Offset printing and digital printing equipment are the most common technologies found in the commercial printing industry. Each represents a unique printing method which produces different results, and which is more appropriate for different types of print jobs.
When outsourcing printing, companies may come across these terms. Despite their similarity in appearance, the underlying technology is drastically different. Understanding these differences is key to effectively leveraging outsource printing as the cost-effective, time-saving strategy that it is.
Before outsourcing a print job, take the time to understand the difference between offset and digital printing and how they can effect your specific print project or printing needs.
Offset Printing and Digital Printing Defined
Offset printing and digital printing are two drastically different types of printing technology commonly used by commercial printers. Understanding the difference is essential when outsourcing printing jobs.
What Is Digital Printing?
Digital printing uses technology very similar to a laser printer. During digital printing, lasers create an electrostatic charge which causes toner to “stick” to a drum. The drum is rolled over the paper, and then the heat fuses the toner to the paper. The printing process uses toner in a combined mix of Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and Black (CMYK) dots to create the image. Digital printing equipment has a much faster setup time, but it may not produce the ultra-beautiful prints of an offset printer.
What Is Offset Printing?
An offset printing machine uses a series of etched aluminum plates to transfer an image onto a rubber blanket. Then the printer rolls that image onto a sheet of paper. Offset printing gets its name from this process and the fact that the ink is not applied directly to the paper, but rather to a rubber blanket. Due to this process, the setup takes more time, but it tends to produce more accurate color reproduction and crisp printing at larger quantities.
How to Choose Between Offset and Digital Printing For Your Print Job
Offset and digital printing each have their own advantages in different situations.
To break it down, use digital printing when:
- A print project needs fewer or shorter runs
- High speed/faster turnaround time and cost-savings are favored
- The project requirements call for variable data or customized pieces (unique code, name or address)
- There is a strong preference to print on demand, rather than maintain a stockpile
Digital presses are better suited for quick, short runs which need to leverage advanced technology like customization. For example, mailers, business cards, and personalized letterheads would be sent to a digital printer.
An offset printing machine shines in other scenarios. Consider outsourcing to an offset printer when:
- Large runs are involved (the larger the run, the more cost-effective the project will be)
- The printing job requires a wide range of custom finishes, unusual paper types, or specialty inks such as metallic and Pantone® colors
- Printing on a wide range of surfaces is desired (including wood, cloth, metal, leather, etc.)
- The highest possible color and clean image quality is favored
An offset press cannot handle variable data. However, offset printing has a greater range of color options because it can use actual Pantone® ink or metallic inks. Millions of organizations use the Pantone® Matching System each day to make sure they are using the appropriate colors for each project.
Once it is set up, offset printing is much cheaper at higher quantities. The more that is printed, the cheaper each piece becomes. Therefore, choose an offset printing machine for high volume, high-quality runs.
Short Runs vs. Large Runs
For short runs, digital printing does not have a setup fee so it can be far more economical than offset printing. However, because offset printing can print so quickly, the offset price per piece is not static – it decreases with quantity. Therefore for large runs, offset printing becomes more economical than digital printing because the setup fee is absorbed by the decreasing price per piece.
A general rule of thumb is that quantities up to about 500 will most likely be printed digitally, and higher quantities will most likely be done with offset printing. Knowing the general volume cut off is especially important if you are doing a small short run order rather than of a larger run of books.
There is no right or wrong choice when it comes to offset or digital printing. It all depends on the quantity and type of print job you are trying to accomplish.
The Benefits of Outsourced Printing
Companies choose to outsource their printing because of the advantages this printing method offers.
- Access to more powerful technology. By outsourcing a print job, a company gains access to commercial digital printing equipment and offset printing equipment to produce higher quality materials than what its in-house technology can create.
- Reduced overall costs. Outsource printing is a viable strategy for reducing total costs by letting a company print only what is needed.
- Quality printing done by professionals. Commercial printers know how to make the most of their specialized machines and understand print jobs more effectively. Companies can enjoy expert guidance for maximum print quality.
