Reprographics: a solution to the printing industry paper shortage

14 Jun 2022

As printers aim to deliver quality, speed, and value for their brand partners, complexities in today’s supply chain can easily create new pressures and crucially, eat away at the bottom line.


Paper shortages resulting from severely disrupted supply chains in the aftermath of Brexit, the pandemic and the recent UPM strike, mean that material costs are rising and the availability of substrates is extremely limited. However, market demands for both quality and quantity are also very high, meaning that any printers who are in a position to meet these demands will earn greater rewards than ever before.


To make sure they are on the winning side of this zero-sum game, printers must optimise their workflow. Every scrap of material requires a greater investment than ever, but it’s an investment that can still be made to pay off when teaming with a dedicated reprographics partner. Reprographics experts like the ones we employ here at Creation can help printers maximise the resources they have and minimise waste, boosting the bottom line at a time when this has never been more vital.


Optimise your inventory

A dedicated reprographics partner like Creation helps everything in a printer’s inventory work harder. We recommend specialised fixed colour palette (FCP) printing (also known as extended colour gamut printing, or ECG), which is a much more efficient process than traditional spot colour printing. Adopting this technique helps printers adapt to supply chain shortages in the short term while setting in place more efficient processes for the long term.


One of the benefits of this is that it reduces the number of unique inks needed to complete a job without compromising on colour accuracy. With ink supply chains being disrupted – just as most supply chains have been – it offers the optimal use of print resources.


As larger brands expand following the pandemic, demanding greater throughput and more complex, quality designs from printers as they do so, there has never been a better time to embrace FCP printing. The sheer quantity of spot colour inks required adds many layers of complexity to print runs, and when there is complexity, there is the risk of mistakes creeping into the process. FCP printing keeps it simple and, by partnering with a reprographics company that knows how to integrate it, printers can streamline any job.


Another key benefit is that, by reducing the number of inks used, FCP printing makes it much easier to monitor inventory. This also frees up warehouse space, meaning printers are free to use storage space for other valuable materials.


Cut out prepress mistakes

Preparing files for print is one crucial area where a dedicated reprographics partner can save printers time and money. Whether taking advantage of our design service or simply submitting jobs for colour management, printers can rely on our scientific approach to managing critical press files.


Prepress involves many small yet time-consuming technical tasks. Missing something as fundamental as a bleed or as small as remapping Pantone colours can lead to entire runs being wasted. With the post-pandemic market being what it is, even small amounts of unnecessary waste come with a high cost, so this can be catastrophic.


A strong reprographics partner gives any printer an assurance that their designs will be reproduced with precision on the final product. No matter how complex the design is, what colours are used, or the substrate to be printed on, reprographics companies like Creation have the skills and experience to produce results that printers can rely on, even in the most uncertain times.


Make the most out of every resource

Optimising the print process is not simply about cutting out mistakes on the press. Often, a reprographics partner will simply have the specialist expertise that lets them get more out of any raw materials that are available.


This is especially true of packaging jobs, which can require increasingly complex designs printed either on labels or onto the packaging substrate itself. We take a scientific approach to prepress and colour management, ensuring precise and consistent results across every print job. Printers can provide their customers with perfect results across their whole brand range, whether printing on paper labels, flexible packaging, or corrugated board.


While the paper shortage is set to continue into the near future, there are still many opportunities to be exploited in a high-demand marketplace. To do so, printers need to be able to reliably print on any substrate that comes their way. There is no more reliable solution than a reprographics expert like Creation.

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