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Digital Printing: The Moment is Now

Posted on Monday, December 19th, 2016

The biggest issues for brands in North America is the use of more efficient and sustainable supply chains. The high number of SKUs brands come out with each year drive the focus on competitiveness and efficiency across their brands. These brands aim to compete by focusing on smaller and smaller segments of the market.

Thus the need for an increase in new designs—both structural and graphic. New designs and ordering in smaller lots are trending toward short run printing and converting. Digital solutions lend themselves toward this trend. One billion dollars was spent on digital output devices or printers in 2015.  Four billion was spent on converting product off these devices.

With the number of segmented packages required today, the digital solution is the most sustainable from a supply chain standpoint. This is not taking into consideration the purest material solutions from sustainable inks offered in this category. When a package needs to be printed on demand, the set up costs differ significantly from analog to digital. Speed to market lends itself toward a digital solution every time.

New design versions have made short run printing indispensable in converting business today.  Ordering in smaller quantities has contributed to this as well. The focus of product development by makers of both digital presses and work flow tools is speed to market.  According to Info Trends, 80% of brand owners see increases in the refresh rate.  The study went on to find that new product introductions and product refreshes take an average of six months to accomplish. Sometimes the wait is even longer than new launches.

Regulatory changes in labeling for ingredients and allergy warnings is one reason for the constant changes. The desire to change packaging to add visual appeal and target specific markets are another. The digital transformation is not only justified; it is now required.

General concerns for brand owners include reducing waste and costs, increasing supply chain efficiency, and reducing time to market for improved business agility. Digital print technologies are great options for addressing these concerns because print on demand reduces delays. Electronic integration of client and producers’ systems and key digital workflow tools can speed ordering and approval as well as reduce errors.

As this technology advances, we will see the advent of higher quality rivaling even the best analog printers.  This technology offers speed to market supply chain optimization.  It also allows the ability to refresh and revise packaging, sustainable ink solutions and further development with regard to print quality.  The digital solution is now the preferred choice of cutting edge brands and pioneering suppliers. The moment is now for the digital world.