Finishing has arrived! According to a 2017 Caslon survey of print service providers who primarily use digital presses, “finishing is a top choice with 65% of the respondents signaling a plan to invest. Quick printers and commercial printers with more than 10 employees are also making heavy investments in finishing.”

finishing

Trends show finishing should be an urgent consideration for digital printers.

InfoTrends and MCT Technologies released a recent white paper on finishing technologies. The bottom line, “Finishing is not an option, but a must for digital printing to march forward.”

One key point made many times in the white paper is that innovations in pre- and on-press technologies from substrate to print speed, will not solve printers’ workflow challenges unless they invest equally in finishing: “Without continuous, significant increases in cutting capacity, material versatility, speed, and material handling automation, continued investment in faster and wider printers may prove fruitless, eventually eroding growth and profits.”

What prompted the urgency?

Overwhelming evidence shows that print buyers prefer a ‘package deal’ and the report says, “In today’s one-stop business environment, finishing has quickly become a minimum requirement.”

One last point on the report, “Automation is becoming a critical component. As printed materials get wider and longer, manual finishing methods are becoming woefully inadequate to meet acceptable costs and deadlines…As many PSPs [print service providers] operate and thrive on offering short delivery times, it is critical that the finishing processes (e.g., cutting or routing) do not become major bottlenecks that delay delivery and invoicing.”

Digital finishing offers a competitive edge.

Compared to older digital finishing equipment that tied up the production line, today’s advances allow it to easily work in-line, near-line or off-line. Added benefits include short set-up times, quicker throughput, production flexibility, reliability, and the ability to connect to many devices.

Digital also provides:

  • Consistent quality. (Traditional finishing tends to treat pieces rougher and can cause scuffing.)
  • Capability to cut, fold, stitch, drill, punch, collate, and UV coat in-house, allowing for faster turn-around and keeping the product in the facility. (Especially important for sensitive customer data.)

Things to keep in mind before buying.

  1. Survey your current customers and prospects. What finishing needs do they want most? Each application may need a different capability. Also, think back to lost bids and other opportunities rejected due to lack of finishing capabilities in-house.
  2. Research your options with equipment vendors you trust. Review their product information and make a face-to-face appointment to sort through your needs. Also, consider discussion about workflow solutions to make sure your productivity meets expectations.
  3. Think marketing and promotion. Be bold and repetitive on letting your customers know about the new finishing services. Email, send samples, educate your sales team—and promote new offerings on the web.

Digital finishing—get on board.

Thanks to the marketing industry, the print industry is 50 times the size of the music industry and growing! New digital print processes are feeding marketing solutions to a hungry industry and their customers.

Digital finishing along with other digital printing technology is providing the agility and transparency modern marketers seek. Even paper books, magazines and catalogs, thought to go by way of the dinosaurs, are still here and seeing major growth! Based on digital finishing evidence, now is the time to board what appears to be a fast-moving train. What are you waiting for?