According to Frank Adegeest, Kongsberg VP Product Strategy and Business Process, historically, hand finishing was always seen as a sign of quality – and is still seen as such in many markets.
But in today’s demanding, fast-paced world of sign, display and even packaging, demand means that the care and attention of hand finishing is not sustainable for a business with its sights set on a strong future. So, does moving to digital finishing mean substituting quality over quantity? No, it does not. What it means is that you – and your customers – can now benefit from efficiency, quality and importantly, safety.
Now is the time to invest in the technology and tools that can unlock your potential and take your business to the next level, ensuring you can not only overcome the challenges faced today, but to also prepare for the needs of tomorrow.
Overcoming hurdles to meet today’s challenges
Customer demand for increased accuracy, consistency and efficiency – needs which had already grown considerably due to shifting consumer trends – has dramatically increased in the wake of the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic. You are now facing pressure for better printing and finishing for both in-store applications, where innovative POS displays and retail-ready packaging are used to attract consumer attention, and in the booming e-commerce market where quality packaging is helping to improve the consumer experience and build brand equity.
The industry has also witnessed an increasing call for shorter runs among these same e-commerce brands, a result of further demand for more personalised packaging, and – as many countries of the world begin re-opening to consumers – a returning demand for more regional and localised in-store marketing campaigns.
Many digital printers, particularly smaller businesses, have previously faced considerable hurdles when looking to invest in in-house digital finishing solutions, which can help meet the challenges of today. But now, things have changed.
Innovation is the key for success today, and tomorrow
Necessity might well be seen as the mother of invention, but customer needs are undoubtedly what drives innovation. While businesses like yours might historically have been required to house an array of equipment across your shop floor to handle a range of different materials, applications or finishes, did you know that technological advances mean that previous obstacles, such as a lack of space or prohibitive costs, are no longer the issues they once were? Today, many of these tasks can all be handled with just a single device.
Robust, industrial devices that deliver reliability, consistency and maximise productivity have addressed today’s key pain points, while simultaneously removing the obstacles which have, until now, prevented many businesses from investing in their own digital finishing equipment.
A tool for every task, and every design idea
As brands seek to capture market share with standout POS and packaging designs, how is a small business supposed to cope with the continued development of new substrates? Having the right tools to handle these new processes manually is simply unrealistic, but thankfully the advances in digital tooling technology have kept pace.
While the challenge for tool developers has been to ensure they meet the objective of delivering the highest quality performance at the most reasonable cost, the gains to your business are manifold. Not only do you benefit from new tools developed to achieve specific tasks, such as an innovative new enhancement in knife blades or entirely new router bits, but these same advances also deliver new freedoms and boost creativity in design.
With increased demand for more environmentally friendly and potentially lower-grade materials, the ability to work with new, different substrates empowers you with the freedom to design innovative creations that had previously been impossible to manufacture, and therefore pointless to conceive. This shift provides the double advantage of delivering against customer demand for innovative new product design, while protecting you against prohibitive cost implications.
All of this means the solution is clear – an investment in digital finishing may previously have required lots of space and significant investment, but today there is more choice available to small businesses who realise the time has come to switch their mindset and business to digital finishing.