Getting Started with In-House Printing: The Advantages, Challenges & Lessons Learned | LexJet Blog
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Getting Started with In-House Printing: The Advantages, Challenges & Lessons Learned

So, you’re thinking about bringing wide-format printing in-house? With today’s print technologies and the outstanding quality they offer, it’s hard to resist the many benefits of bringing wide-format printing in-house. Plus, wide-format printing is in demand now more than ever.

Even with the tremendous growth of online digital content, wide-format print will always remain relevant as we live in a world where every product or brand attempts to garner more attention than the next.  But are there any pitfalls in bringing wide-format printing in-house?  Let’s look at whether printing in-house with wide-format is right for you.

Advantages of bringing wide-format printing in-house:

Capabilities – Printing wide-format in-house can open a plethora of opportunities depending on what your wants and needs are. In-house print operators running wide-format printers can produce everything from product packaging, proofing, retail/point-of-purchase signage to fine-art reproduction just to name a few.

A major by-product of these capabilities is the high-margin applications, for example, take canvas gallery wraps, this product has an average markup of 300% and the printed canvas market continues to grow with an CAGR (compound annual growth rate) of 11.6%.

Quality – As I mentioned above, print technology and output quality in today’s wide-format printers are capable of producing professional quality results.  With a constant need to promote brands or products, larger-than-life prints are paramount to the success of a business and professional quality results are what you’ll get when you bring wide-format printing in-house.

Cost – By bringing wide-format printing in-house, you regulate the cost of goods produced and are printing at cost. Whether you’re printing for your own business or for re-sell, you get to decide how you want to reap the benefits.

Workflow – You’re in charge now and you can call the shots on what print jobs to run, it also gives you the ability to adapt to last-minute deadlines or rush print jobs. Plus, you still have the option to outsources larger, high-volume print jobs when it makes sense.

Before we order that wide-format printer, let’s take a look at a few things to keep in mind to make sure we understand what we’re getting into.

Expenses – Yes, there’s a price to pay to bring wide-format printing in-house. The investment of wide-format printing equipment can be a risk; however, overtime you’ll recoup your return on investment.

Printer maintenance – Now that you’ve got a new wide-format printer, you’ll want to make sure it’s in tip-top shape to make sure you’re outputting the best quality prints possible.  You’ll also need to replace parts from time-to-time (printheads, inks, maintenance cartridges, cutter blades, etc.), you’ll also want to consider getting an extended warranty to protect your investment because when your printer goes down, your production comes to a standstill, and this could spell disaster for some.

Professional Management – Managing and operating an in-house print shop with wide-format printing equipment isn’t for the newcomer nor the apprentice. Your ideal print shop manager should have previous experience working in or operating a wide-format print shop in order to effectively run your business. You may also need to factor this in to your expenses if you plan on investing in a Print Production Manager position.

Now that we’ve taken a look at some of the benefits and challenges of bringing wide-format printing in house, I’d like to talk about a vital ingredient to the success of your in-house wide-format print business.  That ingredient is your relationship with your supplier of wide-format print materials and equipment or as we like to call it, a valued business partner.

A valued business partner can be the difference in whether or not a business will achieve its goals of operating an in-house wide-format print shop effectively and be able to grow profits.  An example is a recent client of mine, we’ll call him Daren.

Daren was offering small-format color and black-and-white prints (12”x18” and below) and decided he wanted to add wide-format printing to list of offerings.  In working with Daren, we learned a little bit about his current set of customers and discussed some additional target markets he could tap into with his new product offerings.

We also helped Daren determine a group of product offerings to support his current customer base and the new target markets Daren would be going after. After several weeks, I caught up with Daren and asked how everything was going since he implemented wide-format printing into his business. He responded cheerfully and said that he’s already covered the cost of his initial investment to bring wide-format printing into his business.

If I’m being honest, Daren kind of surprised me, and when I asked what he’d been doing to be so successful, he basically told me that he couldn’t keep his mouth shut about his new wide-format printing capabilities and the fact that he went out and promoted his new business services to small businesses in the area.

The point of the story is that we helped Daren get off on the right foot and helped him create a plan of attack to help support his new investment of wide-format printing equipment. You want a partner in this business to help you make the right choices and suggestions to send you down the path of success from the get go. Of course, all of us here at LexJet are dedicated to helping you start off on the right foot or grow your business from where you are now.

Vincent is a creative professional with a passion for the wide-format printing industry. With 18 years of experience as a sales and graphics consultant, Vincent specializes in helping clients understand the latest in wide-format print technologies, workflow solutions and cutting-edge product applications. At LexJet, Vincent manages the National Accounts Program where he develops and implements sales & marketing strategies to drive new customer growth.

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