Print is not dying, it is just evolving in this digital era. The fear of the printing industry going extinct has been ongoing for over 60 years. When television technology emerged in the 1950’s, there was fear that people wouldn’t read anymore. However, it turns out that people were used to reading something physical and the TV Guide became one of the most popular magazines of its era. The fear of the printing industry ending once again resurfaced in the 1990’s as the internet became a popular household item. After more than a decade of fear, printing is still around and very strong. It is true that the digital era has had a major impact on printing, but to say it’s eliminating the printing industry is false. Print and digital are not competing, in many cases the two work effectively together. The real question is what printers need to do to remain successful.
The first piece of advice I have for the printing industry is to evolve with what your customers are wanting. People are wanting quality, convenience, a positive customer service experience, and a fair price.
Let’s start with quality. Printing and bindery equipment have improved significantly over the years and new equipment and software is continuously being released. Not only is it vital for the company to invest in new equipment that broadens the company’s capabilities but also increases quality. Whether that’s more sophisticated software or a new press, a company that wants to remain competitive needs to continuously research and invest in new equipment that strengthens their portfolio and the quality of the product. Vision Graphics has remained a leader in the industry for various reasons but investing into their equipment is a major one. Vision has gone above and beyond to expand their capabilities by acquiring some of the nicest equipment on the market.
One of our top assets is our Komori Lithrone GL840 High-efficiency UV (HUV) 8-color press. Our new H UV-equipped 40-inch convertible perfecting press transcends the standard perception of the offset printing industry and is designed to achieve maximum color renderings by pairing a proprietary high-efficiency curing system with ink formulated exclusively for H-UV. With its on-demand features the press prints both sides of the sheet in a single pass through the power of H-UV curing system that dries instantly reducing turnaround delivery and press check times. The H-UV drip-off coating technology showcases graphic expressions in a higher screen frequency with enhanced image quality working with screen rulings of 20 microns. Engineered with the “do no harm” philosophy, the Komori H-UV is one of the greenest offset presses on the market designed with no VOC emissions and ozone free UV bulbs for cleaner air.
A lot of Vision’s customers utilize direct mail, and for a time period, we had to use vendors to help produce and print envelopes for us. This gave us less control on quality and prevented us from turning around jobs as quickly as the customer would like. Vision maneuvered around this issue by investing into a new W+D Halm I-Jet inkjet envelope press that allows our customers to produce beautiful full color envelopes, on demand. Whether it’s as simple as adding your logo or as complex as a personalized message, Vision Graphics can help you get it done when you need it.
Finally, when it comes to quality, Vision Graphics understands color is vital. Customers expect the color to look consistent and accurate no matter what press the product is being printed on. This was a challenge in the past and is still challenging today for many printers. We are proud to be ORIS Color Certified as well as a GRACoL 7 Certified Master Printer ensuring you get the best color management available today. Our offset presses are color calibrated based on spectrophotometry (colorimetric data) to match the GRACoL 7 specifications so that from press-to-press, press-to-proof and plant-to-plant you can expect the color to remain consistent. We also employ Creo Staccato imaging technology, also known as stochastic printing or FM screening, as the standard output method for all our proofing and plating devises. Staccato produces high-impact, artifact-free images with greater image fidelity, richer colors, open shadows, sharper texture and finer detail. It eliminates screening moire, rosette patterns, shade stepping, and abrupt tone jumps, providing near-photographic quality that protects the purity and saturation of colors making it particularly effective for replacing custom colors with process screen builds. Perfect for clients that want the highest detail on their printed images.
For the sake of this blogs length, I’m going to combine convenience with a positive customer service experience. Both are extremely important for a company to remain successful. Convenience and a positive customer service experience go hand in hand because a positive customer service experience is convenient for the customer. A typical customer that procures print ranges from understanding the basics to not knowing a thing about it. It is typically just another thing they need to accomplish for their job and often wait until the last minute not knowing what it entails. Most printers are not capable to produce everything under the sun and customers aren’t wanting to shop around to find the correct vendor that can produce the specific piece of work they need. They want to know and have confidence in a single printer that can handle everything and produce good quality at an acceptable price. Successful customer service understands the customers urgency, educates the customer on the process, offers suggestions to show they care for the customer, and will handle projects even if another company is helping produce the piece. All too often, companies turn away work they are not capable of producing. The customer does not care who produces the work, they just want the work to be done, completed well, and not be surprised with the price at the end. I do not recommend hiding that you are outsourcing work to another company. I believe in transparency, so the customer never loses the trust they have for you. The goal is to have them always reach out to you because they know they can trust you to get whatever they need completed.
A fair price is the last piece to the puzzle. A fair price can be one of the biggest challenges and ties into everything we talked about. You want the price to be competitive, not too high or too low. The best way to accomplish this is by investing into new equipment to reduce outsourcing jobs giving your company more control. The more efficient the company is with its procedures and equipment allows more flexibility with pricing. The key is to be realistic with the work you can produce and pricing it accordingly.