A survey on digital printers in India was conducted to identify the constraints and potential solutions for improved performance and quality of digitally printed papers and machines. The stance of the printers’ on their paper buying decision with regard to the following key factors like price, runnability, availability, appearance, print quality etc. The characteristics that were utmost important while making a purchase were price, quality, runnability and appearance. The maximum consideration is given to the branded papers when asked about the type of papers used by them. Almost every printer does all sorts of job applications like marketing & promotional material, quick printing, direct mail, proofing, books, manuals, specialized application etc. Digital print providers are most interested in an extended product range, with more sizes, finishes, and basis weights available for their digital presses.
Digital printing technologies are rapidly replacing traditional offset for many forms of print solutions. This signifies more than a production shift. It represents a radical marketing shift & this is occurring because digital print production enables marketers to produce applications and manage their documents in ways not possible or cost-effective with offset. This report examines how digital print technologies are reshaping print marketing by changing cost structures, changing document management models, and driving customization and personalization. Points are illustrated and special emphasis is placed on the importance of changing the way marketers evaluate the printing sector. Also the Report concludes with best practices and strategies for success.
A telephonic survey with digital print providers has been done. Following an exploration of printer’s demographics, questions were asked to understand how and why different papers are selected for digital printing jobs, factors which influence their paper buying behavior, their challenges and expectations. The following categories were explored:
- Paper grades commonly used for digital printing jobs
- Time span of business
- Number of digital printing equipments
- Factors which affect brand decisions
- Relative importance of different paper properties and characteristics
- Paper characteristics are need to be improved, and
- Limitations imposed by digital press.
- Digital print shops and marketing services providers
- Digital press and other vendors
The main aim of the present study is to accomplish the following objectives:
- To find out the perception of the digital printer’s regarding factors influencing their paper buying behavior
- To find out the awareness of the digital printers regarding new technologies and applications
- To understand the satisfaction level of the digital printers and their expectations.
CHALLENGES FACED BY THE DIGITAL PRINTERS
This survey reviews the literature relating to the issues faced by the digital printing industry in India, in particular. The survey discusses the main challenge of technology and business services by showing how the drivers of this industry are aware about the new developments and applications. The survey looks at how printers & print buyers should be made aware about the industry that facilitates knowledge, information sharing, communication and integration with customers in today’s highly networked and digitalized market. A printing service provider can perform many applications including commercial printing, book printing, banner printing, brochure printing, print digital photos, personalized & variable content, business card printing, security printing and many other special applications.
1. Lack of awareness: Several consumers are unacquainted about the new and special applications coming in way of digital printing. There is lack of awareness among the users about the possibilities that digital printing can offer to its customers. Various high-end technologies are available in the market and each is suitable for doing a different job. People should be knowledgeable about capabilities of different machines & getting the jobs done through correct machines.
2. Quality of paper: Many times the quality of the paper is not up to the mark as required for printing. Also the improper packaging and mishandling of the paper affects its quality which in turn make the production suffer.
3. Technological Tribulations: Technological faults lead to breakdown of machines for a long time subsequently loss in productivity and a setback for printers as it affects the profitability & relations with the customers due to delayed deliveries. Another huge problem faced with the technology is its maintenance. It’s complicated as their parts are sensitive and these machines are advanced equipped with latest technology.
4. Paper choking: At times paper gets choked in the machine and creates a lot of internal problems in the machine which hampers the expected life & quality of the machine. This severely affects the on-going production as the choked paper is needed to bring out and then re-start the entire process again which escorts to loss in quality and delayed delivery of work.
5. Market scenario: Penetration of digital presses is increasing, making the market more competitive. Anticipating the highflier market potential, people are installing digital equipment, without calculating their capital investment and other expenses like fixed cost, variable cost and depreciation of machines. Ultimately expelling the market by selling at low price and compromising on profits.
6. Just in Time: Digital technology is considered as a quick service mechanism. It is a flexible unit which provides high-speed jobs within the specified time to their customers. There is always a bell ringing on the top of the operator and is required to fulfill the jobs on time which is tough to do always.
7. Non- availability of paper: Paper is the primary raw material for printing and the non availability of this material brings a lot of trouble. Keeping the consumption in mind advance stock of papers are stored which adds up to the inventory cost. Further the availability of economical unbranded paper has reduced the market size of superior quality papers which has in turn reduced the paper traders interest in stocking quality branded grades.
