Inkjet Summit Lesson: Risk of Not Investing in Inkjet is Too Great
During the closing remarks of the 2019 Inkjet Summit, Marco Boer (I.T. Strategies) had a distinct message: if you want to grow in print, the [inkjet] choice is clear.
"I'm very confident that this is the place to be," he said of inkjet. "It's not that big a risk."
On the other hand, the risk of not investing in inkjet is getting higher.
Boer expounded on that message with a series of five key takeaways from the three-day event that took over the Ponte Vedra Inn and Club in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., April 8-10.
- First, he said, "there is a clear role for inkjet" that is being driven by the rising cost of labor, the need for automation and the desire for more data utilization.
- Boer moved on to explain that although there are attendees looking into their first inkjet investment, the second wave of adopters has already started. As the competition has become more skilled in the use of inkjet, he said the "risk of not investing [in inkjet] has become too great."
- Although the growth of inkjet has been a key theme at Inkjet Summit in the past, Boer said that the growth may actually be greater than originally forecast. "The tipping point of inkjet could happen much faster than our data predicted," he told the attendees.
- The fourth takeaway Boer shared with the audience was that the profit from inkjet is no longer going to come from the quality of the product, rather it will come from the most timely and relevant use of data. "Beautiful print quality has now become a given, so the differentiator will be data and how it is used," he said. However, there is a fine line between relevant and the use of too much data: "Don't be creepy!" he said.
- Finally, it's not just about investing in an inkjet press, he advised. "It's a far more complicated decision than it may have appeared originally," he said. The investment process must involve investing in new pre- and post-processes, which involve research and understanding.
The decision to invest in inkjet is worth the time it takes though, Boer stressed, "if you want to be on the growth curve of things, inkjet is it."
Boer closed out his key takeaways with his favorite quotes from the event, including "don't make the new look like the old." Yes, quality and consistency is key when it comes to print, but Boer explained that if you're pitching new inkjet technology to your customer as a high-quality, cost-efficient solution, they might wonder where their savings are with the technology.
"You have to do something new," he advised.
Boer also pointed to an observation an attendee had about automation as a key advantage with inkjet, but also a key consideration. "It's all about automation, but automation is complicated," he said. "Don't automate everything, but automate what you can."
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To wrap up the wrap-up, Boer confessed he had developed his own "favorite quote" based on what he had gathered on inkjet both from the event and his own experience.
"Inkjet technology is a complex, multi-disciplinary science," he said. "It is an on-going process of further extending the marriage of chemistry, physics, mechanical and electrical engineering to address an ever greater range of applications that can be printed digitally."