Maximize Value of Digital Print with Just-in-Time Applications
Production costs and speed to market can be the difference between success and failure when it comes to manufacturing. It’s encouraging to know there is a workflow methodology designed to reduce flow times within production systems, as well as response times from suppliers and to customers — it’s called just-in-time manufacturing. Also referred to as lean production, just-in-time manufacturing helps organizations control variability in their processes, which helps in boosting productivity, lowering costs, and effectively managing risk.
Today’s commercial printers can use variable data, digital inkjet printing to manufacture a broad range of high-volume, high-quality, just-in-time print applications to maximize the value of digital print and transform the way they meet customer needs.
Just-in-time manufacturing typically entails producing large quantities of documents, such as transactional applications including statements and bills; publishing documents including magazines, books, and newspapers; and promotional documents including catalogs and direct mail. Other types of documents, including election ballots, can also be produced in a just-in-time manner with strict timelines. (Note that just-in-time manufacturing is not the same as on-demand production, which involves the as-needed production of documents from a digital document library.)
The value of inkjet
Modern production color inkjet systems produce tremendous quality across a broad range of substrates, making them well-suited for the high-volume print applications that were once typically managed by traditional processes such as offset lithography. They are also ideal for just-in-time print applications because they have:
- Print speeds similar to offset
- High productivity and reliability
- An expanded substrate range
- The ability to streamline static and variable printed data
- Outstanding color quality
- Integration with in-line finishing
The just-in-time manufacturing process relies on equipment that can manufacture the finished product efficiently and to exact specifications. For document production, just-in-time manufacturing requires:
- An efficient electronic workflow
- On-time component delivery
- Easy access to printing parts and consumables
- Service levels that minimize downtime
- Highly integrated finishing
High-volume digital print production used for just-in-time manufacturing is able to reduce manual operator touchpoints, in turn reducing the possibility of errors — particularly in complex personalized documents in which the recipient’s data is involved.
As you’re likely aware, finishing terms of particular importance related to automation include in-line, near-line, and off-line. If your shop has a dedicated application that it focuses on, in-line finishing may be the right choice. In- or near-line finishing systems are critical to making high-volume inkjet document production a reality. If you produce a range of applications with no single one dominating, near- or off-line finishing may be the best choice. While in-line finishing offers the most value, near- and off-line finishing can support efficient automation.