Modern Technology – Changing The Future of Printing and Distribution

Published by Steve Manicor | Topics: Online Publishing, Print

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Modern technology is radically changing the way publications are printed, inventoried and distributed.  Modern print equipment has made it possible to print ultra short runs of 5-50 units at relatively cost-effective rates.  While it is still more economical on a per unit basis to produce longer runs, the gap is narrowing.

What does this mean for the person who manages the production and fulfillment of publications?

It means you may need to rethink your current print and fulfillment strategy and process.  The traditional model was one of specialization.  You might have one company print shorter runs, another company print longer runs and a separate company handling the fulfillment and distribution.

This traditional model made sense when production methods dictated that you had to print 1000 or more units to be cost effective. But with today’s technology this model makes less and less sense.  The better model using advanced print technology is one where you bring the print production and fulfillment process together in one location.

Why is this a better business model?

Today’s advanced digital printers can produce economical runs from 5 to 500 units on a single piece of equipment.  And with short-run print production it doesn’t make sense to produce 50 books, box them up, ship them across the state or country, unpack them, enter them into inventory, only to repack and ship to the final destination.  You just lost all the cost and time saving of the print on demand process.  You in effect add an incredible amount of cost and destroyed value by adding time in the process.

So how can you take advantage of modern print technology?

Seek a print vendor who can provide a wide range of cost-effective production runs, from 5-1000 units and is capable of handling your fulfillment needs as well.  This way you can take advantage of all that technology has to offer; cost-effective short runs, quick turn times, high-quality print and fewer vendors.  For most people this is a win, win, win.

This doesn’t mean you should only print ultra short runs.

If you know you’re going to need 500 units in a relatively short period of time it still makes sense to print 500 units.  But with this model, if you run into a situation where you used up the 500 units and know you’re going to do a revision in a few weeks you can simple print 30 units and hold the longer run for the next revision.  Or, if you have some publications where 5 units makes sense and other publications where producing 500 units makes sense the single vendor models allows you to take advantage of the cost saving for the shorter run publication. This model gives you much more flexibility and lower cost.

Technology is making us re-look at a lot of things in our lives; if it isn’t already time in your world, it might be time to rethink your book printing, publishing and fulfillment process using a modern technology approach.

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About Steve Manicor

Steve is Omnipress' Director of Business Development. He has over five years serving the meetings and training industry. He leads our product/service leadership and development teams. more

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