Production Printing: Is it right for you?

Submitted by SOS Can Help on Thu, 02/ 08/ 18 - 03: 57 PM

Information on production printing is surprisingly challenging to come by, and there are several varying definitions and thresholds for distinguishing it. Generally, print jobs move from standard to production at around 110+ ppm (pages per minute) for black and white, and 70 ppm for color.

Are you a company that frequently changes its forms, prints mass invoices, or tax returns? Do customer catalogs, sales or marketing materials change frequently? If so, considering a production print system is a good idea. Examining your needs and qualifying the value of switching is easier than it sounds.


What is production printing, and who uses it?

If you thought that production printing was reserved only for companies who focus their efforts on distributing books, newspapers, and magazines, you aren’t alone. You may be surprised to discover that businesses from every walk of life use production print equipment. Situational examples can include companies who print:

  • Manuals, tests, forms, newsletters, reports, or even music
  • Marketing and sales collateral, catalogs, and brochures

If you are in the first list, then you most likely need a system that can print up to 250 pages per minute. Companies with this need are looking for efficient printing at high speeds. This is your option if there is not a heavy emphasis on color-matching and detail quality.

Individuals in the second list need a system that produce color-critical, high quality materials. These machines can handle the necessary workload while still producing the results required.


A Seemingly Unlikely Candidate:

Churches and other organizations with similar needs have discovered that production printing can save them time, money, and downtime in the long-run. There are many instances of large churches that have a weekly need to print around 10,000 bulletins each week for their services. When you add in a monthly newsletter, you get a surge each month of an additional 10,000 print jobs, amounting to 60,000 per month. Most of their printing is done once per week, however, so the thought of a large production printer seems wasteful.

The reality is that smaller multifunction printers aren’t built to handle that kind of volume in infrequent spurts, and the result is costly downtime and frustration for its users. In addition, the smaller machine's inefficiency requires more frequent toner replacement, and sometimes, a higher per month service cost. It is common to see less efficient machines serviced at higher rates, since it is more likely they will require maintenance more regularly.


Is a production print system more cost effective?

In short: it depends. Not every company that prints the type of materials listed above need the kind of volume necessary to make production print equipment a worthy investment. A single machine can run $50,000 to $1,000,000+, if it is purchased outright. As a company, you are not going to make an equipment investment that substantial unless there is a very good reason to do so. If you have a fleet of smaller multifunction printers (aka copiers) and a consistent need for printing higher volumes, then you may be a candidate for a switch and should reach out to a local copier dealer to learn more.

But there is additional value that can be found by investing. For instance, if you are a business or organization that does its printing through an external party, items such as marketing and sales collateral, posters, etc. often become additional waste. Most companies would rather order too much than not enough, because you never want to run out when the business needs it. This inevitably leads to leftovers when materials need to be updated (such as updating products, pricing, etc). That adds up over time. By moving to an in-house solution, you have the freedom to print only what you need, because you know that if you run out, getting additional sets of collateral is not difficult. In addition, the up-charge for having work completed by a printing service creates high added costs for simple jobs. The functionality of what you can do is also improved. For instance, most standard MFP’s cannot do full bleed printing, whereas some production systems can more closely give you the look you desire. Finishing equipment, such as folders, come standard on many models, as well as binding options (perfect for when you need large quantities and high-efficiency).

As a simple exercise, sit down and list all the areas in which you could save by switching. This should include more than the superficial and obvious answers (like service costs because your small printer fleet is too big, or because you do not have to pay for mark-ups when using a third-party). The results could point toward a new opportunity for your organization to increase its margins and/or efficiency. You may find yourself wishing you had switched a long time ago, as the cheaper option you are using now may not actually be the most cost effective.


More on production printers

READ: Copier Dealers vs. Manufacturers: 3 Myths Busted

Posted by SOS Can Help


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