Four myths busted in the printing business

The printing business isn’t what it used to be. And, that’s a good thing.

Today’s business environment is a testament to technology being an instrument of change, but for business and technology to truly align for the greater benefit of both, many organizations must acknowledge and move on from legacy thinking and habits that are based on the way business used to be done. Technology advancements can lead to lingering myths, and busting those myths is a step toward realizing harmony between business and technology.

From touch screens and mobile solutions to document management services, the possibilities and opportunities for the print industry and all industries it affects have grown. Yet myths in the colour printing industry linger and, ultimately, still affect critical business decisions. 

We’ve identified some of those common industry myths: 

      1. You have to print large quantities to make it cost effective.
      2. You need a professional designer to get the right colour.
      3. You need a dedicated person to manage new colour jobs.
      4. It’s going to be a problem integrating it with the rest of my IT environment. 

The idea that cost effectiveness with colour printing can only be achieved by printing large quantities may have been true in the past. But today, new print technology enables print on demand, short runs and the flexibility to customize individual pieces or personalize mass quantities. So it is important to point out that once a new piece of technology is purchased, a best practice is to fully understand the device’s additional features and functions. Additionally, an investment of this kind up front can result in significant cost savings at the end of the year.

There is a lingering perception that only professional designers can truly get the right colour on print jobs. Accuracy and consistency is essential, but technology now eliminates the need to worry about colour management. With digital technology, users can produce accurate, consistent and repeatable output with affordable technology.

Another common misconception in the colour printing world is that managing new colour print jobs requires a dedicated person. Digital printing technology is far less labour intensive than it used to be, and dealers can now rely on key automation features such as higher capacity paper trays and benefits like greater online finishing options such as multi-position hole punching, stapling, and folding. 

Finally, integrating a new multi-function device within an existing IT environment no longer creates the usual challenges and workflow complications of yesterday’s equipment. New digital devices integrate seamlessly and securely with existing technology with little-to-no IT support. Solutions include software features like network management tools and controlling devices to monitor usage. Embedded controllers allow for easy integration with enterprise workflow, while software platforms allow for the development of personalized document management solutions. Document management features are accessible and leverage existing infrastructure and databases, such as accounting, security, and/or archiving systems.

Beyond colour printing myths, there is another misconception that lingers – that the printing industry is all about pushing paper. In a way, the “paperless office” as we had imagined it several years ago was a myth in and of itself. The goal wasn’t to print less – it had to do with scanning more. Scanning technology is just one of the ways that paper reduction can be achieved while simultaneously improving document management practices within your organization or business.

In addition to hardware, technological innovations in the printing industry have led us to a new reality that involves cutting edge software to help organizations reduce waste, cut costs, and achieve greener business practices. Similarly, there are skilled people providing valuable expertise through advanced document management services that can have a direct impact on the bottom line.

A 2002 Queen’s University study showed that poor document management costs were tied to almost $50 billion in lost productivity among professional employees, managers and executives in Canada. Today, businesses have digitized business processes for more efficient archiving, optimized printing, and overall improvements to the flow of documents within organizations, and between organizations.

Improvements in document management can be measured in real business benefits. More and more business leaders are realizing that organized document management, such as product lifecycle communication services, can cut costs by 30 per cent; streamline processes to improve cost calculation and control, and lead to short and long term savings that lead to a greener environment for businesses and organizations.

Recognizing and addressing lingering misconceptions by indentifying the untruths and updating outdated views, is key to ensuring the business potential of new technologies are fully realized.

Some still say business is inefficient. I look forward to the day when we can bust that myth for good.

Tom Oldfield is vice-president of Xerox Canada’s graphic communications operations.

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