Whatever printer you decide best matches your plans for the large-format market, the importance of a knowledgeable well-trained staff cannot be overstated. Although much of the digital workflow is automated, it is critical to your success with large-format services that operators be adequately trained. Invest as necessary in time, training and travel to ensure operators have the skills to take full advantage of your equipment. As part of that, also plan for redundancy: employees take vacation and sick leave, and they move on. At least one person with a vested interest in the company should also know how to run the equipment so personnel issues will never disrupt services.
All of what we've discussed until now only brings you to the starting point. Ultimately, success with large-format imaging rests with how well you can market these services to your existing client base, and promote your capabilities as a draw for new customers. Large-format output delivers new ways to broaden the impact of an existing campaign. They also give you an entrée with potential customers with highly specialized communications needs you may not have been able to approach before.
The digital printing technology provides a forum to experiment with graphic communications in both context and content, from floor graphics to oversized billboards, and everything in between. Your sales staff needs to start thinking beyond traditional applications, and be ready to demonstrate the many new venues where large-format allows any message to be effectively conveyed.
Of course, this requires an ongoing sales effort. As new substrates become available, innovative applications will follow. Over time, the service will establish itself as a profitable venture. Nevertheless, your sales staff need to continually provide clients with printed samples as well as examples of how large-format images are being deployed to prompt customers to recognize all they can accomplish with these services.
There are certainly challenges, on several levels, with a commitment to large-format printing. In return, the venture can serve as a profit center which allows you to capture more business long term, and grow in new directions as a full-service provider of imaging solutions.
In the big picture, that will help secure your future in the increasingly competitive imaging marketplace.
Scott Schinlever is the vice president of Marketing at VUTEk Inc.