In spite of all the technology changes underfoot, the offset printing process is still used for applications that range from commercial to packaging to direct mail. While each of these markets face their own challenges, there are some similarities, most notably the need to add digital capabilities...
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DTS Output, El Dorado Hills, CA, part of the Customer Communications Segment of DST Systems, Inc., produces and delivers its trade confirmations and broker-dealer, bank, and tax statements, in addition to offering fulfillment, direct mail, and warehouse distribution services. The scope of what this segment produces is in the numbers: in 2012, it produced more than 3.5 billion transactional communications that were received via postal, e-mail, Web, and mobile applications.
According to Dave Saavedra, Corporate Communications, DST Output, the company began moving its processes to digital 12 years ago from producing forms offset. Forms are now produced 100 percent inkjet. “Selling our our offset business had a very positive impact to our bottom line,” says Saavedra.
While DST Output doesn’t often run shells offset, “when we do, they are very competitively priced—not less than digital forms manufacturing, but getting closer,” says Saavedra.
Inkjet is compelling as customers look to shave costs off their mailings, and for shorter turnaround times. But they are also looking for higher resolutions and larger color gamuts—areas that offset often has inkjet beat. “Customers are looking for additional flexibility in terms of substraights available and different finishing options,” says Saavedra.
For IWCO Direct, the digital transformation is having an impact on workflow and technology, as it considers best practices for all platforms.
“Our platform makes use of both offline inkjet for personalization of offset production and continuous full-variable inkjet,” says Haskel. “We are making significant investments in workflow, digital asset management, and proofing solutions to support both platforms. This also requires an expansion of our content management team and training across our enterprise for our customer-facing team including creative services, client services, and sales. In other words, this is not just a change for operations and production—it impacts everyone.”
Clients, too, are looking for “best practices,” says Haskel, asking to be educated on how to optimize digital and understand how to determine which platform makes the most sense for their programs.
“Our customers want to know how to use the scope and breadth of our platform to their best advantage,” says Haskell. “They want and need education on how to design for digital and how to understand the best platform for each of their programs. They know that they must design for the digital platform in order to see the lift in response the platform promises, but many clients don’t know where to start. We are focused on providing this education through our Education Centers in Pennsylvania and Minnesota, our blog, and our business review process.”