How to protect margins against rising ink prices…

Why ink logistics is the key for reducing costs and strengthening competitive edge in packaging and label printing

Rising ink prices and raw materials shortages are a reminder that process efficiency is a ‘must,’ to protect margins in label and packaging printing.

Of course, headlines about ‘soaring prices’ are concerning. Even so, the indirect costs of managing, processing, printing, shipping and – for some sectors – tracing ink are much more significant to your profits. And often, these only become apparent when things go wrong.

‘Ink logistics’ is the term that describes how inks are acquired, stored, transported and processed until they reach their end destination. With a system in place for managing ink-related processes efficiently and getting quality ‘first time right’ – the potential for unlocking value in your business is huge.

Start optimizing your processes with these essential technologies

Optimizing ink logistics is not a one-off event, but a never-ending journey that starts by adopting a ‘Lean’ culture of stamping out waste and continuously seeking improvements – company-wide. It’s also vital to automate and standardize ink and colour processes where possible. Three technologies that assist with automating ink processes are:

  • Ink dispensing systems – for blending and producing the exact spot colours, in exact quantities required for the production job. They are modular and tailored to business needs – read this article for essential selection guidance.
  • Table-top proofing systems – for accurately predicting the colour without needing fingerprinting or adjustments on press
  • Dedicated ink management software, integrated with colour formulation software, for automating processes including purchasing, stockholding, colour preparation, job costing and traceability

Use the five great benefits of ink logistics

Ink logistics brings long-term performance improvements that can protect profit margins, and deliver a major competitive edge:

  • Dramatically cut ink consumption! Dramatic reduction in ink usage is possible – by up to 30%. You dispense exactly what is needed, without producing excess amounts for a job to avoid running out during production. Also, thanks to software, spot colours returned from production (‘press return inks’) can be reused in new jobs, instead of wasted.
  • Get colours right first time – every time! Colour measurement, dispensing and proofing become standardized. You gain a trusted reputation for assuring predictable, repeatable quality – without the cost of internal mistakes.
  • Stamp out waste – cut operating costs! With a system in place to ensure repeatable colour quality without errors or remakes, you also reduce indirect costs such as scrapped substrate waste, storage, administration and transportation. Automation of processes reduces labour costs per job. Blending inks in-house means lower purchasing prices and much simpler logistics.
  • Generate more revenue by boosting machine production time! With automated dispensing, proofing and software, processes are simpler and faster, as well as repeatedly accurate. Cutting colour preparation and matching process times by 50% eliminates risk of bottlenecks and waiting time. This makes more uptime possible, and with it, the possibility of increased output and revenue streams.
  • Become more responsive! With the data-handling capabilities of the latest ink management software, and by keeping colour-making in-house, processes are accelerated further. It means you can respond quickly to market demands, and perhaps offer shorter lead times – while making smarter decisions too.

In these turbulent times, printing houses with efficient ink logistics in place will be better placed to mitigate for cost rises, while staying productive, trusted to deliver quality – and above all, competitive. There really is no time like the present to focus on internal processes!

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