#UKvUSA Does the press matter?

Two continents: US and UK. Two different buying backgrounds: procurement and agency. Two alternative ways of looking at things. I’m delighted to have teamed up with Deborah Corn from PrintMediaCentr to bring two extremely different views to some important print questions. So welcom e to Print Buying: #UKvUSA where Deborah and I share information about our experiences from both sides of the pond.

At the end of this post I have linked to Deborah’s answer to the same question. We wrote our answers (each limited to 500 words) without any idea of what the other was writing. As Deborah says: “Maybe we will agree, maybe we won’t, maybe we don’t even see the question in the same way – who knows… that’s the fun part!”

Please do leave comments, thoughts and support at the bottom of this post and on Deborah’s post.   It would be great if also posted your thoughts on Twitter, using the hashtag #UKvUSA Remember to watch out for our answers to another question next month.

Does the press matter?

When I go to a restaurant I am looking for a good meal

It’s the quality of the meal that counts. I don’t care if the chef has used a gas hob, an electric oven a sous-vide or even a camping stove! It’s all about the result.

It’s the same for most buyers

They don’t care what press their job is printed on. In fact, many buyers won’t even know that there are different types of press or different printing processes. All they care about is that they get a piece of print that suits their purpose.

Does it really matter if the buyer understands the press or not? As long as they have the right piece of print, they have done their job.

What about knowledgeable print buyers?

Does it matter what press a print job is produced on?

Does it matter what press a print job is produced on?

It’s not that different. When I run buying workshops, few people can distinguish between a piece of litho and digital print these days. And this includes people who are well aware of the different processes.

When it comes to choosing an exact press, it’s even harder. Modern press technology has blurred the crossover boundaries. These days, I find it hard to create clear rules as when one should move between, for instance, different litho press sizes. I also challenge any buyer to know whether their piece has been printed on a press from manufacturer A and manufacturer B.

I would argue that buyers who specify presses are closing doors un-necessarily.

Doesn’t knowing your press help you understand what products you can create?

I believe that press knowledge rarely helps with this. Finding and creating new products is all about having the right roster of vendors. It is also about having a network of the right people with a creative culture and a can-do attitude.

Here’s where the right press DOES matter

It matters for the printer. They need to choose a press that produces the right results for their customers. They also need to make sure that they have a press that creates the maximum efficiencies for their factory.

For buyers, the press is usually irrelevant. For printing companies it is vital.

How did Deborah tackle this question? See here. Look out for the next #UKvUSA battle next month: Is workflow really that important?

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3 Responses to #UKvUSA Does the press matter?

  • Pingback: #UKvUSA: Does The Press Matter

  • alan mills says:

    I like the debate and tend to agree with Matthew.

    I can’t remember the last time I was asked about the press the work was to be printed on. It’s more about showing samples of work and the client feeling confident that you will deliver the kind of product and finish they are looking for within their budget. And more importantly do their customers really care which press the work has been produced on as long as results are delivered. Amongst other items, we produce calendars for retail sales and our clients don’t ask about the press nor do the retailers nor do the people buying the calendars in the retail outlet. They all want something that looks good, will sell and make a great gift.

  • Think you have both missed the real point here. The type of press, in terms of printing process, size, B3, B2 etc. perfecting or non perfecting, and number of units does matter if you want the job printed in the most effective and efficient way.

    You would not print 500 business cards on a B1 6 colour offset press, I hope :-).

    So only be choosing printers to quote who have the optimum type of press and process for the job, will you get the best prices and results.

    This does imply a well selected, pre-qualified roster of printers covering all the types and markets of print you require.

    Finally, many years ago I spent 10 year as a print buyer, and my first manager had two interesting comments in the area:

    “If you think you are going to get the best price my only asking 3 printers to quote, you are wrong”

    “50% of all printed jobs are done by the wrong printer, on the wrong press, at the wrong price”

    Wonder if these are still true today?

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