If you ask a salesperson working for one of the leading manufacturers which is the best digital press on the market, his/her answer will always be the machine at the top of their own portfolio.
Xerox salespeople are encouraged to BELEIVE that every printer wants an iGen. They are all “Mad for iGen”, as the sales speak suggested.
Strange really, because Ricoh salespeople are certain that you can’t survive without a ProC9100 and Konica Minolta salespeople will try to convince you that a KM1100 will solve world hunger. People from Canon, HP and Kodak are all similarly cursed, or is it blessed.
There is nothing wrong with having confidence in your products and enthusiasm is very infectious. I love enthusiastic salespeople, though sometimes a touch of realism could be helpful. You can’t fault manufacturer salespeople for their thinking. It’s just a simple process of ‘making the most of what you’ve got’ and while they are all sometimes wrong, it’s fair to add that they are all sometimes right too.
The point being that the USPs (unique selling points) of any one of these manufacturer devices may prove to be perfect for your environment, or perhaps a better fit than the others. This means that there isn’t really a single answer to the question ‘Which is the best digital press?’ Therefore perhaps you should ask a different question… ‘Which is the best digital press for MY print environment?’
Getting a proper answer and reaching an educated decision isn’t an easy task because suppliers with a single product will focus on the strengths of their product, and before you know it are leaping headlong into the ‘my dad is bigger than your dad’ argument. This leaves you with a tick-box scenario, which may help your decision-making process, assuming your potential supplier is telling the truth AND is as well informed of the competition as he/she might seem.
It would be unfair of me to suggest that salesmen tell lies or mislead buyers, most of the salespeople I know are professional people, however many just don’t know or understand the full capabilities of their own products and would never admit to any limitations. More damaging to you than their lack of understanding about products, is the lack of industry knowledge.
Way too many digital press salespeople have progressed from office copier sales to commercial print sales in very short timeframes, leaving them with little or no time to learn their new ‘trade’. Understanding the issues faced by commercial printers in terms of substrates, productivity, workflows and the all-important profitability, should be the bed-rock upon which any suggested device is made. If your supplier doesn’t know much about these, then can I suggest that you KICK THEM OUT?
Image quality is a given in this day and age and, in this regard, you can help yourself a little by taking care to choose appropriate test files. If you are going to a showroom to see a demonstration, take real files with you and not files that you have created to be deliberately difficult. None of the manufacturers will shy away from trying your files, however some may give you more realistic expectations around the stock profiling and colour management that each may require. When you go down the ‘nasty files route, then you are playing ‘my dad is bigger than your dad’ too. Pointless!
The object of the exercise is to get the best device for you, so take files that you print regularly. If Fogra accreditation is important to you then give the demonstrator a bit of notice. Setting up the right profiles does take a little time, after all.
Your demonstration or discussions should also focus on any new revenue stream that your next digital press can give you, assuming you have the market.
Once you have identified the digital press that meets the most number of your needs NOW as well as supporting your FUTURE needs (short term, mid-term and long term), you might just have found the most APPROPRIATE press on the market.
And if those manufacturer salespeople are just not giving you enough options, talk to an independent. Our only preference is ‘what’s right for you’.