The level of competition in the label printing industry is increasing all the time. As new technologies become more widely and cheaply available, smaller, dynamic businesses are able to enter the industry on a level playing field with larger, established players. Combined with the recent trend towards smaller, more flexible print runs, a decisive edge is being given to those businesses prepared to invest in the newest label printing technologies.
So our advice to all companies in the industry is: carefully consider the type of work you expect to be doing over the next 12 to 24 months. Consider who your competitors will be and what production and service guarantees they will be equipped to offer your customers. Then arm yourself with your next investment to match and then outstrip this capacity.
If you use the latest generations of printing equipment, you will be able to print greater volumes in a shorter period of time, switching easily between small and large volume print runs. This will require a capital investment in the short term, but in the long term you will benefit from an extremely positive ROI. In this article we explain the importance of switching to the latest label printing technology sooner rather than later.
As we approach the beginning of 2018, there are several different printing technologies widely used in the label printing industry. These include analogue offset, Letterpress & Flexo printing, digital printing and advanced hybrid printing solutions. These technologies compete with each other in different businesses, and often work alongside each other on the same production line within an individual company. Each technology has its advantages, with no one type of press enjoying complete market dominance at the moment. You need to select objectively from the available technologies before making a buying decision.
Smart business owners understand that their current label printing requirements are different from other companies, and that their own requirements are likely to be different one or two years down the line. Flexibility is therefore a virtue, whichever solution you choose to invest in. We advise you always to keep an eye on the latest innovations in the industry and research what new technologies may bring to your label printing operation. Newer versions of existing technologies are always an improvement over the previous ones, so upgrading your capacity will ensure you stay relevant in a competitive environment.
The Advantages Of Automation
Print shop floors used to be labour-intensive places, with each flexographic machine requiring a team of several highly trained members of staff. This is no longer the case, with automation being another core focus of the label printing industry. Going digital or adopting hybrid technology can increase the level of automation in your production line. We recommend you create a strategy for streamlining your workflow and removing as many manual elements as you can. This may allow you to review your staffing situation; not necessarily making redundancies, but certainly redeploying skilled staff into more vital areas and perhaps reassessing your shift patterns.
Automation in label machinery is extremely important because it allows you to quickly improve the procedures that are already set up in your organisation. The latest automation technologies deliver adaptive and flexible print solutions, allowing your business to respond quickly to changing market conditions and customer requirements.
Choosing The Right Option
Comparative analysis is required to find out whether hybrid, fully digital or flexo printing is the best solution for your business over the next few years. Your analysis should track all the important metrics associated with your production line, including turnover times, wastage levels and cost per unit. Digitalisation is building pace in the label printing industry, but not universally. Many businesses still use flexo printing because of its unrivalled cost effectiveness on large production runs. Ironically, high rates of digital adoption among start-ups and small companies have allowed some older, less technologically advanced companies to corner the market for mass volume label orders on flexo equipment.
To set up your business on the most robust footing, we suggest selecting a balance of technologies that allows you to compete in any market. Even when using flexo technology, new modules and upgrades can equip printers with servomotors, touchscreen interfaces, exchangeable print heads and other advanced features. Servo enabled machines are ideal for medium scale organisations that want to create a balance between print costs and service availability.
Making an effective choice should also take maintenance into consideration. Your print machines should be easy and cheap to maintain. Older models have an abundance of moving parts and are subject to frequent breakdowns, parts may be obsolete causing expensive downtime and repair bills. Newer machines tend to be more robust, especially those that use the hybrid printing method. Investing in a new machine will give you a long service life and continued excellence throughout the working cycle.
Maintain Your Edge In The Label Printing Business
For more information about new print technologies and how they can help you remain competitive, please download our free e-book: How To Stay Ahead In The Label Printing Industry. Click here to access your copy.