The Digital Rationale


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It wasn’t that long ago that digital printing was in its infancy. Printers who embraced digital at the outset were seen as teetering on the edge of technology. Now, many printers have embraced digital printing not simply for its benefits, but also as a strategy for long-term success.

With projections indicating continued rapid growth, let’s take a look at digital printing’s many advantages when compared to traditional printing technologies.

Brought to you by Mohawk MakeReady, this presentation can be used by your printing business for internal training initiatives.

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  • It wasn’t that long ago that digital printing was in its infancy. Printers who embraced digital at the outset were seen as teetering on the edge of technology. Now, many printers have embraced digital printing not simply for its benefits, but also as a strategy for long-term success. With projections indicating continued rapid growth, let’s take a look at digital printing’s many advantages when compared to traditional printing technologies. Brought to you by Mohawk MakeReady, this presentation can be used by your printing business for internal training initiatives.
  • There are several advantages of offset printing: The unit cost goes down as the quantity goes up. It’s cost effective in high volume jobs. You can print on various substrates, weights, textures. But digital can offer even more: The speed in which the job can be produced. The proof is the job, there is never a question on how it will look on press. Digital provides true inventory management. Customization is easy and doesn’t cost more to achieve. A key advantage with digital printing is that a number of steps required in the traditional manufacturing process are eliminated. There’s no need for plates, make-ready or playing around with ink tack, fountain solution or color. The first pull from the press can be the proof that goes to the customer—there’s no need to proof the project on another piece of equipment.
  • Given the current economic climate, cost is certainly a consideration for clients. Digital printing, or on-demand printing has several advantages over offset printing in this area. First and foremost: Printing EXACTLY the number of pieces required saves money and reduces wasted space, resources and paper. Plus, digital prepress costs are usually lower than conventional prepress because the digital workflow eliminates many of the manual operations of conventional prepress. And with digital printing, there’s no need for steps such as plate making and make-ready, although preparing print applications on the computer and processing them through the RIP may still be time consuming. The exception? When you’re looking at higher quantities with no personalization. Certainly on a short run job done on a conventional offset press, the lengthy make-ready time adds a considerable cost to the total price—so the cost per piece is higher than digital. However, with offset, as the quantity increases, the price decreases, so when the quantity is large enough, the price per piece could be lower than a digitally printed job of the same quantity.
  • With traditional printing, companies need to approximate need and often end up having to throw out leftover or overrun printed materials when the information becomes outdated. This waste costs money—and costs the environment. With corporate responsibility all the buzz, everyone is trying to do their part to preserve the environment and ecological balance of our planet. On-demand, web-to-print and custom variable digital printing solutions are dramatically decreasing wasted space, resources and importantly—paper and the environment. Today, it’s not enough to just print—those of us that want to thrive in this business need to do more. Offering clients personalized printing solutions allows you to partner with them in their efforts to be responsible corporate citizens. Mohawk MakeReady Tip: use the Mohawk Environmental Calculator to help your customers showcase their sustainability efforts.
  • One the most important benefits of digital print is the ability to personalize each impression. Variable Data Printing (VDP) offers marketers (who have a savvy print partner) the ability to utilize their customer databases like never before. Let’s take a larger run of say, 5,000 pieces. Each piece can be specifically targeted to a customer or prospect with information and imaging that is relevant to them alone. Numerous studies indicate this personalization, when executed properly within an integrated marketing campaign, can dramatically boost response rates (and ultimately close rates) increasing a clients’ ROI. With the ability to change any part of a printed piece, you now have the opportunity for a new revenue stream, taking over a job that traditionally was handled by Mailers. Presorting your client’s mail, or grouping by zip code, results in lower postage for your customers and increased income for you. Mohawk MakeReady Tip: Database management, cleansing and maintenance is critical to the success of a VDP campaign. Nothing is worse that receiving a variable piece with your name spelled incorrectly. Make sure you keep your database up to date and review the data multiple times.
  • In the digital work environment, proofing or printing a one off on a specialty substrate is easy and very cost effective. Labels, synthetic films, pre-converted substrates and magnetic materials are becoming more commonplace for digital applications. And the printer’s margins on these products are traditionally higher because they are perceived as higher value. In an offset environment, specialty substrates are few—Tyvek or Yupo the most common. Substrates such as these need special drying agents in the inks and special handling off press. Proofing for some specialty substrates using offset can be tricky and hard to replicate as a one off proof. As a leader in text and cover grades for digital, Mohawk has used its experience to launch the Mohawk Bravo Specialty substrates portfolio to create the most diverse portfolio for digital in the marketplace. This portfolio includes: pressure sensitive materials, synthetic materials, magnetic materials, and embedded card materials—all engineered for applications on digital production presses utilizing dry toner or HP Indigo ElectroInk. These specialty substrates give digital printers the opportunity to offer high value, high margin products, targeted for today’s vertical selling opportunities. Another example of a Specialty Paper for digital is Mohawk’s Panoramic Paper which is a hybrid product using a true technology (cohesive) on one side of the sheet, making sheets lay flat when pressed together. .