- Increased efficiency of an in-house printing environment. Outsourcing a print job prevents in-house printers from getting tied up by a job that is too large or complicated for them to handle efficiently. Since companies rely on printers to do business, outsourcing helps prevent a department-wide slowdown.
Learn more about the benefits of RJ Young’s Outsourced Printing Services HERE.
Trust RJ Young with Your Outsourced Printing Needs
Offset printing and digital printing both have their advantages. However, each are most appropriate for different print jobs entirely. Working with an outsourced printing service provider who understands these differences can help save time and money while producing a high-quality job.
RJ Young offers full-service printing expertise for every job imaginable. From stunning visuals to top-quality branded items, companies who outsource their printing enjoy expert guidance, access to in-house graphic designers, and access to top-notch technology.
Outsourcing large and complex print jobs saves time and money, as well as helps you put your best foot forward in your printed materials. Contact RJ Young today to learn how you can outsource your printing.
A Multi-Function Printer print, scan, copy, fax, and even edit documents from one convenient hub. This has made them an office staple, leaving few reasons for an office to continue to purchase discrete devices for each activity.
Companies embrace multi-function devices because they increase device impact while decreasing their physical footprint. Multi-Function Printers increase company-wide productivity and revenue when strategically deployed in a printing fleet. Read on to learn how upgrading a company’s printer fleet to include these multi-function devices transforms productivity and profitability in the office.
How to Better Understand a Multi-Function Printer
There are many different terms for the device known as the multi-function printer. No standardized language exists, therefore the manufacturers are free to refer to their products as they like. In other words, there are several terms which appear in reference to MPS or similar devices:
- All-In-One (AIO): A device which has a full array of document management options. This includes printing, scanning, faxing, copying, document editing, storage, and conversion.
- Multi-function Device (MFD): May or may not be a printer, but likely has printing capabilities.
- Multi-function Peripheral or Product (MFP): Shares the acronym MFP with multi-function printer, but it may have different capabilities entirely. Read the product description carefully.
- 4-in-1 Printer: Typically refers to the main four functionalities: printing, scanning, copying, and faxing.
- Small Office/Home Office (SOHO): These printers are typically multi-function because their manufacturers assume that smaller operations have less space.
Upgraded Fleets Save Money and Increase Productivity
A printer is no small investment. Professional models run easily into the thousands of dollars, which may represent a significant expense for a business. It might be tempting to hold onto an outdated model as a result, but that could be augmenting operating expenses in the long run. Upgraded fleets save money and increase productivity because they:
1. Decrease Consumable Cost and Use
The older the printer, the more expensive consumables like ink and specialized paper stocks tend to get. This is partly because they get harder to find, and partly because manufacturers discontinue parts and supplies to encourage upgrading. Likewise, modern printers use toner and ink more efficiently. They also support duplex printing and support the option to print only in black and white.
2. Cost Less to Maintain
A single multi-function device is much easier to maintain than a horde of specialized devices. Additionally, multi-function printers are so common that most technicians will have likely seen the model before, making it easier to get a device serviced.
3. Supports Increased Integration
Most modern multi-function printers support Wi-Fi connectivity, which enables integration with other office devices. Users can easily access all of the device’s functionalities without ever leaving their computer. Likewise, mobile printing adds a new layer of flexibility and mobility to the workflow.
4. Modern Multi-Function Printer Features Make Printing Easy
Multi-function printers are notoriously easy to use. The users do not have to go digging around in complicated interfaces to find the print button. Intuitive color touchscreens direct users to exactly where they need to go. Automatic document feeders eliminate the need to fiddle with the machine.
Install Print Tracking Software
Upgrading the printer itself is only one way to save money and boost productivity. Offices which already have a reasonably modern printer may wish to implement another strategy to boost productivity and reduce costs: print tracking software.
