Print service providers can choose from a number of cutting and routing devices these days. But the very breadth of that selection presents challenges as well as opportunities for PSPs. It’s not just a matter of selecting a cutting device, but choosing one that meets the unique needs of your company.
For example, how do you determine which type of technology best fits your business? How can you get a handle on which offers the best and quickest return on investment? How do you know which will work best in your workflow?
The experts are agreed that PSPs really needs to take a “big picture” view of their businesses, their needs and their future before investing in a cutting and routing device. In the pages that follow, we let those experts explain the various considerations that should go into that big-picture perspective.
Are there opportunities to build your business by adding cutting and routing equipment? Absolutely, says Beatrice Drury, the Denver-based Western territory sales manager and director of marketing and communications, with Franklin, WI-based Zund America, the US office of the Swiss manufacturer internationally known for producing cutting and routing systems.
“A lot of times, PSPs purchase digital printing equipment, which gives them the opportunity to print directly on to a multitude of substrates, all of which have to be finished,” she says. “They have print capabilities, but don’t have the cutting capabilities to match. So they resort to manual cutting, which is horrendously inefficient. Repeatability and accuracy are huge concerns; the cut pieces all come out a little different, which is problematic since customers want them all equally perfect. Then there’s the time involved in manual cutting and the constant potential for errors and waste. Between all that—the labor, a very inefficient and error-prone manual process and the waste involved— there is plenty of rationale for investing in digital cutting and routing equipment.”
The challenge many PSPs face is to ensure their business models begin creating value before and after printing, says Bill Hartman, vice president of business development, digital finishing with Gent, Belgium-based Esko.
“We define a value creation chain as design to print to cut,” he says. “If you’re putting ink on a substrate and cutting out a rectangle, that’s a very commoditized business. Many PSPs are ending up with a pile of output that needs to be cut. They can cut it by hand, farm it out to other businesses with the equipment or invest in the equipment themselves.
“As your volume grows over time, you’re going to get to the point where you will want to invest in that equipment.”
With the right cutting and trimming equipment, wide format-shops can potentially save thousands of dollars over the lifetime of the business, gaining a return on the initial investment as soon as year one, says Jen Kester, marketing manager of Montgomeryville, PA-based Foster Keencut. Those efficiencies are based on reduced time and labor, eliminated do-overs, decreased overtime expenses, and prevention of workplace injury and compensation claims.
One provider that has put a great deal of thought into the choice of its many cutting devices is Buhler, KS-based Gregory Inc., a wholesale graphics facility. President and partner David Wierengo reports his company has made a substantial investment in offering customers a depth and breadth to cutting.
“We use roll cutters, computer cut flatbeds, thermal die cutting, steel rule die cutting, digital routing, slitters and custom designed striping presses,” he says. “Every job is evaluated as to the best piece of equipment to provide our customer the best choice cutting solution. Volume of pieces, expectation for future repeatability, precision of cut, material selection, intricacy of design are all components that are considered when selecting a cutting option.