Complementary Future of Offset, Digital Printing to Be Seen at Drupa
A good example is King Printing, a small U.S. book printer. It was the first book printer to invest in high-speed inkjet presses for book printing and now has two presses with a third on order. The company anticipates that with the success of this technology in helping its publisher customers change their business models, it will phase out its offset printing operations and become a total digital printing company.
Aditya Chinai, the president of King Printing, states, “We are becoming inventory managers for our customers as they look to cut their warehousing and costs. With inkjet, the frequency of orders increases and the quantity of run decreases. We may see 10 orders for 50 copies of a title instead of one large run. It is now print for order, rather than print for speculation.”
It is anticipated that with the entry of manroland and KBA into the digital market that book and magazine printers will be more likely to install high-speed inkjet presses to help change the business models of the customers in books, magazines and newspapers.
Where Does Offset Fit in the Future?
Perhaps the key thing that printers need to understand about the impact of new workflow approaches, Web-to-print and digital printing is that it allows them to work with their customers to help them change the way they do business. The new business model for printers is to be a multimedia communications supplier in which print is just one way of communicating.
Printers’ customers are being offered a whole new way of communicating and a range of new suppliers. The new Web-to-print and workflow tools allow a printer to be able to make it easier for customers to work with the supplier, or for the printer to offer a wider range of services to become a more complete supplier. This is not saying offset will disappear—far from it. Offset will remain the major element of most printers’ businesses, but without digital printing and automated Internet-based workflows, customers will move away from solely offset-centric suppliers.