Print tracking software, such as PaperCut or uniFLOW helps businesses get a better handle on their expenses and printing habits. Print tracking software allows businesses to:
- Automate reporting which makes tracking seamless
- Gain total visibility of the printing costs for an organization
- Highlight areas of improvement for optimizing fleets and individual printer use
- Manage consumables to help reduce costs
- Restrict access to the print environment so only the people who need to print can do so
Upgrade Your Printing Environment Today With A Multi-Function Printer
Modern businesses frequently operate on razor-thin margins, making any cost reduction potentially valuable. An optimized office print environment helps boost productivity, while reducing costs.
PaperKarma estimates that the average office worker uses close to 10,000 sheets of copy paper per year. That is the equivalent of 20 reams of standard office paper, or about 100 pounds of paper worth close to $200 per year. This article has outlined many of the ways that occur and has provided strategies to begin the optimization process.
Through the thoughtful deployment of modern printing devices, plus print tracking software, businesses can reduce this cost. Contact RJ Young today to begin strategizing your next-generation printing fleet which cuts costs while boosting productivity.
In the age of digital files and communication, printed materials still play a big role in the vast majority of businesses. Everything from posters to flyers to brochures is used extensively to help a business grow and compete within their industry. However, the cost of outsourcing printing has many businesses thinking twice about placing their next order. Is outsourcing these print jobs the way to go, or should businesses seek to bring their printing needs in-house with production printing equipment?
There are a number of considerations at play here for businesses to examine. Cost is the most obvious concern for any business, but there is much more to the equation than just dollars and cents. Both options carry their own pros and cons. The better a company understands them, the easier it will be to make the best possible choice for their unique needs.
Comparing the Costs
Every business from small mom-and-pop shops to multinational corporations must adhere to a budget. Money does not grow on trees and printing budgets are no exception to the rule. In the past, outsourcing printing has often been seen as the more budget-friendly option, but that is beginning to change in the minds of business owners facing higher printing costs.
Part of this increase in the cost of outsourcing printing is that print providers have increased costs themselves, and then these costs are passed on to customers. For examples, USPS has reported increasing their rates on shipping. This means that printing companies must adjust their own rates to reflect the new costs their budgets must absorb.
However, building a printing production facility from the ground up is also a costly investment. Businesses that do not have the capital to purchase or lease their own production printing equipment may find that outsourcing continues to be their best option.
Ultimately, in-house printing equipment is an investment that will pay off down the line. Companies that want to bring their printing needs in-house may face high upfront costs, but will see savings as they print more and more materials. Businesses that don’t have the capital for this investment or do not feel they will use the production printers to their full potential may benefit most from using an outsourced print provider.
What Materials Are Being Printed?
Businesses that decide to handle printing in-house must carefully examine what kind of materials will be printed and if the volume will justify having the equipment on-hand. Printing small posters or brochures may be feasible for businesses, but other items, like large banners or window decals, may require specialized equipment that will not be used frequently enough to justify the cost.
Sometimes, businesses may want to consider a combination of in-house and outsourced printing solutions. In-House production printing equipment can handle the basic, high volume jobs while outsourced printing equipment is perfect for more niche jobs.
Who Will Manage the Printing and Design?
Depending on the needs of the business and the size of the operation, in-house designers and managers that focus on the printing needs of the business may be necessary. One huge benefit of this arrangement is that the business has complete control over their materials and campaigns from beginning to end.
However, the obvious downside to choosing this route is the cost and effort that goes into hiring and maintaining this kind of staff. Consider a professional in-house graphic designer. According to Indeed, they could command a wage of nearly $20 per hour. When outsourced printing, the costs and logistics are managed by the print provider. Since they service multiple clients, the cost of staff is essentially spread out, which helps keep printing costs low.
The ultimate question to ask is whether or not a business wants to take on this kind of responsibility associated with in-house print production. High-volume printers with unique needs may feel the cost is justified, while lower volume businesses may not be willing to take on that kind of expense.
Who Has the Control of Timelines?
Bringing control of printing in-house versus using outsourced print providers can have numerous benefits and downsides. One important consideration is timelines. In-house print production means that the business is absolutely in control of the turnaround time needed for a project. This is one of the main advantages of in-house production compared to outsourcing. There are no other clients being serviced and, as a result, the job can be completed on schedule.
