These days, given state-of-the-art scanner technology, there are numerous ways PSPs can parlay scanning capabilities into greater profitability.
But before they do, they have to sort out the different technology and alternatives available in today’s scanners, and consider whether or not they are a fit with their own particular needs. In short, understanding the options, the technology, and the market opportunities is essential to making the right choice for your next scanner purchase.
In the next few pages, we’ll help prospective scanner purchasers sort out the sometimes complicated considerations that must be weighed before they buy.
Opportunities to Profit
Today’s scanners offer substantial opportunities for profit. Matching the right opportunity with the right scanner is one way to narrow down the selection of available scanners for any print service professional.
First, let’s look at a couple of fundamentals regarding size and use of color.
In many settings requiring scanners, the limited space available for office equipment demands compactness. That’s one reason that the integrated all-in-one printer and scanner accounts for a greater and greater share of sales these days.
“We see 95 percent of our sales in this” area, says Bob Honn, director of product marketing, large-format solutions, with Canon Solutions America.
Color is another consideration. Whether scanners sought are integrated scanners or stand-alone scanners, most of the scanning done today is color scanning, Honn says. “Do you need the digitized output to be in color?” he asks. “If you work with original plan sets in color, and want to capture those in color, it requires you to have a color scanner.”
As for profit opportunities, Malcolm Lane, president of Colortrac, cites several. “The obvious one is for shops to offer scanning services, where the customer brings their documents in” to be scanned, he says. “Another is to provide facilities management, in which scanners can be located on the customers’ sites, and jobs completed there.”
Shops can also offer rental services, Lane reports. “Maybe the customer has a job they want to do themselves,” he says. “We provide software designed for either touchscreen or regular PC mouse operability. Shops can rent the scanner to customers to do their own scanning jobs.”
Eric DuPaul, Designjet business development manager for Hewlett-Packard Co., offers several more profit avenues. First, because approximately 50 percent of all construction is remodeling, scanning is essential in digitizing old drawings. “There are tons of old drawings done the old-fashioned way,” DuPaul says.
Customers are looking for a service that can move the data from the scan into the software workflow with which they’re working, DuPaul explains.
Another opportunity is one many shops overlook, DuPaul says. That is in storing or archiving documents. “We can teach a repro shop how to offer data storage services for their customers. A lot of companies are missing that piece of it,” he reports.
The technology behind scanning has not changed much in the last few years. CIS (Contact Image Sensor) and CCD (Charged Coupled Device) are the technologies favored in scanning. CCD scanners produce the best color quality, making them more appropriate for reproducing posters, artwork, photography, paintings, and fine art, says Randy Geesman, co-founder and president of Paradigm Imaging.
All other types of documents fall into the category of technical documents, such as architectural and structural drawings and maps, which can be scanned using CIS. Capturing exact colors and gradations isn’t needed in scanning this type of document.
“CIS technology seems to be getting a little better, from the standpoint of the software that runs the scanner, not necessarily the scanner itself,” DuPaul says.