As we move further into 2019 and beyond, the world of print continues to expand and develop at a rapid pace. The driving force of much of this change is technology, and new innovations in the industry have the potential to transform the way print service providers (PSPs) operate - provided they know how to make the most of these new opportunities.
If PSPs are going to continue to thrive in this modern, digital world, it’s absolutely vital they approach innovation in the right way. The expectations of our clients have never been higher, and if we embrace innovation in the right way, we can not only meet them - but exceed them. Here’s how…
New print technologies emerge every year - sometimes even more frequently -in the form of new printers, substrates, inks and more. If PSP’s want to provide the most appealing service to potential clients, they need to be aware that some of their direct competitors will likely be investing in this technology and will be able to improve and increase their output as a result.
A cutting-edge printer can make all the difference to the output of a PSP, particularly if they’re in a growth phase, or are a small to medium-sized business. When PressOn invested in the HP Latex 3600, for instance, we noticed an immediate and measurable improvement in our workflow, and a direct increase in customer satisfaction. These machines can offer benefits like overnight printing and faster production with improved quality, making every aspect of a PSP’s business offering more competitive.
With the advent of digital printing, software is just as vital as hardware. Making sure your computers (including your operating systems and actual machines) are up-to-date should be the bare minimum for a digital print supplier - and investing in the latest cutting-edge software for print management, design, and colour management can make a huge difference too. Large brands, for instance, often expect the kind of colour consistency and accuracy that can only be achieved with the best programs.
While this does depend on the industry in which your client works, and the kind of print products they’re ordering, it’s essential that PSPs embrace innovation in their product offering too. With so many new digital offerings available, it can be easy for print to be misconceived as ‘outdated’, but with an inspiring and exciting range of products, PSPs can show their clients that this is far from true.
Print is uniquely placed in that our products are physical, and tactile, and print suppliers should take advantage of this wherever possible. Don’t feel confined to traditional 2D options such as billboards or banners, and consider expanding your offering to 3D installations such as tension fabric frames.
New substrates and materials
With the latest print technology, it’s now possible to print onto substrates that would have once been impractical or even impossible. Materials including mirror reflective vinyl and other rigid surfaces can be printed onto using equipment such as HP’s Latex 3000 series printers, and once-problematic rigid surfaces are viable with tools such as the R2000.
Sustainability has never been more important for print (and, frankly, for almost every industry out there). Our clients expect us to take the same active steps to reduce our environmental impact that they do, and the print businesses that will stand out in the coming years will be those that are willing to embrace ‘green’ innovation readily.
With the major industry suppliers leading the way (with initiatives such as HP’s recycling scheme), it’s now up to smaller businesses and suppliers to make any changes they can to their own daily operations. Aside from unique and innovative solutions (such as using electric vehicles for their company transportation), print suppliers can...
Water-based inks and non-PVC substrates are just two examples of how PSPs can offer their clients the same quality and variety of print solutions, with a more environmentally friendly option. You don’t need to stop supplying traditional products, but adding some more eco-conscious choices into the mix can help you to stand out.
This is by far from an exhaustive list, and the key thing is to ensure that as we move into the next era of digital print and Out Of Home, we continue to offer our clients a uniquely tailored service - not just an ‘a la carte’ print offering in which clients browse solutions and simply pick the one that fits their needs best.
Our clients are under more pressure than ever to stand out with their print solutions, so it’s vital that we take every step possible to embrace the innovative tools and techniques available to us as suppliers. The PSPs who will thrive in the coming months and years are the ones who will take the time to really listen to and work with their clients, and invest in their future - not just their present.
This article was contributed by Nigel Webster, one of the Managing Directors of PressOn, a large format digital printing company based in Chatham, Kent, UK (30 minutes from London, UK).