Why Digital Press Salespeople Need to be Bindery Savvy

The commercial print segment is being heavily targeted by the digital vendors simply because it’s still a fairly big market. And I deal with digital (continuous web) salespeople on a regular basis. One of the things that I urge salespeople to do is to really get to know the workings of a commercial printer. This includes finishing.

Yes, it’s true that the press is the focal point of a printed product. But knowing how that press sheet becomes a finished, sellable end-product will make them much smarter and more successful salespeople. Presses (and digital presses) are complex systems. But they are not sold in isolation, as standalone units. When a commercial printer makes the decision to invest in a multi-million dollar continuous digital press, they’re planning for a complete end-to-end workflow. Knowing the types of finished products, and more importantly, what is the best and most efficient way to produce these, is critical to system bids.

So the press and finishing system must be considered as a complete module. This is especially important because the offset-to-finishing workflow is often completely different from the digital-to-finishing one. And although digital print can be a more efficient print process, it’s also a more expensive one than offset. So designing the most efficient, least costly bindery process for digital becomes essential.

But in order to do this, one must have some understanding of both finishing processes, and to be “bindery savvy” so that a commercial printing prospect senses that they’ve done some homework. I have seen lots of large digital print projects run into difficulty because the printer sales team simply did not put forth a credible finishing solution. So, learn the specifics of offset print and finishing, and use digital finishing vendor partners as the unpaid consultants that they are.

Bindery folks (like me) are only too happy to advise on the technology, and what may work best for a particular project.

Don has worked in technical support, sales, engineering, and management during a career in both the commercial offset and digital finishing sectors. He is the North American representative for IBIS Bindery Systems, Ltd. of The United Kingdom.
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  • Werner R

    Don – you are so right. Those planning to have a job printed should always think backwards, starting with the bindery. Unfortunately, the prima donna pre-press people never seem to listen. Worse, the binders then get blamed for a printer masterpiece going to the graveyard. I have 60+ years of experiences in this regard!