If we did, we wouldn't be obsessed with just one thing: price.
That stands, of course, for Please Reduce Item Cost Easily (P R I C E): this is the print you and I sell.
Yesterday, 15 paise per copy. Today, 10 paise per copy. Tomorrow you come back and it shall be 5 paise per copy.
If you get the job done in China, it is even less than 5 paise.
It doesn’t take much print-power to sell, now.
Even the machines cost less.
From ten crores to a crore to half a crore to one fourth of a crore.
So you buy one brand today – if you’re not happy, you don't pay your dues and buy a different brand tomorrow.
Which is why everyone is selling machines.
More and more dealers and vendors.
It’s rapid turnover.
Leading to liquidation.
But buying a machine doesn't translate into rapid turnover.
You don’t buy one brand today and a different brand tomorrow. That's not the way profits start reaping.
Machines like the Canon C800 and the HP Indigo 7800 and the Bizhub C1100 and the Ricoh pro C7100/7100X and the Versant 80 cost lakhs of rupees.
When you buy them, it must be done with a bit more thought.
What is your job profile? Less than 2000? Less than 200? Less than 20? Less than 2?
Does it need a different kind of print approach?
Then again, will you be printing books, brochures, certificates with variable data, leaflets, pharma cartons, labels, leaflets, fashion catalogues, posters, personalised stationery, calendars, bedsheets?
How many of these jobs need special colours?
If you require special colours or golds, then look at devices which posseses an additional fifth colour station and provides a clear and white toner. This feature will open up new markets.
Asking for a press which can reproduce a Pantone shade is good, but do you have potential to attract such a market?
Look at your job break up.
How many jobs will you print on 50gsm and how many on 300gsm?
Today, a good mid-size digital production device comes in 60, 70 and 80 A4 sheets a minute versions and prints at 2400dpi on 52-300gsm paper automatically duplexing up to 300gsm.
But the question for you, do you buy a press because it does everything. Or it does one thing, well.
Do you have a project to fulfill? Because if you look at say, the Canon C800, it has a duty cycle of 500,000 pages, while the C700 runs at 70ppm and has a duty cycle of 400,000 pages. You should consider both options before you purchase.
Do not purchase like a sheep, do not be part of the herd. Look at features that range from inline finishing options and a choice of the RIPs to the preferred workflow
A Bizhub offers three different print controllers which are available from EFI, Creo and Konica Minolta, with JDF support, APPE and Pantone colour library functionality. Look at all the options.
Konica Minolta C 1070
Xerox offers enterprise workflows to reduce print costs plus security enhancements with password protected PDFs, Print and Secure Print,
It is true that the a mid-sized digital press has the flexibility with most types of paper stocks plus finishing options, and you have the freedom to choose what you need for your business. But you must be careful that you don't treat all your print products, similarly.
Look at your applications.
For example, today, books in India are printed digitally - and they have improved in quality. Today, print-on-demand services are becoming popular.
Do you need flexible feeding and finishing options which include stapling, hole punching, folding and face trimming, and four standard paper trays?
Will you be printing at a rated speed (up to 220gsm) even at high quality settings and uses variable drop size for better image quality?
Be 100% certain.
We saw this at Drupa.
Most interesting were the queries from Indian visitors during Drupa.
Some sought an a la carte model of ink usage instead of a click charge model.
Some felt the production levels should match offset quality.
A closed loop system for colour management and inline spot UV was another item on the wishlist.
Many strove for easy upgradations of their digital machine.
The brief was to attract young people to print.
So the print quotient consisted of a style that would attract young people.
Quick prints with cool colours.
Unique designs, playful prints, innovative applications.
Lots and lots of photographs and grafitti.
In India, the situation is similar.
54% of print enhances product satisfaction.
68% young Indians try something new because it has caught their eye.
44% customers change brands from regular ones because of cool colours.
71% Indians believe the print on the pack is as important as the brand.
Today, training manuals are the best example for print on demand. The corporate training culture is the "in thing" and a lot of companies are using them to train employees in English Speaking, effective communication, management skills, marketing etc. For these modules, the only option is digital print which can provide a quick, personalisation on demand.
The point is, technology will continue to improve and drive down costs.
Volume will migrate to digital print.
Workflows will improve in parts of the supply chain.
The pace of change will not be what it was.
Therefore before you buy your machine, pat your wallet.
Find out the finance offerings for all equipment. Some schemes are wonderful.
Some vendors enables customers to replace more than a dozen parts for increased uptime. If your usability is high, then its good idea to opt for this scheme.
Also make proper enquiries about installation and training. Some vendors perform it over two days, with installation of the device taking up to two hours and a day and a half allocated to operator training.