By Gerry Mulvaney, European Sales Manager, Landa Digital Printing
My old boss used to say that running a successful business is really very simple. Turnover is vanity and profit is sanity, so you buy at the lowest price you can, you sell at the highest price you can and you keep as much of the difference as you can. It is a very simple formula, but one that is easy to forget when caught up in the maelstrom that is today’s business world.
Certainly in the printing industry applying the formula has gotten increasingly harder. Quite apart from the pressure on prices – both for buying and selling – the demand for shorter turnaround, more personalisation and integration into multiple media campaigns using QR codes and social media, is playing a part in making life tough for those engaged in putting ink on paper.
Today printers are caught between the twin technologies of traditional offset printing and the latest digital printing. Offset has long been established as the quality standard for medium to long run lengths. And digital technology from the likes of Xerox, Indigo and others, has got a major share of the very short run market.
Medium to long runs today in B1 format refers to 7,000 sheets and above. Despite increased automation nowadays, the initial cost of set up, including platemaking and makeready time, make run lengths below 7 / 8,000 B1 sheets unprofitable.
Digital printing is most profitable with very short runs. This is because, with most technologies, the cost of the job is a fixed cost per sheet multiplied by the number of sheets printed. Most digital printers will tell you that runs of 100 to 1,000 is where they prefer to print for the most profitability, especially if they can offer variation on each sheet.
None of this would be a problem if it wasn’t for the customers. Unfortunately customers have no interest in the technology printers use to produce their jobs; they just want to make sure it is the right quality and the right price. More and more, they also want the price to include targeted runs with high-value features like versioning and personalisation. All this at the same high offset quality but in increasingly shorter run lengths and just in time delivery.
My old boss’s formula is coming into its own again and Nanography® is going to play its part. Because Nanography® uses half the ink film compared to conventional offset, the numbers change again in favour of the printers. Using less ink without any reduction in offset quality will help printers buy at the lowest price. Having the ability to print variable images on each sheet will help printers sell the sheet at the highest price.
It’s good to know in the world of print, the old maxims will continue to ring true – courtesy of Benny Landa.