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Overcoming challenges in commercial printing: solutions for quality control and efficiency

20 Apr, 2024

At Rawson Print & Packaging, we’ve seen our share of commercial printing industry challenges and opportunities come and go in the 45-odd years we’ve been in the business!

 

It’s a constantly evolving space of technological advancements, customer demands and market trends, from maintaining quality control as technology and materials change, to finding new ways to operate more efficiently.

 

Today we’ll share some of the challenges faced by commercial printing companies and explore some of the strategies to overcome them.

 

The commercial printing world

Commercial printing encompasses an array of printing and post-printing services, including traditional offset and modern digital printing technologies, finishing services like die-cutting, binding, coating, embellishments, and the distribution of finished goods.

 

Commercial printing can look different from one supplier to the next. Some suppliers specialise in one form of printing (such as only operating a digital or offset press); some manage their own finishing services in-house while others outsource it; and depending on the type of printing press used, some may cater to special sizes, formats, non-paper print materials, and more.

 

Printing industry challenges and solutions

What are some notable ways a commercial printer like Rawson responds to industry challenges?

 

1. Digital transformation

We’ve seen our industry come a long way over the last four decades, with the introduction and rise of digital printing alongside traditional commercial offset printing.

 

Digital printing offers flexibility, speed, cost-effectiveness for smaller print runs, and waste reduction benefits.

 

Alongside the rise of digital printing is the shift of many previously manual practices to printing automation, including the use of digital technology to manage many parts of production, including file preparation, ordering, quality control management, inventory management, job proofing and distribution.

 

A few ways we’re tackling digital transformation at Rawson:

  • We use toner-based digital printers and are one of just a few Sydney-based suppliers to run the B2 HP Indigo 10000 Digital Press, widely regarded as the closest representation to offset printing and ideal for producing large-format, small-quantity jobs.
  • We’ve introduced digital improvements, including an online client portal and digital automation in our production line.
  • We train our team so they have all the skills to manage new technologies and are also actively involved in upgrading and maintaining our systems.

 

2. Colour management in printing

It’s no surprise that a critical part of running a successful operation is reliable and consistent colour management. Deviations in colours quickly lead to customer dissatisfaction, reworking costs, wastage of inks, paper stock and energy, time delays, and reputational damage.

 

We combat the risk of poor colour management with processes including:

  • regular testing of all of our printing equipment against industry colour standards
  • regular equipment maintenance
  • spot-checks of print jobs as they pass through our presses
  • storing our inks properly to minimise any potential environmental impacts (such as exposure to light, air, heat and moisture)
  • using a state-of-the-art spectrophotometer, which measures the intensity of light passing through a surface (such as a printed substrate) to help ensure colour accuracy.

 

We also hold ISO 12647 certification, an internationally recognised standard focused specifically on colour management in printing.

 

3. Print production management

The printing itself is just one of a series of production steps that need to work effectively to make a print job successful. Print production includes pre-press (receiving artwork files from the client and preparing the file and print equipment for the job); the printing itself; finishing services; and packing and delivery.

 

If any one of these steps fails it can mean costly delays to the finished product.

 

Efficient print production management means that our production workflow is streamlined, with fail-safes built in to minimise errors, reduce turnaround times and allocate resources effectively.

 

A few ways in which we guarantee our production process include:

  • using workflow management software that helps us manage each step of production
  • adopting printing automation tools to manage file processing, imposition (how we order the job’s pages on the paper sheets we print to) and colour correction
  • regular maintenance of our machines
  • built-in waste paper removal and recycling.

 

4. Printing industry standards

With so many suppliers out there in the marketplace, it’s easy to be overwhelmed by the choice and marketing spin and end up partnering with a supplier who fails to meet your expectations.

 

One way to whittle down the list is to look for suppliers which hold industry-approved quality assurance certifications and have in-house quality assurance programs.

 

There are several common internationally recognised printing industry standards that require rigorous testing and independent auditing, and you should expect your chosen supplier to hold these—just like we do at Rawson!

  • ISO 9001 quality certification.
  • ISO 12647 colour certification.
  • FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certified printing.
  • EcoVadis (Silver) member.

 

We also invest in staff training programs to keep our team up-to-date on the latest quality control measures, and maintain a regular and independently audited company-wide quality assurance program that’s specifically focused on our pharmaceutical packaging work.

 

5. Adapting to market trends

Emerging technologies and shifting customer preferences play a big part in how we do business. Businesses that can’t offer innovative printing technology solutions risk limiting the services they provide, running into costly overheads, and becoming obsolete.

 

Personalised printing, sustainable packaging and web-to-print solutions are three in-demand commercial printing services. At Rawson Print & Packaging, we’ve embraced these trends with:

  • a 24/7 online portal, where clients can place orders on-demand
  • a range of sustainable paper stocks, inks and coatings
  • a range of sustainability and waste-reduction measures
  • investment in cutting-edge technologies that allow us to efficiently complete the entire production process in-house, saving on costs, resources and time
  • variable data printing, perfect for personalised marketing campaigns.

 

Set for commercial success

Good suppliers adapt—which is why Rawson Print & Packaging has been a commercial printing leader for nearly 50 years. We take pride in embracing innovations in our industry and adopting new printing technology solutions so that we can keep delivering the exceptional value our customers know and expect.

 

If you’d like to learn more about how our innovations help you with your printing needs, drop us a line!

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