  • What can color do for a digital printer? Color gamut is a reference to the range of colors that can be viewed, displayed, or printed. Different means of viewing or displaying color have different capabilities in the ranges of color that can be reproduced. Let’s take the analogy of a crayon box when discussing gamut. Some printing presses provide you with a 24-crayon box, while others may provide you the 120-crayon box… but no printing press can provide you with the millions of crayons you would need to represent the colors of the RGB color space. Therein lies the rub. How can you achieve the most color representation possible with the press you own or intend to purchase? Both digital printing and offset printing can increase their gamuts by adding additional colors to the typical 4 color process, but inherently the 4 CMYK colorants of digital production presses have a wider potential gamut than traditional CMYK offset inks. Here, you have a key advantage as a digital press owner. Digital printing equipment is capable of reproducing a greater range of color than traditional offset technology. Digital equipment can offer spot colors, smoother transitions between colors and a press accurate proof. This also means more vibrancy and color saturation of the prints, making digital an excellent choice for high impact marketing collateral, POP displays, and short run packaging.
  • Digital has opened the door for printers to change the perception of print as a commodity item by offering higher-value products and exciting new profit centers. Here are four ways to obtain higher margins and give your customer increased value: 1. Premium pricing. The simplest digitally printed variable data jobs are often priced 25% higher than conventionally printed jobs. Complex applications can be up to 50% more expensive than conventionally printed (static) jobs. 2. Finishing accountability premium. Typically all of the documents in a variable data application are unique and in order--any errors in finishing that occur on even one document will necessitate the need for a reprint of the single document. If a finishing mistake occurs on a small quantity of pieces contained in a static application, there is usually enough of an overrun so that a reprint is not necessary. Think about a financial 401K statement. What if that statement was ‘devoured’ by a mishap in bindery. The mailing envelope is already printed and waiting to be stuffed. Think about the implications, both financially and legally, if you received someone else's statement in place of your own or didn’t receive one at all. A printer can charge a premium to ensure this level of accountability. 3. Database management--a brand new profit center. You’ve probably already grown your IT department staff and technology. Once you’re familiar with handling your client’s data, they may be less likely to go through the process again to find another printer. You have established a high level of trust with your customer through the service you provide. And guess what. It’s not only for printing. 4. Campaign management. Another new revenue source. Plus, selling and managing a PURL campaign can give you access to data to use in customer success stories or white papers.
  • By implementing effective cross-sell and up-sell campaigns, you can sell more to your existing customer base. With digital printing you’ll not only sell more, but you’ll also be increasing brand loyalty and market share at the same time.
  • And what about being able to proof projects on actual stock, whether it be colored, textured or a specialty substrate--now that’s powerful. Being able to take a file and output it as a poster, a tent card or a static cling window piece, give sales people the ability to cross sell or up-sell customers with an “add-on” sale. With your digital printing equipment, you now have the ability to make a one-off piece, printed on the actual stock, at any time. So take the opportunity to upgrade your stock. Studies have shown that based upon the tactile feel of certain substrates, end-users can have a perceived higher value of the printed product when higher quality substrates are used. All this new sales potential even comes with speed. Today, digital printers commonly provide printed projects same day to customers. One Las Vegas digital printer recently spoke about a 12-hour turnaround schedule. While not everyone is in a city that’s awake 24/7, faster and faster seems to be today’s mantra.
  • The press operator plays a key role in the quality of the final printed piece in both offset and digital printing. In offset, the specific job duties as a pressman vary, but they usually include communicating with a prepress technician, preparing equipment for the printing process, and overseeing the printing process to monitor print quality. As a digital press operator, it isn’t just loading paper and hitting print. A good digital press operator will take the time to learn how the press works and how the RIP functions when sending data to the printer. Unlike an offset press, however, most digital presses are packaged with a hardware service and support plan. This means that though the operator may have some quality control functions to perform, they won’t be required to break out a wrench to tighten a nip point with the blanket or add reducer or solvent to the ink fountain. This means less time holding a wrench and more time for your operator to be quality checking sellable jobs for your customers. Then from a supplies and equipment standpoint, there are even more advantages. Offset presses require more maintenance and the operator needs to have a deep understanding of printing chemistry, ink, water fountain solution. In digital, the chemistry is self contained (dry toner, liquid toner, or ink) and the process does not have as much operator involvement.
  • In order to be successful in the future, printers must be able to offer digital printing. The benefits are clear. • On-demand printing Personalization, VDP, In-house mailing capabilities Specialty substrates Wider color gamut Higher margin projects Shorter turnaround Short operator training Test marketing
  • Digital printing is changing…and fast. That’s why we created Mohawk MakeReady. A go-to place for guidance, insights and tools to keep you prepared for what’s next. There’s a reason we named this service MakeReady … a little irony, too. Taking a familiar industry term in a new direction, Mohawk MakeReady offers ways for you to make more efficient use of your time, material, people and entrepreneurial energy. To grow your digital printing business, you need to be prepared — with actionable information and tools — so your team can implement best business practices, craft effective sales strategies, and create opportunities to use and promote new high-value products. That’s what you’ll find here: an ever-expanding site , rich with content built on the experiences of digital printers like you. As a leading manufacturer of digital substrates, Mohawk brings you practical wisdom gained from our experience in sales, marketing, production, and operations. With how-to articles on marketing your business, videos on topics like precision sheeting, and PowerPoint presentations showcasing how to identify sales opportunities. All strategies you can put to work today. Talk to us. Let us know what’s on your mind. Mohawk MakeReady. Dedicated to making you ready for the exciting future ahead.
  • The Digital Rationale

