How in-house printing can improve business for SMEs

Many businesses outsource their printing requirements to a print shop, especially if they need a professional-looking document. However, outsourcing printing requirements isn’t always the best option for SMEs, especially if they need documents in a hurry, budget is limited, or the content being printed is highly confidential and/or sensitive.

For many SMEs this presents an issue. They struggle to outsource their printing efficiently and affordably, but they can’t afford to bring that printing in-house due to the high cost of printers and consumables.

While this may have been true a long time ago, today’s A3 and A4 colour printers are affordable and can produce printouts of such a high quality that they rival the professionals. They are also capable of producing professionally folded and stapled booklets, presentations, and folded leaflets that fit easily into envelopes, and even banner-sized prints for use as point-of-sale or in-office signage.

There are seven reasons SMEs should consider bringing printing in-house:

1. Control. Printing in-house puts the control back in their hands. That means documents are printed when needed; no need to wait for the job to be processed at the print shop.

2. Security. Businesses can maintain better security and governance over information by not sending sensitive documents to a print shop for printing. Print shop employees won’t see confidential documents and there is no risk of the information being stolen while it’s in transit. In-house printers can also be configured to require a code or swipe card before they release sensitive documents.

3. Time. When there aren’t long lead times for professional printing, there is more time to spend perfecting the document and ensuring there are no errors. Users can work on the document right up until the last minute, ensuring all the information is up to date and accurate. Whether this makes a difference of a couple of hours or a few days, the time saved can be put to good use.

4. Quantity. Often, to make a print run worthwhile for a professional print shop, a minimum quantity needs to be ordered whether it’s needed it or not. Printing in-house means SMEs can do short runs when needed, leading to fewer wasted copies.

5. Quality. In-house printing can deliver outputs that are all but indistinguishable from professional printouts in terms of quality, especially if the printer is set up correctly. Given the consistent quality that can be achieved from in-house printing, SMEs can save outsourced printing for specialised jobs that require professional equipment.

6. Cost. The cost of in-house printing is invariably far lower than the cost of outsourcing to a professional. And, with print management software that lets businesses assign printing expenses to cost centres, clients, or specific projects, it can be easy to recoup those costs.

7. Flexibility. With the right tools in-house, SMEs have the flexibility to print when they need to, make changes to documents as required, and even print from a mobile device.

With the right equipment in place, businesses can benefit significantly from in-house printing capabilities. Working with a print management partner can help SMEs choose the right equipment and configure it correctly, leading to significant cost savings and productivity improvements.

Shane Blandford, Director of Marketing and Innovation, Konica Minolta

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