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Fast, Good and Cheap – choose two!

Fast, Good and Cheap – choose two!

Sign Directions has now opened up its Soapbox slot to guest contributors to provide them with an opportunity to air an issue about which they feel passionate.  This week, it’s the turn of Mike Horsten, General Manager of Marketing EMEA at Mimaki Europe, who explains the criteria he believes that sign and print companies should use to select their printing equipment.

Have you ever thought about the fact that every company always claims that it has the best product, the best service, the best support, the best aftersales and the best warranty? Not to mention the best price?

I’m in marketing and even I stop to look at these claims and think: “Hang on a minute – these are misleading and sometimes downright lies.”

It’s like buying the best sandwich at the cheapest spot in town. What is the service like? Well, they throw the sandwich at you on the counter. But that’s the service, how about the warranty? I might get a rotten sandwich. Will they pay my doctor’s bill when I get sick after eating it? Probably not. I will just never eat there again.

It’s the same in the world of print manufacture. There are many people buying inkjet printers based on these claims. The missing parameters in their decision making process are ‘reliability’, ‘advanced technology’, ‘patents’ or even just a sound ‘what do you get for your money’ consideration?

Let’s take the printing of draft speeds for example – or garbage mode as I call them. They are basically useless for anybody buying a printer. Production speeds should only count for sellable quality.  A key-purchasing question should thus be: ‘What is my price per square metre?’

I have been hearing about people buying printers based merely on the ink price per litre without further investigation of the facts. How can you not check how much ink is purged by the machine on a daily basis,or how much ink is needed on the substrate to get a good image?

Did you know that the price of one square metre of UV print is about equal to the cost of a square metre printed with solvent ink? This is news to many. Yes, UV ink is 100 percent more expensive than solvent ink, but you also use only half the ink to get the same result.

Did you know that it’s not the speed of the printer that’s holding your production back, but the drying of the ink? If you print faster than you dry, then you will have a mess on the roll after printing. This is one of the reasons why UV technology in the roll-to-roll markets is growing. The ink is dried immediately after printing.

Can your printer run all night without failure or does it have to be supervised? We at Mimaki design products so they can run overnight, saving you the cost of an operator for eight hours. The printer is making money while you are sleeping. All thanks to its advanced technologies. The same goes for cheap printers and service – how can you expect the service to be tip top, yet for zero money?

Check out how this restaurant sign puts it in perspective:

We offer 3 kinds of service – GOOD-CHEAP-FAST

     But you can only pick two!

  • Good & Cheap won’t be Fast
  • Fast & Good won’t be Cheap
  • Cheap and Fast won’t be Good

This illustrates the real world of service – don’t expect the best if you pay nothing. On the other hand, you should expect and receive the level of service and after service promised by your vendor.

Printing technology companies like Mimaki are always moving ahead. We include the tried and tested technologies in both our entry level and industrial machines. We make the R&D effort to make your product better. The result: reliable, fast and high quality printers.

Service is a top priority for us and we don’t like, ormake, misleading claims That’s why Mimaki and some other leading manufactures are only now publicising production modes and real speeds.  That’s why we request original inks are used. All so we can guarantee that your production is reliable so you can save money. Yes – it is more expensive on the first impression. But you have full warranty and an assurance of print production.

So the next time you want to buy a printer think beyond how fast or how cheap it is. Make sure it delivers too.

Mike Horsten

Do you have something you’d like to get off your chest?  In the first instance, e-mail Val Hirst at Sign Directions, at or telephone 01623 882398 for a preliminary chat.

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