PrintFactory research reveals the hidden obstacles to efficient colour management

October 18, 2018

New research[1] from digital print software provider, PrintFactory, reveals that a widespread reliance on default solutions could be costing large-format operations thousands in, avoidable, wasted time, ink and media.

60% of print shops are relying on the RIP software that comes with their printer and almost two-thirds (63%) are running multiple platforms across their network. Furthermore, while the majority work from PC machines (60%), a significant proportion (37%) are operating both Mac and PCs. All this inherent inconsistency across traditional set-ups could be compounding quality control problems on the shop floor - not least when it comes to dealing with the complexities of colour management. An issue that 21% say is their biggest workflow bottleneck.

Erik Strik, CEO of PrintFactory, says: “When considering these findings, it’s no wonder the wide-format printing industry is struggling with inefficiencies.

“The research gives a strong indication that very few operators are actually using the RIP software of their choice - or even a single platform – meaning consistency is near impossible to ensure.

“There are many ways printing businesses can overcome a large number of the challenges they are facing, but it will require a break from convention.”

In response to the research, PrintFactory has compiled a two-part colour management guide that sets out the many parameters that may be contributing to some of the colour management obstacles identified. These include achieving consistency across substrates (cited by 30% as their greatest challenge), accurate colour reproduction (according to 29%) and ensuring different devices deliver the exact same output (a major problem for 22%).

When asked which top two solutions they would consider to help resolve workflow issues, 75% of the respondents stated new software as their first option. Though over half (51%) would consider investing in a new printer.

Erik adds: “The technology to eliminate such bottlenecks and deliver identical output across devices already exists, and - with new SaaS models that make even the most advanced systems entirely accessible - these can be extremely cost-effective. We wanted to run the survey to better understand why so many wide-format printers confide they’re continuing to waste costly resource on chasing colour and, moreover, what’s stopping them from switching to a smarter way of working.”

The in-depth industry report details the core features production managers should be seeking, as standard, in order to boost throughput, reduce waste and prepare print shops for the new age of automated print production. A step, Strik points out, can’t be confidently taken until operations get ‘back to basics’ by stripping out the layers of complexity that come with having multiple platforms, with different levels of capability: “As long as PSPs continue to rely on conventional colour management systems, it remains difficult for these print businesses to reap the full benefits of automation. Without a solid foundation of consistent colour across devices, any efficiencies created by an automated workflow are lost through time spent tweaking colour issues on jobs.”

[1] The research was conducted by PrintFactory through online survey tool, Survey Monkey, and polled 86 members of the global print industry from March to October 2018

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