These times will be etched in the memory of many entrepreneurs for a very long time, for various reasons. Many had to rethink their core business, others found their way to online business, which allowed them to tap into a wider and more international audience. This trend was also noticeable in the graphics sector. In addition, something else quickly became apparent, namely an even greater acceleration towards sign and large-format products. This phenomenon was not limited to digital printers. For some time now, offset printers have also been looking for a broader interpretation of their applications and have seen opportunities in the market for large-format and sign applications. This allows them to offer their existing customers a new range of possibilities and to tap into new markets and customers.
Growth market, both for printers and their customers
Logically, the sign and large-format business is and remains an interesting market. Not only are the margins generally attractive, but - despite the current crisis - the sign market remains steadfast. The rapid technical evolution of production equipment, such as printers and finishing gear, provides more and more new opportunities. Although there are many different forms of printing, each with its marketing advantages, large-format printing can be the most effective form when produced with appropriate equipment and used correctly. Some of the advantages of large-format printing for end-users are:
- Visual impact: Large images can be seen from a distance and have a greater effect on the audience. High-quality printed images are also more attractive than other options.
- Cost-effective: While magazine and newspaper advertisements are expensive and not always efficient, large-format printing has a high return on investment and does not require large orders.
- Versatility: There are hardly any limits when it comes to sizes and materials to print on.
- Longevity: Large format printing has a longer ‘shelf life’ than other marketing communications. No more faded posters or discarded flyers or pamphlets.
- Attractive: Digital printing technology has come a long way. Sparkling colours and clear images make for eye-catching images that attract attention.
The challenges of sign and large-format
So, sign and large-format printing does not have any drawbacks? On the contrary, because often the accompanying and supporting administration goes wrong.
Offset printers or digital printers looking to expand their market would do well to take a close look at their administrative workflow. Especially before they get carried away with a new piece of hardware. Because although this also concerns 'printing', sign and large-format comes with a very specific administration and set of parameters. Apart from considering the whole range of differences in the organisation. Think of this:
- Sign & large-format often involves expensive materials. A printer should think carefully about which hard and/or flexible materials he intends to process and choose suitable equipment accordingly.
- There is hardly such a thing as standard formats. In the materials, yes, but not in the applications. The variations are endless.
- Print runs are often very limited and very diverse. 'Print run: 1' is no exception.
- The finishing is often an underexposed aspect and frequently the bottleneck. This is regularly labour-intensive work with many different (small) devices that all represent a cost and workload. Subcontracting is therefore commonplace.
- Another very important aspect of the large-format industry is delivery, installation, and logistics. Because the work does not stop at the workshop or the printing office. The customer wants quick delivery and correct installation at, often, several locations.
Choose the right administrative drive!
It is therefore understandable that an offset printer is rather cautious about this 'non-industry' venture or broadening of the market. Fortunately, there is the reliable 'chassis' of MultiPress. The MIS/ERP system not only understands the differences of each graphical market segment, but also knows how to address them. So, the offset printer can start expanding the market from the comfort of his own MultiPress installation.
For example, the pre-calculation and costing of large-format orders is not straightforward and is therefore often not done in sufficient detail. Are all the working hours linked to an order calculated? Is the actual cost of materials and inks taken into account? That can vary considerably. In addition, the finishing, subcontracting, delivery, and installation of an order is often a tricky point.
The MultiPress 'Large Format' module ensures that all the specific requirements for the smooth processing of sign and large-format printing are met in full:
- Correct calculation of the costs by transparently calculating the speed of the machines and the price of materials, such as ink and #m² material. Because the module considers the classification of the material to be processed and per machine, the result is a more accurate production time, which makes the planning even more correct.
- By means of a straightforward link to the finishing department, all variables are simply carried through the system. Without a doubt, this is a huge time saver for production and calculation! Extra automation is also provided for the calculation of the separate parts if the customer requests a format that is larger than the material format. Think for example of facade cladding...
- Creating complete campaigns with predefined parameters is child's play. Similar orders, including quotations and invoicing, are thus started with a few mouse clicks. For this purpose, the finishing operations and material consumption are directly linked to the printed material. And so, a standard library is created, where print run and format are the variables.
- MultiPress incorporates the widest range of printing and processing technologies for the graphic arts industry and is the only one of its kind on the market.
- For printers who want a powerful, integrated workflow, MultiPress easily connects to solutions from major players in this market: materials (Vink, Antalis, Igepa, NautaSign, ...), e-business (Pressero, Woocommerce, Magento, Prindustry, ...), prepress print and marketing, print management, and more. ...), prepress print and finishing (Agfa, Enfocus, Tilia, Caldera, HP, Roland, Mimaki, Canon, SwissQPrint, Esko, ...), logistics and shipping (Unifaun, Transsmart, Bubmbal, ...), and finance (Exact, ScanSys, ...).
- With the award-winning MultiPress Installation App, you coordinate and keep in touch with the fitters at the customer's premises. In real time, user-friendly and without unnecessary administration. So, you keep full control over every job, right up to the delivered end result.
And all this, of course, ties in perfectly with MultiPress. This makes the administrative expansion of the existing core business - offset or digital - to sign and large-format printing a pleasant journey, not an obstacle course.
In short, if the 'expansion' of the business is also done at the level of administration with MultiPress-ERP/MIS for 'Large Format', you will arrive relaxed at your destination.