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The Missing Ingredient – Capturing the Value of Production Inkjet


There has been a lot of excitement about production inkjet printers recently…and for good reason. Production inkjet has become a real competitor to toner based and offset output devices. As a result, more and more direct mail service providers and transactional in-plant printers are investing heavily in inkjet presses.

Increased printing speed, the ability to improve service-levels, and the elimination of costs associated with buying and storing preprinted shells are just a few of the compelling reasons that shops migrate to inkjet. Many have a fleet of cut sheet toner-based machines where the benefits compound; another advantage of inkjet printers is that you can often reduce the number of devices on your floor resulting in less floor space and staffing requirements.

The Inkjet Migration Challenge

But moving from a cut sheet workflow to an inkjet workflow is a real challenge. Capturing the full value of any production inkjet investment requires more than simply purchasing and installing the hardware. Organizations find that making the necessary system and programming changes to diverse legacy applications and print streams can take years of man-hours to achieve. Many either overlook this part of the migration or view it as a ‘fix it later’ problem that often never goes away.

The result is that expensive inkjet investments often sit idle or underperform without the right software and system adjustments to maximize the return on investment. And downstream processes for sorting and segmenting mail pieces typically remain less efficient and productive without the conversion and reprogramming of legacy print streams and applications.

Don’t Start from Scratch

At CrawfordTech, we believe that it just doesn’t make sense to be forced to redo all of that code. Organizations have spent years developing and working with legacy applications and cut-sheet print streams. And despite the allure of improved processes with inkjet technology, it’s simply not realistic to ‘throw the baby out with the bath water.’ What is needed is a solution that will allow you to take full advantage of the great technology that production inkjet offers without having to start from scratch.

That’s why we developed PRO Inkjet Express; a complete software tool that allows you to easily implement and manage an automated production workflow for your inkjet presses. It is unique in allowing you to migrate and modify existing workflows to full color inkjet without needing to reengineer existing processes or recompose existing print streams. With PRO Inkjet Express, you can quickly take advantage of the features and capabilities of production inkjet technology, and immediately begin leveraging functionality that will reduce your costs, while offering your customers more and improving service levels.

The Missing Ingredient to Maximize Your Multi-Million Dollar Investment

PRO Inkjet Express helps you overcome the challenges of inkjet migration and immediately boost your return on investment. Combining smaller cut-sheet jobs into longer, roll-feed jobs accelerates ROI and helps meet increasingly demanding service levels. Concatenating jobs reduces operating costs by optimizing print-ready files for production and keeps inkjet presses running efficiently with fewer roll changes. Segmenting jobs works to streamline mail processing and make the most of postal discounts on the back end, while optimizing image processing up front can make the difference between RIP times of hours versus minutes.

Overall, staff productivity is improved since there is less idle device time and paper logistics to deal with, and fewer staff may be required as a result of consolidating and eliminating devices on the floor.

Accelerate Inkjet ROI

With PRO Inkjet Express you can accelerate ROI for high speed inkjet printers and finishing technology in a variety of ways.

Combining small jobs into large runs ensures that your inkjet press will run optimally and profitably. Many shop managers will tell you that it is not uncommon for presses to run for only about four hours out of an eight hour shift. Nearly half of the available production time is taken up performing roll changes and dealing with other downtime resulting from small jobs that are not optimized to take advantage of the speed and economies that roll-feed inkjet presses offer. PRO Inkjet Express combines a number of merge and concatenation capabilities that work to bring smaller jobs together into larger runs that eliminate the inefficiencies and downtime.

Optimizing print streams for post-print mail processing provides a number of efficiencies that go beyond the print room and can result in yet additional savings. Increasing postal density, streamlining inserting and sorting, and eliminating the need for multiple envelopes and stuffers all save time and money. PRO Inkjet Express combines the capabilities and features needed to optimize every step of the production process, not just for the printer workflow. For example, you can adjust and modifying inserter control codes to take advantage of householding for significant postage cost savings. Regenerate mail run data files in any format including MRDF, IDF, etc. Consolidate windowed envelopes and eliminate the need for pre-printed envelopes and stuffers. Streamline and enhance processing by eliminating orphan and blank pages, adding new 2D barcodes, and splitting and segmenting mail streams to accommodate number 10, half fold and flat envelopes. These enhancements are essential in order to make the most of mail processing speed and efficiency.

Quickly setting up new and enhanced workflows drives faster ROI and helps make the most of your inkjet purchase quickly. PRO Inkjet Express provides the ability to change the output formats of existing jobs and migrate to new inkjet presses fast, increasing your ROI on the equipment – without having to start from scratch and recompose your existing print stream. Indeed, gaining real value out of your multi-million dollar investment requires more than simply placing the machine on the floor. Establishing the proper protocols and formats is essential to ensure your machines run correctly and efficiently. Without such optimization color conversion and RIP times (from RPG to CMYK, for example) may take hours instead of minutes. And when combining PDF jobs it is important to analyze the print stream with the aim to eliminate duplicate fonts and redundancy that commonly occur in order to avoid unnecessary delays in processing time. Making these changes would typically require take many expensive hours to reprogram, but PRO Inkjet Express makes it easy and fast, without having to start from scratch and recompose your existing print stream. This allows you to start realizing a return on your production inkjet investment from day-one.

