Emerging Revenue Streams for Printers

Finishing can include virtually any post-printing operation such as trimming, folding, binding and so on. But, from a value-added point of view, it can also refer to special decorative processes that add visual and tangible impact to any printed piece – also making it possible for you to charge a premium price and still keep the customer totally happy. Popular finishing options used by printers today include embossing, foil stamping, die-cutting, various coatings, and laminating.  The finishing process can be inline or offline.  SydneyStone

But here’s the most important aspect for any forward-looking commercial printer:  just about every story and study I’ve come across has declared that value-added printing, especially when it involves finishing, is a viable revenue stream going forward. For example, a recent Primir (Print Industries Market Information and Research Organization) study, Value-Added Printing & Finishing for Improved Profitability, examined high-end colour, new finishing products and techniques, special coatings, foiling, laminating, scented inks, raised inks, brand protection and security, metallic inks, metalized substrates, stitching and die-cutting. The study included a survey of printers, print buyers and brand owners, along with industry experts and leading vendors.  It concluded that adding value to print could improve both profitability and print product effectiveness for the brand owner. In fact, 93% of print and trade service providers reported that sales of value-added enhancements contributed to increased profitability. Best of all, offering some value-added enhancements did not require any additional investment by the printer. These include scented, fluorescent and iridescent inks, stainless steel stitching, specialty stocks, and engineered papers.

However, to capitalize on these opportunities, the research revealed that crucial changes in sales strategies are needed. Printers must make their customers aware with examples of proven, superior ROI provided by value-added print, while at the same time shifting the discussion away from price per unit – not an easy task.

The research identified value-added products and services poised for growth, which include tactile and dimensional finishes, specialty stocks, spectral databases, hi-fi colour, foil stamping, special effect coatings and UV-curable gloss, and dull coatings. For more information visit: www.primir.org.

Adding value using basic finishing products right now

To get an idea of what you might be able to do (and afford) right now, we went to one of Canada’s top print finishing specialists, Sydney Stone of Mississauga, Ontario. Here’s what owners Michael Steele and Dylan Westgate had to say:

“Finding new solutions for your customers is essential in gaining new revenue and enhancing the value you provide to them. Two examples of adding value to finishing that you can afford right now might include laminating and the use of innovative Multiloft paper products.

“Laminating has been around for decades. However, what you may not know is that new advances in technology have enabled some important changes to take place. Laminating films can now be offered in a variety of eye-catching and tactile-pleasing finishes which were formerly only availabSydneyle to those purchasing high volumes. Having finishes such as scuff-free matte, canvas textured and SoftTouch (along with the standard gloss and matte films) now enables printers to offer a finishing solution that enhances the profitability of the printed piece with minimal added physical or capital expense.

“One good example, the Royal Sovereign 2702S Laminator, is a category leader that can apply laminate for two-sided applications and single-side application (de-curl bar included). It can handle mounting, cold films and decal applications, making it a highly versatile system for an investment of less than $3,000.
A second solution that we’ve seen that provides printers an opportunity to offer enhanced value to their customers is MultiLoft. This product can be used to create 28-pt up to 64-pt thick cards. White or colourful insert sheets can be included to create a product that matches the customer’s artwork. With no glue application or backing sheets, the only requirement is that you have a power paper cutter with power clamping which will activate the co-hesive. If you have a power paper cutter then there is no capital outlay for this product. They can be printed on any device that will feed 14-pt 12” x 18.5” paper. Printers can up-sell current or new customers on a product that is attractive and different, without needing either extra manpower or purchasing enhanced equipment. Not all print buyers will want this product, but if the up-sell is accepted by even a portion of your customers, then you’ll see more profits, and hopefully as the word gets out, a continuing revenue stream.”

For more information visit  printfinishing.com/multiloft .

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Tony Curcio is the editor of Graphic Arts Magazine.