With Digital Finishing Trend, Can Traditional Bindery Equipment Manufacturers Step Up?
Last week, we discussed the increasing demands digital finishing manufacturers are facing as digital presses get bigger, faster, and run higher duty cycles.
This week, we're going to look at the special needs that the digital production environment places on the manufacturers of traditional offset finishing systems. Many of these firms have "seen the light" in terms of digital's potential for better sales growth than their offset marketplace. But the two spaces have different production cycles and needs, and traditional vendors need to know what these are.
Manufacturers serving the offset bindery either have a direct sales force or sell via a dealer channel. As such, a lot of the post-sale "fixing" is actually done by the bindery staff, who (in general) are pretty handy in solving machine problems in their wheelhouse. And there is some amount of redundancy in the offset bindery. Multiple folders and binders soften the production blow when one machine goes down. So the bindery vendors have a modest service staff spread across the country, and in many cases, the dealer is the first line of support. Waiting a day or two (or three) is fairly normal for technical support in this environment.
Now we step to the digital side where the cycle time on short-run work may be a few hours. As a result, the people who sell those huge continuous inkjet printers have a completely different service model. They will happily install a qualified technician on your premises to ensure that the printer keeps chugging along and to deal with any daily maintenance required. They have elaborate "back up" service contingencies where their local techs can instantly contact experts when they run into a problem that's over their heads. And they have contractual obligations with their customers that guarantee a certain system uptime percentage.