    1. 1. Advantages that Matter September 2011
    2. 2. Digital Advantages for a Printer <ul><li>On-demand printing </li></ul><ul><li>Personalization, VDP, in-house mailing capabilities </li></ul><ul><li>Specialty substrates </li></ul><ul><li>Wider color gamut </li></ul><ul><li>Higher margin projects </li></ul><ul><li>Shorter turnaround </li></ul><ul><li>Short operator training </li></ul><ul><li>Ability to test market </li></ul>
    3. 3. On-demand printing Your customer can now have the exact amount of printed pieces, no more “overs or unders.” More often than not, you print 5% “overs” and either throw them in your recycle bin, or give them to the customer for free. How many of your customers have actually paid for “overs” on your invoice?
    4. 4. Reduced Waste: Enabled by digital print personalization Responsibility: Helping to preserve the environment
    5. 5. Personalization, VDP & In-house mailing More than just increased ROI!
    6. 6. Specialty Substrates Pressure Sensitive Synthetic Film Substrates Photo Papers Embedded ID Cards Panoramic, Layflat Papers Pre-converted Template Products
    7. 7. Digital Gamut: A larger box of crayons
    8. 8. High Margin, High Value: Go beyond commodity print products and show value
    9. 9. Digital is easier to up-sell than offset If you want to cross sell an offset job, you have an entirely new press run. With digital, you can output the same job on a number of specialty substrates and have a completely different application. Need an image or illustration
    10. 10. From Idea All digital print projects start somewhere To Reality Digital can easily bring your idea to life
    11. 11. Shorter Learning Curve Digital gets you off and running Digital presses commonly come packaged with a hardware service plan from the manufacturer. This means less time holding a wrench and more time for your operator to be quality checking sellable jobs for your customers.
    12. 12. Looking Ahead Digital is here to stay *Frank Romano via
    13. 13. Mohawk MakeReady provides practical tools and actionable information for digital printers like you. We can help… Visit: to browse content, request a meeting, or join the community.