For everyday printing operations, it’s beneficial to select a limited range of print materials that give customers “good, better, and best” options for products such as banners, retail displays, or trade-show exhibits. When your production crew uses a limited range of materials for most wide-format jobs, your shop can deliver estimates to your customers more quickly and improve the predictability and consistency of print colors.

But even after your shop builds its workflow around core sets of materials, at least one of your employees should be asked to follow ongoing developments in wide-format inkjet printing media.

Here are seven good reasons why it’s smart to keep up with new materials available for your wide-format printing operations.

Innovations in inkjet-printable materials are ongoing. Media manufacturers are constantly developing materials that are more economical, more durable, or more environmentally sustainable. When new inkjet media products are introduced, they are typically designed to solve specific problems with how an existing media product handles or looks when it is finished,  shipped, installed, or displayed.

The properties of a new media may help reduce your overall production, finishing, or shipping costs. The initial cost of the material may not be as important as the total cost of producing and delivering each piece. If your shop routinely reprints graphics that get damaged during finishing, shipping, or installation, it doesn’t matter if you saved a few dollars buying a less expensive grade of inkjet media. Or, you may discover that using a lighter weight, durable board can help you save money on shipping costs.

Clients may ask you to create graphics that go beyond your typical range of offerings.

Many large-format graphics are used for special events or experiential activations that help marketers create immersive brand experiences. Experiential designers know that it’s now possible to make props and custom decor that go well beyond standard signs, banners, backdrops, and posters. So even if you don’t print carpet, speaker mesh, tablecloths, wallcoverings, or floor tiles on an everyday basis, it can’t hurt to know where to buy specialty inkjet materials for unusual requests.

You can create and promote new products. Sometimes inkjet media developers don’t understand all of the ways it could be used. But a talented designer might immediately recognize how the new material could be converted into new types of products for your existing clients and prospects.

Every time your shop adds an innovative material or develops a new product, you gain a fresh opportunity to reach out clients. Instead of simply sending out promotional messages, you can educate clients about the creative possibilities of the new inkjet media. Your clients will thank you for helping them find new ways to visually communicate or create a sense of place.

Some clients will be asking you for more environmentally friendly options. If your shop doesn’t offer your clients a choice of environmentally friendly print materials, be prepared to do so. Even those clients who choose not to use the most eco-friendly materials will appreciate that your shop is keeping up with the latest developments.

You can protect your shop from shortages and price hikes. It’s important to be aware of alternate sources of the materials you use in everyday production. Sometimes, favorite products are unexpectedly discontinued. Or, the manufacturer might notify you about a major price hike. In come cases, a favorite product might not be available as quickly as you need it to be. Shortages and price hikes don’t have to disrupt your business if you have developed contingency plans.

You can stay competitive. The right choice of wide-format inkjet printing materials has a significant impact on your profitability. When your competitors adopt newer materials that enable them to reduce their overall production costs, you might discover that your “middle-of-the-pack” prices suddenly seem higher than normal to your customers.

How Ordant Software Helps

Ordant cloud-based print-shop management software makes it easy for all your employees to create estimates, track the status of orders, update customer and vendor data, and evaluate the profitability of every job.

When you reduce the amount of time your employees spend on everyday, repetitive tasks, you can spend more time researching and testing materials that can help your print shop compete and grow. Ordant software is versatile and easy to customize. So when you are ready to add the costs of new wide-format printing materials to your estimating system, it’s easy to accomplish.

For a demonstration of Ordant’s estimating and order management system for all types of print businesses, visit www.ordant.com