Inkjet at the Summit – 2014

I had the pleasure to be a speaker at this year’s 2014 Inkjet Summit. It was jammed packed with amazing content from new and existing inkjet adopters, as well as integrators, consumables suppliers and equipment manufacturers. This conference is unlike any other, as it is all about “the learning experience” and “sharing vital content.” Aside from the strong educational presentations, one-on-one meetings and user panels, it provides a unique, peer-to-peer setting where printers can investigate the good and bad nuances of high-speed inkjet directly from existing users.

One of the main points of conversation often heard was: “Why should I invest in high-speed, wide-format inkjet?” There are many reasons why and why not. Each must be determined by the printer’s specific needs, but if you cannot answer “yes” to the following question, you most likely are not a candidate.

“What can I offer my customers with inkjet that is different than what I can do today?”

It may be speed, quicker to market and personalization-kitting with direct marketing services, or seeking to expand into books or billing and statement printing. Whatever it is, it must set you apart somehow from what you are currently doing. This assures you have a solid “need” and can command a premium price for the new products and services that you will be providing.

Yes, there can be internal supporting reasons like needing a higher throughput machine at a lower cost per piece, or needing to replace legacy printers and workflows. But these must always just support the question above.

High-speed, wide-format inkjet is a different costing model. And a different selling strategy for your sales staff, as well as training the customer on the benefits of your new service offerings. Remember, you are “adding” inkjet to the list of services you offer your customer, not changing your entire model. Inkjet should always be sold as a “complement” to your existing products and services—something that expands or opens doors for you with your customers and their products.

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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  • Kim Markovich

    Great post Mary. As someone who attended the InkJet Summit for the first time, I was quite impressed with the format and the quality of information provided by all the attendees. I think Mary hits the nail straight on with the question, "What can I offer different?" But I think the focus can be broadened from simply looking outside. InkJet offers some printers a reduction in cost of manufacturing and huge waste savings. Begging the question…"Can I offer my customer the same with less cost to us?"

  • Mary Schilling

    Thank you for attending. It is an amazing experience for all who participate. I hope you were able to go back and immediately apply the knowledge you gained.
    And, you are close with the comment below. With the note that inkjet is nowhere the "same". It adds so much more value and marketing opportunities for customers. So I would add, "Can I offer my customer ‘more’ that creates less production costs and at a higher revenue to us?"