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The Elite Edge

"Elite was instrumental in restructuring our document management procedures to help our business print supply chain become more responsive and efficient."

Suzanne Shikany

Koorsen Fire & Security

Digital Print for an On-Demand World

Since the introduction of movable type several hundred years ago, the inequitable truth of the printing press has remained largely unchanged: youíre going to fork over the same amount in press setup costs no matter if you purchase 100 or 100,000 copies of a document. That peculiar certainty has almost single-handedly sustained some pretty bulky collateral purchasing habits, in effect encouraging businesses to adopt bloated, wasteful ordering.

The logic is simple: If youíve already plunked down the cash to cover press setup expenses, and itís only going to cost a few extra dollars to get a couple hundred additional copies, then it actually makes solid sense to go ahead and pull the trigger on the bigger order. But it also happens to lock your business into a print procurement strategy that delivers larger inventories, less responsiveness, more waste and (consequently) much higher print management overhead.

Fortunately, emerging on-demand digital print technology has completely shifted the paradigm away from the bigger-is-better approach that goes hand-in-hand with traditional offset printing. Without the prohibitive setup costs of press work, digital printing enables businesses to implement an astute, meticulous print procurement program that can be quite the potent strategic weapon: providing the smaller production runs (and diminutive inventories) that keep your business lean, efficient and in-control. So just how does on-demand digital printing power blue-chip print management?

1). Less Waste
Put quite simply, collateral waste is nothing less the bane of efficient print management. How much so? Well, consider this: external print purchases are an expense thatís equal to nearly 4% of total revenues for the average business. And of all that purchased collateral, almost a whopping 16% will be wasted because of obsolescence that can be directly traced to over-ordering. In other words, pretty darn substantial.

But thatís precisely where the speed and affordability of on-demand digital printing can help. Itís nothing less than the very foundation of lean, disciplined, iterative print management. It all works like this: without the burden of the expensive setup costs that are part and parcel of its traditional offset press brethren, projects produced using digital production technology donít require you to print many more copies of a document than you need just to hit a break-even sweet spot that covers setup and administrative overhead.

Which means producing collateral in the kind of limited quantities that keep inventories extremely small (or even non-existent) and your business prepared for the rapid change that is a reality in todayís uber-competitve marketplace.

2). Just-In-Time Management
Although it can have a pretty ample impact on your bottom line, cutting waste though smaller production orders alone is simply the first step on the way to achieving the holy grail of print management efficiency: true on-demand workflow. So just what is this on-demand workflow thing all about? Picture this: absolutely no print collateral warehoused in inventory whatsoever.

With help from rapid advancements in digital print technology and online print management software, this once pie-in-the-sky pipe dream has now become a cash-flow conserving reality.

Just-in-time print management blends web-based collateral management applications (which provide a digital collateral repository and easy online ordering) with a global printing process that links users to all pertinent supply chain info - historical inventory data, average item usage, production lead-time - to enable true real-time procurement and utilization practices. That means almost zero materials waste. No more inventory and handling overhead. Slashed distribution costs. And a reduction in disruptive and expensive stockouts and rush orders. In short: a truly smart, truly responsive print management environment.

3). Faster Project Turnaround 
Because digital printers donít require a press operator to create an individual plate for each job (as is the case with offset presses) or master color subtleties, on-demand jobs can be setup and produced much faster than with traditional presses, often in as little as 24 hours. Add in the automation of common pre-production tasks, and the turn-around time for most digital printers truly laps those offered by offset presses. Which means that critical materials can now be revised, printed and in the hands of your employees, customers or shareholders faster than ever before.

4). Unmatched Document Responsiveness 
Smaller orders equal smaller inventories. And that means much greater flexibility and responsiveness. Itís that simple. So deciding whether to make a much-needed document revision or just completely scrap the obsolete version (and absorb the cost of destroying the several hundred copies still taking up space in inventory) never has to be an agonizing choice again. Printing fewer copies of your materials ensures that when a change arises, youíll be able to make the necessary changes quickly and efficiently.

Then thereís the truly eye-popping results provided by 1:1 collateral personalization: a 2007 InfoTrends/CAP ventures study found that personalized direct mail more than tripled the response rate over non-personalized pieces (from 2% to 6.5%). Todayís digital presses can easily incorporate variable data to individual personalize each brochure, mailer, business card or contract that you produce Ė all within the same printing cycle. Which means more leads, better response rates, improved ROI Ė results that can really have an impact on the health of your balance sheet.

5). Environmentally Friendly
Digital printing also has a number of environmentally-friendly advantages over more traditional offset press work. The use of non-toxic dry inks significantly reduces the overall environmental impact of print production. But the big kicker is how small, lean production cycles are able to cut down on the number of total documents that are printed in the first place. Less waste means a reduction in both the amount paper used and energy consumed during the production process.

The Wrap Up: Elite's Here to Help
As good as this stuff might sound, itís just the tip of the proverbial iceberg. Digital printing technology is constantly becoming faster, cheaper and more effective. To the point where it not only outpaces offset work in terms of speed and flexibility, but also is becoming a serious contender in terms of output quality too.

Which means that switching a portion of your print library to an on-demand digital printer can have a pretty significant impact on your bottom line: providing lean procurement practices, smaller inventories, less overhead and the kind of flexibility and responsiveness that enables your business to react quickly to change.
All with the consistently impressive quality that youíve come to expect from traditional printing presses.

Want to learn more about how digital printing and Just-in-Time print management can help your business stay lean and efficient? Simply click HERE for the inside scoop. Or if youíre ready to talk, feel free to call us toll free at 1.800.276.6456 or email info@eliteps.com to set up a consultation today.

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