New research from leading global digital print software provider PrintFactory (GMG Americas, Hingham, MA), has revealed that a current widespread reliance on default solutions could be costing large-format operations thousands of dollars in avoidable wasted time, ink and media every year. PrintFactory’s new guide to Breaking Color Convention for a More Productive Wide-format Workflow points out that 60% of print shops are relying on the RIP software that comes with their printer, while almost two-thirds (63%) are running multiple platforms across their network. Furthermore, while the majority work from PCs (60%), a significant number (37%) of shops are operating on both Mac and PC platforms. All this inherent inconsistency across traditional set-ups could be compounding quality control problems on the shop floor – especially when it comes to dealing with the complexities of colour management – an issue that 21% of surveyed printers said is their biggest workflow bottleneck, according to Print factory.
“When considering these findings, it’s no wonder the wide-format printing industry is struggling with inefficiencies,” said Erik Strik, CEO of PrintFactory. “The research gives a strong indication that very few operators are actually using the RIP software of their choice (or even a single platform), meaning that consistency is almost impossible to guarantee. There are many ways that printing businesses can overcome a large number of the challenges they’re facing, but it will require a break from convention.”
In response to the research, PrintFactory has compiled a two-part colour management guide titled Breaking Color Convention for a More Productive Wide-format Workflow, that sets out the many parameters that may be contributing to some of the colour management obstacles identified. These include achieving consistency across substrates (cited by 30% as their greatest challenge), accurate colour reproduction (according to 29%) and ensuring that different devices deliver the exact same output (a major problem for 22%). When asked which top two solutions they would consider to help resolve workflow issues, 75% of respondents identified new software as their first option, though over half (51%) would consider investing in a new printer. “The technology to eliminate such bottlenecks and deliver identical output across devices already exists,” Strik added. “And, with new SaaS models that make even the most advanced systems entirely accessible, these can be extremely cost-effective. We wanted to run the survey to better understand why so many wide-format printers confide that they’re continuing to waste costly resources on ‘chasing’ colour, and moreover, what’s stopping them from switching to a smarter way of working.”
Exposing the hidden obstacles to efficient colour management, PrintFactory’s guide to Breaking Color Convention for a More Productive Wide-format Workflow is available to download for free at www.printfactory.cloud/pfcmguide/. The in-depth industry report details the core features that production managers should be seeking as standard – in order to boost throughput, reduce waste and prepare print shops for the new age of automated print production. This important step, Strik points out, can’t be confidently taken until operations get back to basics by stripping out the layers of complexity that come with having multiple platforms with different levels of capability. “As long as print service providers continue to rely on conventional colour management systems, it remains difficult for these print businesses to reap the full benefits of automation,” he added. “Without a solid foundation of consistent colour across devices, any efficiencies created by an automated workflow are lost through time spent tweaking colour issues on jobs.”
PrintFactory has specialized in improving large-format print processes and workflow since 2001. The software provider has re-engineered the wide-format workflow to equip print shops wordewide with “an intuitive and future-proofed platform” that resolves these issues and readies them for the Industry 4.0 era. Synonymous with an large portfolio of time-saving and resource-saving products (including GMG’s ProductionSuite and ProofMaster platforms), PrintFactory currently focuses on developing its cloud-based automation tools that can be directly integrated into existing MIS/workflow systems.