This Week in Imaging: Why Inkjet is Set to Take Off
Depending on what imaging-related company that you support or work for, this week’s forecast of a growing inkjet-printing market is either good or bad news.
Although the diverse applications for the underlying technology are just beginning to reveal themselves, it appears that several of our largest hardware vendors are either ignorant about or simply ignoring inkjet technology. It seems some vendors are content to ride out the declining office-printing marketplace due to the fact that inkjet technology is not as profitable for their lucrative and high-maintenance dealer channels. How can this be?
1) Inkjet hardware costs are lower per page than toner-based products which means that sales commissions are lower. Keep in mind that there are still many thousands of “copier” sales reps on the street.
2) Inkjet hardware is simpler and thus more reliable. It also has considerably less maintenance-intensive components, such as fusers, developing units, and drums. This curtails the sale of consumables and service contracts as well as the income required to support the sophisticated service departments that are already in place and required for toner-based copier/MFPs.
3) Since inkjet hardware costs considerably less per page than toner-based units there will be fewer lease agreements, threatening another source of revenue.
4) Many existing and forthcoming inkjet-printing applications don’t involve office printing. This means that the vendors and dealers who have actively participated in the sales and service of production-printing applications will have an advantage going forth. In other words, they better understand the ins and outs of selling expensive equipment to a vertical market, how to handle the lengthier sales cycle and how to support the unique applications that production printing demands. In other words, these vendors and dealers are not just hawking feeds-and-speeds, their sales and support staffs are willing and able to support a more lucrative future.
In summary, while toner-based laser printers and MFPs will still have their place in the office, inkjet’s unique properties are not only making headway in the office, but those unique inkjet properties are positioning it for a solid future beyond the office with graphic-arts printing, apparel-printing, package-printing, vehicle wraps, and much more.
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