Monday, 31 August 2015

Is Your Print Budget Under Control?

Is Your Print Budget Under Control?

The world of printing is vastly different today to when I entered the industry in the late 1980's. If ever there was a process that was taken from the dark ages to the 21st century within 20 years, print production is it.

At one time printing was a craft, with time-served skilled people operating machines that often took years to master. Nowadays you are more likely to find an ex-plasterer or window cleaner operating a shiny new press very efficiently. There is a level of automation on modern presses where it is almost a matter of loading paper and plates and pressing a couple of buttons.

However this automation comes at a price. The investment required in such machinery is massive, even if there is a justification in terms of less waste or reduced head count because a new modern press can be as productive as two not so old presses.

The conundrum a lot of business owners have to consider is do they stick with their tried and tested machines or do they invest, and invest heavily, in the latest technology.

That investment will often come at a hefty price of redundancy payments to reduce headcount to justify the investment and most importantly, assuming the business has the cash for a deposit, a strong enough balance sheet for someone to lend them the money for a press thats anything from £1-£2 million.

Its easy to see why business owner baulk at making the decision, with falling volumes of litho print you've got to have some pretty big balls to make that sort investment. But those people with the vision and means to make the jump invariably reap the benefits and immediately differentiate themselves in the market place.

The Have and Have Nots

The gap between those who invest and those who don't has gradually been widening as automation on presses increased. This gap now is massive. Those who invest in the latest XL presses from press giant Heidelberg and load it up with all the automation available have a huge competitive advantage.

If you are running a job within in 3 minutes of loading plates with less than 50 sheets wastage, compared to 30 minutes and 300 sheets on an older press, it is easy to see where the increased competitiveness comes from. Thats before you start to see the benefit of 18,000 sheets printed in an hour!!

These presses obviously need some filling and with such high productivity it would be easy to drop prices to fill the press. However, there are so few of these presses about there is no need to slash prices drastically to fill a hungry presses. Selling just below market price will create the extra volume needed to fill the press at an increased margin.

If you are lucky enough to have a print supplier who is well invested and forward looking then you will be the small minority and already well served. However the 95% of you who aren't dealing directly with such a supplier are paying way too much for your print. You are one of the Have Nots.

The Have Nots are spending thousands of pounds more for their printing than they should be. Modern print buyers simply don't have the time to trawl through hundreds of suppliers.

They need professional help.

This can be achieved through working closely with a knowledgeable print procurement specialist. They will reap savings, give brand and colour consistency, improve your supply chain and provide invaluable advice all whilst keeping to your corporate social responsibilities and environmental policies.

Ian Crow
Print Consultant
07847 415543

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