Modern Technology – Changing The Future of Print and Distribution
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 to 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 publication production and fulfillment?
It means you may need to rethink your current print and fulfillment process. The traditional model was one of specialization. You may have had one company printing shorter runs, another company printing 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. Using advanced print technology, the better model brings the print production and fulfillment processes 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 and enter them into an inventory, only to repack and ship them to the final destination. You just lost all the cost and time saving of the print-on-demand process.
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 to 1000 units, and is capable of handling your fulfillment needs, as well. This way, you can take advantage of everything modern technology has to offer: cost-effective short runs, quick turnaround times, high-quality print and fewer vendors. For most people this is a win, win, win.
However, 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, you have greater flexibility. If you run into a situation where you’ve used up the 500 units and know you’re going to do a revision in a few weeks, you can simply print 30 units and hold the longer run for the next revision. Or, if you have some publications where printing 5 units makes sense and other publications where printing 500 units makes sense, the single vendor models allows you to take advantage of the cost savings for the shorter run publication. This model gives you much more flexibility and lower costs.
Modern technology is making us re-look at a lot of things in our lives. It might be time to rethink your book printing, publishing and fulfillment process using a modern technology approach.
image resource: http://printingimpacts.blogspot.com
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