Expand Your Inkjet Education
As an increasing number of in-plants look to implement production inkjet printing within their business, it has become more obvious inkjet is a disruptive technology that is rewriting many former industry paradigms. Successfully implementing production inkjet technology means changing the entire culture of your business and taking a fresh approach to your workflow, software, finishing, product applications and sales efforts.
Because of the disruptive impact of production inkjet technologies, the Production Print Solutions division of Canon Solutions America is on a quest to educate the market about inkjet technology.
“At Canon Solutions America, we believe inkjet technology is the future of the printing industry. According to I.T Strategies, production inkjet is expected to account for 60% of all digital impressions by 2020. Despite these staggering statistics, we know there is still a high learning curve involved in adopting production inkjet and there is a need to education within the printing industry,” says Eric Hawkinson, senior director of marketing at Canon Solutions America, Production Print Solutions.
Because of this, Canon Solutions America took on the task of publishing three different books covering various inkjet topics and launching thINK (link), a production inkjet networking and knowledge sharing industry user group.
Hitting the Books
Three books are currently available: “The Designer’s Guide to Inkjet” (2014), “The Inkjet Edge: How to Transition Your Business to Inkjet” (2016) and “Inkjet Workflow: How to Make Your Work Flow… Efficiently” (2017). “The books are great for anyone in the industry — from people who are just taking the first steps to learn about production inkjet, to people who own and operate inkjet devices and are looking to improve their operations,” says Hawkinson. “The books are easily accessed through our website pps.csa.canon.com and available in the Printing Impressions online book store. They can also be a good reference that PSPs can take back to their businesses and share with their entire operation.”
The first book, “The Designer’s Guide to Inkjet”, is a comprehensive resource for agency and in-house designers looking to optimize their work for high-speed, production inkjet technologies. A compendium of information, the Guide consists of guiding principles, best practices and real-world recommendations related to the world of inkjet. Included is practical information on inks, media, color gamut values and more. Canon Solutions America wrote the book in collaboration with Elizabeth Gooding of Insight Forums and Mary Schilling of Schilling Inkjet Consulting.
“At Canon Solutions America, we're committed to developing industry-leading resources that help ensure the success of our customers and our customers’ clients,” says Francis A. McMahon, vice president, marketing, Production Print Solutions division of Canon Solutions America. “‘The Designers’ Guide for Inkjet’ will help create a more seamless workflow between an agency or in-house designer and a printer, thus increasing profitability for everyone involved.”
The response from the printing industry to this book has been overwhelmingly positive. “When we released our first book, ‘The Designers Guide to Inkjet,’ we only printed a limited number, not expecting to have demand enough to distribute them all. We ended up doing additional print runs and ultimately distributed 7,500 books. We then created a digital version of this book and have seen more than 1,100 of downloads of the digital version,” says Hawkinson. (link to digital book)
“I see inkjet as the next major technological leap in production printing and would suggest all printers carefully investigate it to see where it fits for their company,” says Chuck Werninger, senior manager, administrative services, Houston Independent School District. “’The Designer’s Guide to Inkjet’ really helped us learn the critical skills required to design projects for the best results with inkjet printing.”
This first book was followed up with two other publications in 2016 and 2017.
Released in 2016, “The Inkjet Edge – How to Transition Your Business to Inkjet” is a comprehensive resource dedicated to companies that are investigating a transition to production inkjet technologies, but also for those that have already done so and are seeking ways to make their transition even more successful. Jointly published by Canon Solutions America and thINK, an independent community of Canon Solutions America Production Print customers, solution partners and print industry experts, the book is a comprehensive collection of inkjet related topics including: Production inkjet opportunity, inkjet justification process, data-driven marketing messages, paper and the impact of ink, finishing, workflow integration, organizational effects of inkjet, application opportunities and much more. Already 7,200 printed copies have been distributed along with 430 digital copies. Obtain your printed copy via the Printing Impressions bookstore or a digital version via the Canon Solutions America website.
"One of the key objectives of thINK is to provide an educational forum that enables our members to share best practices and learn from each other, industry leaders, and solution partners," says Mark DeBoer, president of the thINK board and Director of Customer Experience at Darwill. "This book captures the knowledge and insights of some of the most successful inkjet service providers in the country.”
The newest book, “Inkjet Workflows – How to Make Your Work Flow…Efficiently” was also collaboratively published by Canon Solutions America and thINK and is designed to help companies that are looking to integrate production inkjet technology into their print shop, while also providing readers with in-depth research and discussions about all steps within the production workflow process.
With “Inkjet Workflows – How to Make Your Work Flow…Efficiently” print service providers will be able to leverage their strengths, identify process gaps and create plans to fill those gaps, and therefore running more efficient operations, especially when contemplating the integration of a new production inkjet press. A streamlined, cost and time efficient workflow can be a huge competitive differentiator. By learning to take as many steps out of the overall process and eliminating as many human touches as possible, print service providers can reduce costs, improve margins and shorten overall production time to become a more cost efficient producer.
To obtain a copy of your own, visit the Printing Impressions bookstore for a printed copy.
Expanding Educational Opportunities
For Canon Solutions America, the live events serve a different — but complimentary — purpose. “The thINK Conference is one step further into that education about inkjet – it’s for print service providers who are actively considering purchasing an inkjet device or for current customers trying to learn how to achieve more with their inkjet presses,” says Hawkinson. “The event is an immersive and intense three days of learning, but it offers a rich learning experience that transcends what is available through a book.”
The learning environment is much richer as participants get the opportunity to ask questions and have in-depth discussions in real time. Furthermore, at an event like the thINK Conference, attendees can create their own agendas by selecting topics that are relevant to their job and printing segment.
“The response to the annual thINK Conference has been equally rewarding,” says Hawkinson. “For the second annual conference, we welcomed over 400 attendees to the event in South Florida and we expect to exceed that number at this year’s event in October.”
For this year’s thINK Conference, the thINK board of directors is working together with customers to create content that is new and relevant to today's inkjet world. This year, attendees will also have the ability to suggest topics. The Canon Solutions America and the thINK Board are currently seeking session topics from attendees — topics they feel they need more education on — which will then be built out into the content and delivered at the event. “In years past our topics have focused on evaluating if your business is right for inkjet or making the transition to inkjet. We will still cover those topics, along with sales and marketing, but we will also move beyond to topics including preparing inkjet workflows, migrating applications from toner to inkjet and the cost evaluation of toner vs. inkjet, and adopting production inkjet in commercial printing environments,” says Hawkinson. The thINK Board also has plans to have two tracks — Sheet Fed and Continuous Feed — that will give attendees deeper insights into how inkjet will transform their businesses.
The growth of the production color inkjet market has surpassed everyone’s expectations. Through the series of books on production inkjet and the comprehensive live education provided by the annual thINK Conference, print providers have a variety of avenues to discover how inkjet continues to evolve and explore all of the new opportunities enabled by this new technology.
Denise Gustavson is the Editorial Director and Special Projects Editor for the Printing & Packaging Group, which includes Printing Impressions, packagePRINTING, In-plant Graphics and Wide-Format Impressions magazines, among other brands. She is also the Editor-in-Chief of Wide-Format Impressions.