8. Recession: Every person in an industry is a buyer of print but due to the recession the industries are cutting the print & marketing budgets drastically as a part of cost cutting policy profit trade. Market is departing in the downward track due to recession prevailing in the digital printing industry.
9. Point of shift to offset: Cross over point from Digital to Offset is less than 300 impressions in India but it is more than 2000 in US, hence short run market is limited.
10. Re-sale of old machinery: Investment in the new technology is really expensive, everybody can’t think for the brand new machines. Selling of the used digital equipments is a great challenge as their re-sale value is minimal and is sold at throw away prices.
The digital printing community suggest some viable solutions for the challenges they face. Along with that they expressed the further expectations from technology providers, paper manufacturers and the industry as a whole.
1. Online UV coating is one thing that is present in offset printing, but introduction of the same in the digital printing will make the work effortless and attractive.
2. Paper Quality: Every person doing the job of digital printing desires the best quality paper to provide outstanding results to their customers. Hence, the quality of the paper should be improved. The high-quality and other special papers should be easily accessible in the market at reasonable prices.
3. Technology: Multiple application equipments should be introduced. Up-to-the-minute technology should now be launched in digital printing to thump the growing competition and attain economies of scale. The processing speed of the machines should be flying in order to complete the jobs before time. Cost of technology, software, its running cost, ink cost and other solutions should be reduced which will eventually lend a hand in growing the digital printing industry. The services provided by the distributors should be fast and improved.
4. Magnitude of machinery: The size of the paper should be enlarged to make possibility of further different applications.
5. Awareness: Both the consumers and the users are required to be aware about the digital machine applications & its capabilities with supportive softwares which will lead to increase in business for digital printing in the market.
6. Organized sector: The size of the industry should be monitored from time to time in order to eradicate any fragmentation. So, the need to work as an organized sector arise.
Number of digital press
Respondents identifies with the number of digital machines used by them to carry out the printing applications, the major chunk of printers (55%) owns a single machines. The printers employing 2 machines portion out the market with (32%) marker share. The printers with 3 or 4 machines were sharing the market more or less equally with (7%) and (6%) respectively. The analysis shows that the people with less degree of market share (7% & 6%) have foreseen the potential in digital printing industry and made a continuous investment by employing 3 or more machines. The major portion of market with 87% is jointly is held by the initial starters employing 1 or 2 machines.
Type of jobs
Respondents identified the types of jobs produced with digital printing; the leading categories ranked as a “major portion” of the business were Marketing and Promotional Materials, Quick Printing Applications, and Specialized Application which are tailored according to the consumer. When asked to indicate only one predominant job type, the leading application is again Marketing and Promotional Materials (86%), followed by Quick Printing (82%), Specialized Applications (72%), and Books, Manuals, Periodicals and Direct mail with (63%) each, Proofing (57%). The outcome of above analysis shows that most of the printers’ executes diversified portfolio of applications.
Respondents when asked about the preference of paper used by them were identified as using both branded and unbranded with a share of (48%). But, when analyzed out of the whole index respondents were more inclined towards branded paper (43%). Therefore, it is necessary for the paper industry to upgrade themselves in the perspective of technology, quality, service, price, knowledge, competition and thereby offering better product portfolio.
Type of paper
Respondents identified in area of paper grade categories which are used for digital printing and their frequency of its use. Coated gloss is the leading grade (90%), followed by coated matte (85%), and premium uncoated (75%). The frequency of using paper like premium bond (57%), tinted/colored (53%), recycled (48%) is fair but the quantum is limited. The paper like coated high gloss (46%), coated satin (31%), and uncoated (21%) were used in squat amount.
Factors Considered in Paper Buying
Runnability (96%) and print quality (98%) were the most important factors identified by the respondents statistically as these are the parameters on which customer’s satisfaction depends. Price (64%) was found not to be a leading factor in the purchase decision for these digital grades in this survey as normally, it is the most important factor in any purchase decision. The availability of the grades (85%) and appearance (88%) were the second most important aspect highlighted by the respondents.
Number of years
Respondents identified with the life span of their working in the industry. We found that the respondents in the first 5 years are above 80% reason being boost in digital printing industry in the recent years. The numbers of respondents doing digital printing business for more than 5 years is very less as people were not fully aware of the technology and were hesitant in making investment in new printing vertical.