In the six month of the year 2013, more than 22,000 people made their way tow London and deliberated on how vibrant wide format print was. There are however, three major reasons why the wide format print is increasingly gaining popularity among people, this may be as a result of increased demand to meet customer demands as need for commercial printer specialist.
There is also a wide rate of technological development in the area of wide format print. This has therefore resulted into wide opportunities for market as new ways of package prototyping as well as fabric printing emerge each day.
There is however a problem, despite the speed of production and resolution improving each day, the rate at which the devices are being integrated into wider owner business and production workflow has been largely neglected.
The majority of wide-format printers is operated as stand-alone devices, often with one RIP per machine, and is isolated from other print production workflows or MIS/ERP systems. Products to facilitate this integration are available, but lack of customer focus, awareness or trust in automation have been barriers to their uptake.
The printing cost is only a small amount of cost to the total cost incurred when it comes to wide format printing as its finishing are generally very elaborate. Just like most complex jobs, most one off jobs require more elaborate planning, shipping and creative input in order to have a good finished product. Most of the producers of wide format print are very reluctant in accepting automation as the norm of this kind of jobs is customerization.
This manual approach can lead to inefficiencies in production management, and may result in material wastage and quality inconsistencies both between devices and over time. Inability to load-balance work across different machines because color matching cannot be achieved reliably can cause delays and waste production capacity, leaving some machines idles while others are running full-time.
Over time, the areas in the production process that are manual usually call for additional costs which are not included win the cost of production oftenly. Job costing models based on ‘per square metre’ pricing can lead to work being done at a loss, especially where time spent on file preparation before output is not recorded. Lack of detailed information about job set-up times and finishing operations, with missing or inaccurate media consumption figures make it difficult to analyse where bottlenecks are occurring and where money is being made or lost.
As the wide-format print provider market becomes more crowded and competitive, margins will come under increasing pressure as they have in offset print.