Making the Business Case for Inkjet
If you’re trying to decide if an investment in production inkjet printing equipment would be a practical business decision, Ravinder Birdi would probably tell you to take the leap.
“Go for inkjet. It’s fun. It’s easy. You won’t regret it,” he said confidently to a room of Inkjet Summit attendees.
Birdi, director of operations for Intersections, an identity protection company based in Chantilly, Va., sat on a panel of fellow production inkjet press owners at the Inkjet Summit to discuss the business justification process they went through to acquire inkjet. Printing Impressions Editor Mark Michelson moderated the discussion.
Birdi explained that Intersections’ decision to install an Océ VarioPrint i300 sheetfed inkjet press from Canon Solutions America in its in-plant was driven by the need for color, speed and quality. The process took a little more than a year, but he said it was a great decision, and Intersections is now an all-inkjet facility.
Many times, it’s customer demand that drives investments. At Formost mediaOne it was the needs of a long-time client that triggered the inkjet adoption process, said Alex Calpito, director of operations. When the Brampton, Ontario, company eventually made the decision to add an inkjet web press, Calpito said the company identified all applications that could possibly be transitioned to the press, ran a battery of tests and even had a group of individuals work together to evaluate the technology.
Working with a team from various departments is also a strategy Intersections employed. The in-plant worked with marketing and other departments to find out exactly what it would take to transition to the new technology. The team then went through the cost of acquisition and found a partner, but the final deciding factor was prudent to the business.
“In the end it was the cost per page that won the battle,” Birdi said.
Overall, the consensus among the panel was that production inkjet can provide opportunities and efficiencies to a printing business, however it also requires evaluation and understanding of the process.
Birdi suggested considering finishing equipment requirements up front and encouraged transparency with customers about the differences between inkjet and offset output quality.
Not only do complementary technologies need to be considered, Calpito explained the importance of thinking holistically about logistics within your shop. He suggested the need to think about electrical requirements and air conditioning before making a final decision, and stressed the importance of finding a vendor that can become a true partner.