallozzi

    My rule as the owner of my own consulting practice is that I can communicate freely and at will with little fear of consequences, because if someone doesn’t like what I say or how I say it, they just can choose to not do business with me. I believe in abundance and authenticity – I enjoy a thriving practice and am true to myself. Maybe corporations should follow suit.??
    Thanks for the post!

  • Warren Seidel

    Mary, by the sheer number of responses to your blog so far, it appears that your post rings true. I don’t understand why people are not posting more, but I think many people are not seeking to share information for selfish reasons.

  • chekprint

    I am sure that without communication we would not get anywhere. We must talk to each other by whatever method so that our views are known and where necessary proper solutions can be found

    kant dabholkar

  • HowieatNAPL

    Mary, great question. "Whose responsibility is it to ensure the paper is compatible with inkjet?” But I am surprised that you did not get more responses. Maybe people thought it was a trick question? Because it sounds like a trick question. Because they answer is, it depends.

    Although the specifics may be slightly different this is not much different then customer choosing a printing plate or paper in the offset printing world or other "back in the day" decisions about film for a camera. The general rule of thumb is work with the manufacturers specified or recommended consumables if you want to hold them accountable.

    The same is true with inkjet production printing. If the customer works with the approved ink and paper from the inkjet equipment manufacturer, then they can hold the manufacturer responsible. If the customer is looking for a better deal (read cheaper) and works with another ink or paper (read non- approved) then its the other vendors or the customers responsibility.

    I am surprised that this is considered top secret. I you have some grey hair on your head like me, you may remember going through these questions before with ink, chemistry or film.


  • InkJetGenie

    Thanks for the great follow up everyone. You are all absolutly correct in there are pros and cons to sharing information. Howie, I did try to post it as a question which would not have just one straight answer, as the answer would lean to which ever industry you are in. It was a hard one to answer. But in my mind it takes all of us, it is not just one industry who determines the right paper grade for the application. We just all need to ensure the end user (inkjet customer) has all the data to help them choose without wasting time or monies.
    thanks again everyone! Keep them coming

  • Elizabeth Gooding

    Hi Mary,
    Great post. Social media restrictions are becoming an issue in our industry. Many employees at large corporations can’t even log into sites like LinkedIn anymore. For those who can, there are still a few problem areas. Jumping off on your teenager analogy – there are some who are "mean girls" or bullies who only post PR on themselves and use their comments to trash competitors. Then there are the stalkers – they join every group but never contribute. On the whole, positive contributions to the "industry conversation" are useful and can be handled within the bounds of corporate communication requirements. We may or may not be able to talk about our own products and services – but we can draw attention to new industry research (or the latest great post from Mary Schilling!) as a way of sparking conversation. We can also ask questions (real questions – not self serving ones.) But the biggest thing we need to do is avoid disseminating bad information. My suggestion is that if you see something posted that you think is misleading – first reply privately to the author and give them an opportunity to correct and modify before making any public statement. That will also give you credibility if you then need to (nicely) point out the inaccuracies yourself. By the way – my teenager tells me everything (scary) so be careful what you wish for!