Of course, the risks of timelines and schedules can be mitigated by placing orders with outsourced print providers well in advance. What a business must ask is how valuable complete control and rapid turnaround is to them. Most outsourced providers deliver quality work quickly, but nothing can beat the scheduling benefits of printing services being brought in-house.
Outsourced and In-House Production Printing Equipment: Two Great Options
There is no right or wrong way to do printing. There are many advantages of in-house production while the cost of outsourcing printing simply cannot be beaten for businesses that do a lower volume of printing.
To learn more about the benefits of printing services and production printing equipment, and whether or not printing should be brought in-house or left to an outsourced print provider, contact RJ Young today.
The multi-function printer is designed to do it all: printing, scanning, and copying in color or grayscale. However, with the immense selection of printers available, how does a small office or large organization decide which is best? The answer depends on an organization’s printing needs and habits. Outlined below are the pros and cons of an inkjet or laser multi-function printer for business use.
Inkjet vs. Laser: What Is the Difference?
Inkjet and laser printing are two different types of printing technologies. Understanding this explains why they produce different printing results.
Inkjet printers print tiny dots of different color inks which are combined on paper, creating a wide range of colors. When printing photograph-quality images on regular paper from an inkjet printer, the print may still feel wet for several minutes since there is no heat, or an alternative method, to set the ink.
Conversely, laser printers use the same basic technology as photocopiers. A laser scans back and forth over a photoconductive drum, creating regions of static. The regions of static allow particles of toner to stick to it. When paper rolls under the drum, toner transfers to it. The fuser then binds the toner to the paper with heat, producing a dry printed product.
When an Inkjet Multi-Function Printer Is Best
Modern inkjets offer stunning color quality and flexible paper options. However, these capabilities far surpass what most businesses need. Choose an inkjet only when both needs exist:
1. Photo-Quality Color Printing
Companies that routinely print gallery or photo-quality color images may be served best by an inkjet printer. They easily print vibrant images with depth and clarity.
While recent advances in technology have led to the color inkjet multi-function printer becoming more efficient than their predecessors, inkjet printing still costs more than laser printing. Inkjet printers are not recommended as the sole printer for offices that also print business documents on a regular basis.
2. Printing on Multiple Types of Paper
Inkjet multi-function printers handle a wider range of paper types than many laser printers. Media stock is not made to withstand the heat from the fuser in a laser printer. It could melt, damaging the hardware along with the printed items. Similarly, paper stocks of certain textures may not allow enough heat in the grooves to properly bond the toner polymers.
Users should always look for products labeled as compatible for laser printers, whereas the result is more consistent with inkjet printers, no matter the paper type or stock.
When a Laser Multi-Function Printer Is Best
Laser printers remain an office staple, offering printing speed and efficiency to businesses that print or copy documents frequently, or in large amounts. Companies will find that laser multi-function printers and copiers are the most economical solution in their operations.
1. Crisp Printing
Businesses that primarily print office documents rely on laser printers for their ability to quickly produce clean, precise lines for fine text and form style printing. This precision stems from the use of toner. Composed of electrically sensitive polymers that immediately fuse to paper in the presence of heat, toner is a far more conservative material than ink from inkjet cartridges and lasts much longer.
For office settings, laser printers offer serious advantages in comparison to inkjet printers, where ink dots may bleed and spread in paper fibers, or where the ink does not dry fast enough, resulting in the inability to print batches of paper at one time.
2. Rapid and Double-Sided Printing
Most modern laser printers come standard with automatic document feeder with duplex printing. Here, toner is fused in one layer and dried immediately, delivering the ability to print on both sides without impacting clarity. Duplex printing gives offices the opportunity to dramatically reduce the amount of paper they use, purchase, and process. This is still not a standard feature on inkjets. Double-sided printing can be done manually by reloading prints into the paper tray of an inkjet printer; however, print quality often plummets because the ink penetrates and bleeds through to the other side.
