4 Lessons Broadridge Learned Making the Switch to Inkjet Technology
You’re thinking about transitioning to inkjet technology, but are afraid to make the leap. Or maybe you’re partway through the process already but the conversion has stalled.
Broadridge, North America’s largest transactional printer, began printing on inkjet technology in 1999; the company’s still going through the transition since they operate well over 100 presses across the U.S. Jeff Matos, Broadridge’s Senior Director of Print Operations, understands that uncertainty about the right applications for inkjet, how to choose paper for your client projects and how to sell your customers on inkjet technology can keep you from fully implementing this fast, efficient technology—so he agreed to share the biggest lessons learned during the company’s 20-year transition to inkjet.
Inkjet Lesson #1: Color Theory Is Key
Broadridge focuses on printing and distribution for the financial industry, including printed statements like proxy and brokerage statements. Over the years, Broadridge has moved from black-and-white toner printing to full-color inkjet, and during the process, Matos discovered that he needed to develop a good understanding of color theory, which is a guideline for color mixing and combining.
Once Matos had a handle on color theory, he then needed to pass that education along to his clients. “It’s something that is still not second nature to them,” he says. “We helped clients make that transition from pre-printed forms in black and white to replacing the forms with a full-scale color redesign.”
Inkjet Lesson #2: Not Testing Can Lead to Fuzzy Results
When it comes to choosing the right paper for inkjet, Matos says that cost, quality and availability are big considerations. But no matter how perfect a paper may seem, Matos has learned the hard way that you have to conduct a full end-to-end test before committing to it.
Once, Broadridge created and tested a piece on a beautiful paper and it passed with flying colors. The company got approval from the customer, printed the job and sent it out. “Then we started getting phone calls, because by the time the documents got to the end users they were just destroyed,” Matos says. “The colors were rubbed off all over the place from the postal equipment.”
He theorizes that a mail carrier dropped their bag and got it wet, and because of the particular paper and ink combination, half of the documents ended up being unreadable. That, he says, is one of the printing disasters that’s arisen from not testing the paper throughout the entire print production, post-processing and mailing process.
Inkjet Lesson #3: Buying Imported Paper Can Slow You
Many vendors have tried to sell Matos paper from Europe, South America, or Asia. However, “At my volume levels and the velocity of my business, I can’t afford any lapse in inventory or availability of product,” he says. “Having the manufacturer close to me with a very high level of partnership is a big consideration.”
Inkjet Lesson #4: It’s a Big Jump (But Worth It)
Matos recommends doing your research before starting the transition to inkjet. “It is a bigger jump than many people think,” he says. “A lot of people have done it already and you can be successful, too, but you have to do your homework so you’re prepared for the differences in the paper…and differences in the color environment, if you’re coming from a black-and-white environment.” He adds that print companies making the switch also need to take steps to ensure their post-processing equipment can handle the level of quality they want to get from their inkjet presses.