Moving to Digital Printing on Your Own Terms
Today’s printed communications are changing. Consumers who receive targeted messages online now expect that same level of personalization from their printed communications. As a result, printers must ensure they can produce targeted, relevant materials that have the same look and feel as other forms of communications.
How can printers take on inkjet printing without having to make substantial investments in both capital equipment, and in the skills to leverage that equipment? Today’s retrofit inkjet printing solutions provide the answer.
The inkjet opportunity
A market study conducted by Smithers Pira, entitled “The Future of Digital Printing to 2024,” shows the fast pace at which digital print is growing. In 2013, the global digital print market was worth $120.9 billion. By 2024, the total digital market will reach 225% of that value.
The driving force behind this growth is the demand for more personalized communications, and ever-shorter offset runs. Digital inkjet printing solutions allow printers to economically produce the short runs that come with the versioning and personalization included in some of these printed communications.
By producing these targeted communications, printers can expand the range of services they offer to customers, and attract new business opportunities that provide greater revenue potential.
The challenges of change
Though inkjet printing can enhance printers’ operations, many have been slow to adopt these solutions. While offset printing can be the best solution for long print runs, inkjet is more suitable for printers who produce short runs and variable printing.
As a result, it is not easy for printers to shift their business models to accommodate the demand for short-run jobs.
Another factor affecting the adoption of inkjet is the expenditure it requires. New presses are expensive, and require a significant outlay of capital. If printers invest in an inkjet press, they then need to retrain staff members: employees need to change from performing trade-focused roles to operating a digital process, and salespeople must engage in new sales conversations to quickly fill the machine and achieve the expected ROI.
Inkjet printing also requires a physical and electronic workflow that is different from an analog workflow. Tasks like color management, automatic job queuing, and even specialized document finishing differ from their counterparts in an analog workflow.
Moreover, the Service Level Agreements (SLAs) that printers have with their customers will undergo significant changes. Customers will expect very quick turnarounds, putting a new kind of burden on plant logistics.