Weighing the Inkjet Wager Keynotes Opening Session of 2019 Inkjet Summit (piworld.com)

No intelligent investment in printing technology is a gamble, but when the technology is something as transformative as production inkjet, it’s fair to think of committing to it as something of a calculated risk. How justifiable a risk inkjet represents for first-time acquirers was the focus of the opening session of the seventh annual Inkjet Summit on April 8.

Conference chair Marco Boer (I.T. Strategies) acknowledged that taking the investment plunge could be “a little bit scary” for printers who haven’t fully grasped inkjet’s potential. But, he asserted that changes in print market demand are making the investment not only prudent, but necessary, and that putting it off might be the biggest risk of all.

Following Boer, a panel of adopters recounted successes with the technology that seemed to prove his assessment correct.

The “sobering reality,” according to Boer, is that page counts are down everywhere and that their value is also in decline (although not as sharply as the printed volumes). Moreover, he said, there is tension between the industry’s “pragmatic need for automation” and their customers’ desire for more flexibility in what printers produce for them.

“There is not one single perfect device for doing this,” Boer said. “You need a lot of devices.” Among them, he continued, should be an inkjet press, because it is integral to the trend toward the kind of automated production in which preparing the data is starting to account for a bigger share of the task than the printing itself. At the same time, it enables printers to develop “new, consultative accounts” based on programmatic selling and adding new kinds of value to the product. Transactional documents, books and direct mail are examples of applications that inkjet is benefiting in this way, according to Boer.

Something else that ought to draw printers’ attention to inkjet are demographic trends that are already making it difficult for them to find people to run their conventional equipment. Declining birth rates, he said, are shrinking the labor pool to a point where “we are heading to $25 an hour labor”: a situation he predicted will trigger a “tipping point” to inkjet away from offset because operators for the conventional process will have become too scarce and expensive for printers to employ.
more at source: https://www.piworld.com/article/weighing-the-inkjet-wager-keynotes-opening-session-of-2019-inkjet-summit/

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