In-house digital printing is emerging as a viable way to deliver organisation-wide efficiencies and to pave the way for competitive differentiation and innovation.
Here we look at four trends to consider if you’re looking into adopting in-house printing. The cost and speed of digital printing have long been its main draw cards, but now with huge advances in digital quality and flexible, finishing capabilities the shift away from offset is gaining momentum.
Trend 1: Shift from offset to digital
Faster turnaround times
In 2010, an InfoTrendsii study found that those who rely on in-house print centres expect turnaround within 48 hours for run lengths up to 4,999 prints. Like the external print provider, the focus of the in-house printing operation is to provide the best, most responsive service to its clients. The advantage of the in-house centre is its proximity and its exhaustive understanding of the organisation and the wider implications associated with failing to respond effectively to demands for fast turnaround.
Demand for more complex finishes and professional-looking documents
Digital printing has responded to the call not only for faster turnaround but cost efficient shorter run-lengths, personalisation in marketing and transactional documents, and print on-demand. The new technology behind digital print is better than ever before. In fact, due to the steadily rising popularity of digital, it is predicted that there will be a continuing decline of digital black and white printing and the use of digital colour will become more commoniv.
Trend 2: Shift to Cross Media
Find a competitive edge through personalisation of printed material
Just as institutions can no longer afford to offer their stakeholders generic, hard copy mail outs, neither can print providers afford to limit their offerings. Personalising a document is a powerful demonstration of the relevance of the communication, for example including a personalised URL (PURL) that takes the recipient from print to the web, or a QR code that the recipient scans with their mobile phone to offer more information via the web. A print department is ideally positioned to evolve from the role of supplier into a proficient, highly valuable control point by offering consultation and a managed marketing supply chain that delivers results.
Trend 3: Print Automation
Boost cost savings, efficiency, and lift productivity
The development of print automation technology has allowed the print room to streamline production processes with far-reaching benefits for the whole organisation. Automating print production with job tickets is simple and straightforward, and includes the automatic setup of output devices as well as fully automated inline finishing. Latest developments in inline and near-line finishing equipment for digital printing – such as collators, binders and folders – are now automating the setup to improve efficiency, especially for repeat or same format jobs.
Trend 4: Web to Print
Convenience and time-saving potential of online ordering
Web-to-print software allows users to easily submit print jobs using an Internet browser. Web-to-print is fast evolving into web-to-finish and web-to-product in organisations investing in their own comprehensive online printing capabilities based on all-inclusive, fully automated workflows.
Potential for specific industries like education
Education institutions are well placed to leverage web-to-print solutions further as online portals for creating, archiving, managing and deploying communications between teachers and students, or between the school and students and parents. Such portals might even provide certain variable data printing capabilities that enable non-print or non-design staff to create, customise and order personalised documents.
iiInfoTrends 2010 “Future Proof Investments in Document Technology
ivInfoTrends 2012: U.S. Production Printing & Copying Market Forecast: 2011-2016