Despite their complicated process, laser printers print much faster than inkjets. While inkjets may put several layers of ink down, laser printers only place one layer. Laser printers are also made to withstand heavier office use and built with stronger engines to produce higher output in less time.
Laser Multi-Function Printers Improve Business Productivity
Today’s multi-function printer offers a range of features and sophistication, including automatic document feeders, color touchscreens, and Bluetooth and wi-fi connections to a smartphone or tablet. Modern multi-function printers strive to simplify the modern office with its efficiency and ability to meet every need.
Laser multi-function printers offer the widest range of applications while remaining the most cost-effective. Models such as the HP Color Laserjet Pro multi-function printer, produce professional quality printing.
If photographic-quality color printing on a non-traditional stock is not a requirement, a laser printer more effectively balances long-term costs with print quality.
Choose RJ Young for Your Multi-Funcation Printer
Buying or leasing the right laser multi-function printer can significantly impact a business’s productivity. Start a conversation today with an office technology expert to determine the best choice for you.
The multifunction printer is the lifeblood of many businesses. These versatile devices offer more than just basic printing functions. They can be used to help businesses become more efficient and productive. Of course, all of that depends on finding the best all-in-one printer for small business. Do you know how to choose a printer for small business?
The right device for the right situation can make all of the difference. However, finding the right device can prove to be a challenge for businesses that are unsure of what to look for. Do you know how to choose a printer for small business? With so many new features and sleek design elements packed into modern multifunction printers – how can you be sure you’re choosing the right one?
4 Steps to Choosing the Best Multifunction Printer for Business
Fortunately, making the right decision about how to choose a printer for your small business comes down to understanding the most important features to look for and defining an office’s unique needs. All of this can be done in just four simple steps.
1. Make A Budget
Budgets are important for all companies, from the smallest businesses to the largest corporations. So, it follows that the best printer for office use must also fit within the budget. Thankfully, multifunction printers span a wide range of prices. However, companies have to look beyond just the initial cost of the device to get a true sense of the cost of the printer. This means companies must decide if they want to purchase their printers outright or to lease. The purchase vs lease debate is an ongoing one with benefits to both options. A business with a limited upfront budget may be able to get the high-quality device they need by leasing, while a business with more cash on hand may opt to pay for the entire purchase price upfront. Companies must also understand the costs that will be incurred down the road.
- What kind of warranty is included?
- How much does it cost to operate the printer?
- How much will print supplies cost?
Only after a business answers these questions will they completely understand the total cost of a multifunction printer.
2. Identify Important Features
When choosing an all-in-one laser printer, buyers will notice that these devices come with a suite of incredible features. Some features may be an absolute requirement for business while others may not be as important. Identifying necessary features is the best way to quickly narrow down the selection. This will also help avoid costly printers that may include superfluous features not required by the business.
While many printer brands may offer similar features, they often have their own methods of introducing these features. Is the feature built into the printer or does it require additional software to be installed on laptops, smartphones, and tablets? Will this software be compatible with existing devices? Does the software cost extra?
3. Look for Productivity and Workflow Improvements
According to BizTech Magazine, one of the greatest opportunities when choosing a new office printer is to implement workflow and productivity improvements using the features and software offered by the multifunction printer’s manufacturer. Today, the qualities of a good printer go far beyond simply printing clear text or images onto a page. Users want to be able to save files directly to the cloud from their printer, access those documents on their mobile device, and print documents even when they are away from the office.
Many modern printers also come with touchscreens built in which allow users to preview images before printing or scanning to ensure the work is up to the quality that they expect. Some devices are even able to translate foreign languages after scanning. Determine which workflow improvements are needed and then begin searching for devices that are able to deliver those improvements without breaking the budget.
4. Efficiency Is Important
People are more aware of their environmental footprint than ever before. Not only is sustainable printing helpful for the environment, it can also look good on a company’s bottom line. Many printers offer sustainability and efficiency features that can help reduce waste and cut down on costs. This is definitely something businesses should mention to sales representatives when the shopping process begins if their business is striving to meet new efficiency goals.
