Many document operations have decided to install a digital inkjet printer on their production floor, adding more printing capacity or enhancing their ability to do shorter print runs and still make a profit. Those are certainly worthwhile objectives. But there are other benefits of digital printing that may remain unexploited.
One of the obvious advantages of inkjet printing is eliminating the need to pre-print shells only to turn around and print on them a second time. Color inkjets can print the form overlays, logos, and graphics simultaneously with the variable data. The time saved by eliminating a separate print run is significant, as are items such as reduced material waste and regained warehouse space. Possibly overlooked is that a “white paper in” environment opens the door for extra savings that could never have been possible in an operation relying upon pre-printed paper stock.
Reducing the Constraints of Batch Processing
The concept of batch processing, which has always been an important part of high-volume document production, becomes less confining in a workflow based on inkjet printing. Assuming one can standardize on a common outbound envelope, a shop with sufficient document tracking control systems can sort large portions of the day’s work into optimum finishing or mailing sequences before printing. They can produce documents from many applications all at the same time.
Pro Production Manager enables companies to combine jobs and re-order pages to take full advantage of their investments in digital inkjet printers
Why is this important? Longer print runs are more efficient. Fewer stops and starts on the printing equipment means higher throughput. Shops can process more pieces in the same amount of time without a corresponding increase in labor. They may realize similar savings during the inserting step where longer runs also produce greater productivity.
Inkjet workflows can allow mailers to also achieve postage savings. Instead of dozens of small jobs every day, each qualifying for postage pre-sort discounts individually, a shop may produce two or three large mailing jobs. Higher volumes of mail can produce deeper postal delivery density than before. The average postage cost per mailing piece is thereby reduced.
Operations that run their own post-inserting mail sorting gear may find they can reduce the number of necessary sort scheme passes. This means the cutoff time for getting mail into the daily sort can be later in the day. Holding less mail until the next day increases the effectiveness of applications such as bills or collection notices. A positive impact on cash flow can result.
In some circumstances, the ability to merge documents formerly produced by separate print jobs can also lead to opportunities to combine multiple items addressed to the same household into a single communication. Messages formerly mailed in two or three separate envelopes can go as a single piece. The business consumes fewer envelopes and reclaims postage from eliminated mail pieces.
Replacing Inserts with Onserts
Creating onserts with color inkjet printers to replace some of the messages traditionally printed separately and inserted into envelopes can also lead to more efficient use of the equipment. A limited number of insert stations at many installations leads to strategies such as splitting inserting jobs to accommodate different combinations of pre-printed inserts. Competition for available insert stations can force an organization to delay planned promotional campaigns. An inkjet workflow can end those inter-departmental negotiations about who gets their inserts into this month’s billing run and who has to wait.
Switching from inserts to onserts is made easy with Transpromo Express
It may even be possible to downsize the inserting equipment, which has its own set of benefits. Removing stations from inserting machines makes the paper path shorter, reduces jams, lowers maintenance, reclaims floor space, and increases throughput capacity.
Document operations may easily justify the migration to digital inkjet printers without making changes in the way they schedule and produce work. But neglecting to investigate other efficiencies made possible by the new printing technology is like leaving money on the table.