Are low quantity and variable data the only reasons I should use digital printing instead of offset?

This question was answered by Marcella Murphy, Manager, Creative Services Business Segment/Graphic Arts Industry, Production Systems Group, Xerox Corporation

Are low quantity and/or variable data the only reasons I should use digital printing instead of offset?

Short runs and variable information printing are two very good reasons to choose digital printing. Variable information printing which includes changing content, layout and images for each piece printed in one pass digitally is a boon for marketing materials and promotional transactional documents. Variable printing increases response rates dramatically. And doing jobs in short runs to avoid other "hidden" costs is the backbone of the digital print revolution. But that’s not the whole story.

Companies have discovered new ways to produce and distribute their vital business communications. All parts of the workflow are going digital – desktop publishing and design, photography, electronic file transmission, and printing to name only a few…because people want more control, faster turnaround and better economics. Digital delivers it all.

There are benefits in storing information electronically and publishing it on demand on the web and in print. It keeps the information more timely, and accurate. For print programs, it shortens run lengths eliminating the costly storage, handling and distribution of printed materials. It wasn’t long ago, and it still happens in some cases, that businesses would print more than they needed to seemingly get the cost per printed piece down. That was because the costs associated with the make-ready necessary in offset printing had to be recovered. Consider the costs, beyond print, of overprinting; the costs of warehouse storage, tax on inventory at the end of the year, the cost of destruction, and the fact that the information printed today might be out of date next week. Significant costs which are avoidable with digital printing.

Another digital printing benefit is the ability to do mixed-stock jobs on a wide variety of substrates, with inline finishing. This allows collation of inserts, covers, etc. within the job in a single run. Digital workflows allow on-press proofing. Instead of a proofing device, jobs can now be proofed on the same device they will be printed on.

Digital printing enables true print on demand, exactly what you need, where and when you need it. It is quite simply the application of the just in time manufacturing principles to the manufacturing of a document. The same savings enjoyed by the manufacturing industry are now being enjoyed by the printing industry.

About Xerox:
First, in black and white with Xerox’s DocuTech and DocuPrint lines which revolutionized an industry, and now increasingly in high-quality color with our DocuColor products including our flagship DocuColor iGen3, digital printing has come of age. From the desktop to the pressroom, digital color is a powerful tool…and the quality is ready for prime time.

Organizations can now experience the increased relevance, accuracy and timeliness – not to mention cost savings – that digital on demand printing provides. For more information about Xerox and it’s digital technology go to
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