How to grow profits in wide format print

By Sander Sondaal, Director of Commercial Print Sales, Graphic Communications Group, Ricoh Europe

In a mature market what are the opportunities for growth? I asked this question when I explored the maturity of the wide format market in this blogI looked at how the latest system capabilities in terms of application versatility, service delivery, and sustainable performance, could help win work.

There are other opportunities, too. Ones that can be achieved through greater optimisation and utilisation. Here are my top three:

Waste reduction

Unused and wasted substrate quickly adds up which is why ganging and nesting jobs can be a gamechanger for profitability.Manually ganging and nesting jobs is a constant trade-off between labour and waste. Profitability is reduced by the minutes spent planning and impositioning print jobs while every square inch of the unused substrate costs money. 

Keypoint Intelligence suggests improved planning could transform the fortunes of as many as 82% of wide format Print Services Providers (PSPs) that still gang and nest jobs manually. The associated costs are staggering, with 59% of respondents reporting the task takes them an average of one to 10 minutes per job. Another 18% claim that the process can be between 11 minutes to four hours per job. 

Nesting and tiling is something the modular and scalable workflow solution ColorGATE Productionserver can manage for large and wide format printing devices including the Ricoh Pro™ L5100e Series. Fast and accurate job planning is made simple to ensure maximum efficiency.

Cost savings

With costs rising in all areas of print production from energy to inks, an accurate understanding of the margins possible on each job has never been more important. This is especially so with new systems such as the Ricoh Pro™ TF6251 that combines flatbed and roll-fed printing capabilities in an all-in-one system to deliver a hugely diverse range of applications such as indoor and outdoor signage, Point of Purchase, vehicle wraps, posters, art, event, and floor graphics, and décor such as wallpaper. Getting the costings for each and every job right is paramount to a healthy bottom line.

ColorGATE Productionserver includes optional ink saving and cost calculation tools. They allow users to have full visibility over their print costs both before and after printing and ensure their target profit margins are being achieved across multiple jobs, substrates, and devices. ColorGATE Productionserver also offers integrated ICC colour management and calibration tools to help clients meet in-house or industry colour standards or to reproduce the best results possible using the maximum colour gamut possible from a given printer, ink, and media combination. This ensures quality standards are maintained and the risk of reprints is avoided.

Time savings

Greater automation can reduce manual labour, increase production efficiency, and save time – particularly for simple daily processes. Cal Newport, associate professor of computer science at Georgetown University, in his book Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World, describes this type of work as ‘shallow’ or ‘non-cognitive, logistical tasks often performed while distracted’. Managing this in an automated way allows skilled staff to concentrate on the more profitable deep work or ‘professional activities performed in a state of distraction-free concentration that push your cognitive capabilities to their limit’ to ‘create new value’.  

Automation can also:

  • eliminate the need to hire additional staff,
  • cut overtime costs in short-staffed operations,
  • improve employee morale, 
  • increase productivity by enabling staff to spend more time performing deep work through the reduction of shallow work,
  • allow staff to add value by undertaking simple everyday tasks.

As well as through investment in the latest hardware solutions, automation can be enhanced with software. ColorGATE Productionserver quickly and accurately processes graphically rich PDF content from creative design and page layout applications, thereby allowing PSPs to manage and reproduce complex design files with integrity versus the original design.

These highly responsive systems place PSPs in a strong position to meet the growing demand for signage and other applications as highlighted by the Business Outlook Survey for WhatTheyThink’s Printing Outlook report. They enable the delivery of a wider range of applications on a broader choice of substrates, efficiently and cost effectively.  They also help operations make the most of the opportunities highlighted here – opportunities that can be embraced quickly. 

Keen to learn what impact they could make on your business? Talk to us to discover more.

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