Replacing pre-printed shells with inline color saves on stationery related costs, but also in a number of other important areas as well. Procurement overhead and expense is decreased by moving to generic blank rolls. Inventory and warehouse requirements are reduced and labor costs can be lowered because fewer staff may be needed to stock, move and manage an inventory of special forms since color inkjets can print the form overlays, logos, and graphics simultaneously with the variable data. Indeed, a “white paper in” environment opens the door for extra savings that are simply not possible in an operation relying upon pre-printed paper stock. Consider how often logo changes, new addresses and other form changes result in obsolescence rates of up to 30%. This all clearly has a tangible bottom line effect.

Improving Customer Communications

Print service providers and direct mail operations face an increasingly competitive marketplace. Gaining and retaining customers requires more expertise than ever before as customers look for providers with the latest capabilities. Certainly color is now a prerequisite in order to compete and the ability to produce high-value, high-volume customer communications is a powerful differentiator, especially when servicing clients in high-impact functions like Marketing, Sales, Advertising or Consumer Goods. Marketers have long recognized the positive impact of color to boost customer engagement and brand recognition.

  • Color in documents increases comprehension by 78%
  • Invoices printed in color get paid 30% faster
  • Full color mail pieces are 55% more likely to get read
  • Color boosts brand recognition by up to 80%
  • Repeat orders rise by 48% when using color

Using PRO Inkjet Express, providers have a powerful platform to make the transition to production color inkjet and build capabilities to improve customer communications that goes beyond simply using pre-printed shells. For sales staff, the ability to integrate highly variable and highly visible color into long run customer communications is an essential proficiency that allows them to be more competitive and gain more business. As a result, providers become a more valued and longer lasting partner to their clients.

Legacy Tools Miss the Migration Mark

PRO Inkjet Express is a superior tool to facilitate your migration to inkjet. Let’s face it, making the move to inkjet is expensive. And no one wants to have a multi-million dollar inkjet press sitting with its features not being fully realized. The lost opportunity for improved service and operational savings costs your company every single day you don’t take action. Unfortunately, most traditional document composition tools are not well suited to the scope and complexity of migrating from cut-sheet to roll-feed printers. Legacy applications, antiquated and proprietary print streams, and the sheer scope of the task often results in an expensive project that is a nightmare to manage and complete.

Up Your Percentage of Success

The cost of acquiring PRO Inkjet Express is less than the sales tax on a typical production inkjet press. Indeed, you can easily migrate to inkjet – optimizing the entire workflow from file to finished mail piece – for about 1% of your hardware investment. Organizations find that the additional investment pays for itself immediately by virtue of the ability to get the presses up and running faster. Further return on investment is quickly found with reduction in paper and pre-printing costs, press run efficiency and downstream mail processing improvement.

PRO Inkjet Express ROI Use Case

PRO Inkjet Express provides a solid return even before you purchase a press. The tool allows you to create custom test files, transform print streams, and pre-stage applications in order to evaluate and select the right inkjet press and related hardware. By planning and testing a modified workflow before finalizing any press purchase, you are more assured of your investment decision and ready to hit the ground running once the presses are in place.

One example is a growing Print Service Provider in the Midwestern United States that was evaluating several potential high-speed color inkjet presses for suitability to replace their aging laser printer fleet. The team felt strongly that the modified job setups had to be made and tested prior to deciding on a purchase. They used PRO Inkjet Express to assess possible candidates and ensure a fast and smooth transition to their new inkjet presses. The team identified many workflow changes they would need to make in order to ensure a successful migration to a new production platform and tested each one long before deciding which inkjet presses they would acquire.

Moving Forward

Are you looking to ease the migration to production inkjet and more quickly make the most of your multi-million dollar investment? PRO Inkjet Express has all the tools and features to do just that. It is unique in allowing you to migrate and modify existing workflows to full color inkjet without the need to reengineer existing processes or recompose existing print streams. For over 20 years we have helped organizations around the world reduce their costs, simplify their processes, and streamline mission-critical customer and transactional communications across all channels and formats. PRO Inkjet Express joins our award-winning lineup of solutions and it includes all the critical capabilities and features that you need to meet the most demanding requirements for increased operational efficiency, savings and service as a result of migrating to inkjet.

You don’t have to start from scratch. Find out more by downloading this PRO Inkjet Express product brief. And contact us today at 1-866-679-0864 to arrange for a free demo.

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