We Know How to Choose A Printer For Small Business
There is no one perfect printer out there. Instead, the best printer for office use depends on the company and its unique requirements.
With new technology, social media platforms, and ways to reach audiences, people often believe that tried, tested, and true forms of print media have fallen out of favor. However, despite new mediums and forms of competition, print media still plays an important role in the success of businesses. Print is a tangible medium that still delivers great results for businesses that use it to help grow their customer base. Plus, as other technologies have entered the fray, printing technology has continued to advance and adapt to an ever-changing environment. There are several various ways that show that printing is still a very valuable information and marketing tool for businesses. Digital printing technology has given businesses more great ways to reach out to customers in order to grow their business.
People Still Love Business Cards
Smartphone ownership is exploding with 92% of people age 18 to 29 owning one. Today, most companies use smartphones for everything including setting calendar appointments and storing contact information. Many people thought that this would spell the end for paper business cards.
However, business cards are still as popular as ever. Despite the modern technology team members carry in their pockets, the trusty business card continues to be a tool in every professional’s arsenal. How have business cards survived the growth of smartphones?
It ultimately boils down to human nature. When professionals interact with one another, there is no better way to kill a conversation than to look at a smartphone. Entering a contact into a smartphone as someone provides the details is an awkward, impersonal experience. Instead, handing over a business card is a physical touchpoint that provides the same information in a way that allows the recipient to stay engaged in the conversation.
In addition, business cards are a great way to build a brand. Colorful business cards with bold logos are much more memorable than simply saving a phone number into a contact list. Digital printing technology has made business cards more exciting and unique than ever before. Plus, with print on demand services, it’s possible to replenish business card supplies quickly and easily.
Print Allows More Information to Be Shared
Print media is one of the best ways to get information out to people. When someone receives a flyer, for example, they are able to read the information at their own pace and as many times as they wish. They can keep the flyer to consult later at their own leisure.
This is in stark contrast to other forms of marketing. Radio and television only give advertisers 15- or 30-second time slots to share their message. An online advertisement is usually short and requires viewers to click on it in order to see more information.
Using print, advertisers do not have these constraints. A business can advertise multiple services, share several locations, and go into greater detail about products or special offers. There is also no telling how many different sets of eyes may view a flyer or other form of print marketing. People post flyers in their workplace, pass them to friends, and share them on social media.
Print Advertising Can Be Targeted
Many people talk about online marketing as the best way to target specific people. However, print marketing can also be very effectively targeted to specific users. For example, a niche product store may want to create a monthly print newsletter for their clients to take home. This newsletter can share information about products and services that clients are interested in.
Businesses are always looking to close more sales when customers visit their location. Creating a handy, one-page buyers guide that provides helpful information about products is a great way to keep products in front of potential clients. If they don’t make a purchase right away, they will have a unique piece of marketing with them to ensure a business stays top of mind. With print-on-demand services, companies can ensure that their buyers guide is always up-to-date and fit for the season.
Stand Out with Stunning Display Printing
Many people underestimate the importance of standing out and capturing the eye of potential customers. Trade shows are one of the best ways to reach potential new customers. Businesses need to ensure that their display will stand out among the competition, which may be, quite literally, right beside them.
Detailed, colorful display printing can instantly make a trade show booth more attractive to potential buyers. With advances in digital printing technology, the only limit to the design put into display printing concepts is creativity.
Once a company has drawn people in, they can provide them with other printing marketing materials that may be specific to the trade show. This combines some of the methods discussed above. Of course, print-on-demand services can help ensure that companies are ready with whatever documents are necessary.
Stand Out in the Best Way Possible
From business card to display printing, there are still plenty of great ways to incorporate digital printing and print marketing into an overall marketing strategy.
If you need assistance with your digital print marketing, or you are looking for print on demand services to bring your idea to life, contact RJ Young today.
Printing is the largest unreported business expense. Gain visibility of your total print costs to save money and boost your productivity. RJ Young’s Managed Print Services program covers everything but the paper—for one flat fee—including all parts and labor. View the slideshare below to learn more.