Service, Speed,
Reliability, is this real?

Can we expect service, quality and reliabilty to be good at any cost?

Have you ever thought about the fact that every sales company/reseller is always screaming that then have the best product, the best service, the best support, the best after sales and the best warranty? Not even mentioning also they might include that they also have the best price.  I love sales people but, I’m in marketing.

I sometimes look at these marketing actions and feel really bad about them. I believe they are misleading the market and sometimes they are just propagating pure lies.

It’s like buying the best sandwich at the cheapest joint in town. 

What is the service like, well they will throw the sandwich on the counter and they are not serving it on a nice plate for you to eat. OK, that's the minimalistic service model, how about the warranty?

Do I get my money back if the sandwich is not ok or if I get sick will they pay for my doctor’s bill or my sick pay? Unfortunately, no they will not.

So, the result is that you will never eat there again but all the pain is yours. There is just no relief for this.

"Hardware Service is not different"

The same goes for the printing-hardware manufacturing world.  There are many people that are buying inkjet printing equipment just because they believe these cries that are send into the market are true. The explicitly missing terms like reliability, advanced technology, patents or even just a clear “what do you get for your money “, are just not there.

If the manufacturer is from a faraway country with no local offices, nor service staff to support you, what do you expect.

Remember, miracles are for free and wishes you pay for.

Take for example the advertised printing speeds in draft mode or how I call them garbage print modes. These speeds are basically useless for anybody buying a printer. It tells you how fast a printer can print garbage. You only should talk about real production speeds. Speeds that give you sell able quality for your customers. You also need to think about more fundamental things like, what is my total cost price per sqm (maintenance, ink, substrate, write-off, head degradation, service contracts, operator cost and financial burdens). ROI calculations will set you back for a few hours but its worth it.
I hear people buy inkjet printing equipment just because of the ink price per liter, without investigating the facts of consumption, head cost and maintenance waste all of these things need to go into the equation.
You really need to do your homework, you need to check how much ink is purged by the machine each day for cleaning and maintenance, how much ink Is needed on the substrate to get a good quality image, including solid colors.

The energy needed, space needed, operator cost and much more. For example, did you know that the price of one square meter of finished print on a printer with UV inks and a solvent printer are about the same, when it comes to ink pricing? This is just something many PSP’s just don't know.

Yes, UV ink is more expensive than a good eco solvent ink but, you also use only half the ink to get the same result. Did you know that its not the speed of the printer holding you back for fast production, but the drying of the ink? If you print faster than drying capability of the inks, then you will have a mess on the roll after printing whole day or overnight.

"I buy hardware because
of the ink price"

This is one of the reasons why UV technology in the large Roll-to-Roll markets is still growing, the ink is immediately dry after printing and production speeds are fairly high these days. When we talk features, one of them should be, “Can I print reliably overnight?”. If your printer can run all night without failures you're the king, but if it can only run supervised, your losing money.

As a consultant I don't design products, I evaluate them. I look at the total feature set of these products. I look at the options like overnight printing, ink cost maintenance ratios and much more.  Just the total ROI for your company and yes, its different for each printing company in Europe and the UK. The cost of an operator doing nothing for many hours is too high for anybody not to care. If the printer is making money while you are sleeping due to all the advanced technology in the printer you will be happy.

You need to be in the loop of things, like error reporting, auto cleaning, nozzle-out detection and other features. It will give you the understanding that there is a reliable piece of hardware in your shop doing its job.