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Help Ensure Customer Safety and Build Business by Printing In-House

Help Ensure Customer Safety and Build Business by Printing In-House

You’re probably familiar with the saying, “necessity is the mother of invention.” It’s an old saying – so old that its origins can be traced back to ancient Greece. And yet, it is a saying perfectly suited for 2020, which was a year that saw more than its fair share of necessity and plenty of invention to go along with it.

Very few, if any, organizations have been untouched by the COVID-19 pandemic, and most businesses have had to adjust and innovate to continue operations. Following initial shutdowns, the food service and hospitality industries had to find a way to operate while still maintaining social distancing and sanitizing measures to keep customers safe. Schools have been tasked with finding ways to educate students virtually while also offering a safe in-person learning environment. Houses of worship, which many turn to in uncertain times, must keep congregants safe in their time of need.

One inventive measure for helping keep people safe while also saving money is bringing print work in-house. Many public schools and higher education institutions have relied on in-plant print solutions in the past, while organizations such as restaurants or churches frequently outsource production print jobs to print service providers. So why bring them in-house now?

Shorter, faster print runs

The need to limit the opportunities for coronavirus transmission means that communal, multi-use items like menus, textbooks and hymnals are out and single-use documents are in.

But who wants to place a huge print order in uncertain, rapidly changing times? For a restaurant, the ability to print single-use menus on demand means less waste as well as the ability to update as needed. Run out of a menu item? Just update the document and print the new one.

Likewise, communities of faith can print single-use prayer leaflets and song sheets, as well as flyers and bulletins updated daily or weekly. Schools can also benefit from the ability to do short, quick print runs. Even with virtual learning and a push toward digital materials, educators have still found a need for printed materials like curriculum packets and workbooks for use in on-site or in-home classrooms.

Another print job that has become necessary and, in some cases, mandatory in 2020 is safety signage. Many industries are required to have safety protocol posters as well as directional signage and other informational printouts. With the continual research on the virus comes new information and updated protocols – the ability to print new posters and signs regularly is a distinct advantage for businesses that must display them.

Customization and personalization

The switch to in-house printing offers benefits beyond speed and efficiency. New printer models, such as Sharp’s new MX-7081 and MX-8081, offer integration with Fiery Print Servers, imaging processors that provide more control and increased functionality without the need for an advanced degree in press operations.

One benefit that will appeal to many organizations is the ability to customize and personalize documents. By placing variable text elements, teachers can personalize workbooks for individual students or place a barcode or QR code with a link to a student’s grades or online lessons. Restaurants can also take advantage of QR code technology by printing links to digital menus. This further reduces costs by only requiring individual printed menus for those patrons who want them, while others can simply scan the code from a tabletop card and access the menu on their phones. Printing the QR code on business cards functions as a marketing tool as well – a device that can feed a large run of business cards can get your updated online menu in the hands of hundreds of customers. In a time when every dollar and every patron counts, the ability to create professional, full-color, personalized marketing materials on demand is priceless.

Print safely

The need for safety goes beyond customers, clients, students, and congregants – any organization operating in 2020 needs to think about workers' safety, too, and that includes keeping them safe while creating print jobs. Touchscreen displays can be sanitized, but even better is the ability to perform print jobs with voice controls through Amazon Alexa, or via a mobile app. In a time when so many businesses must weigh safety concerns against the cost of lost business, a device that can help with both is invaluable.

The last year has been a bumpy ride for most of us, but there have been some ups to go along with the downs. One of those is the reminder of just how innovative people can be when they need to be – and in 2020, necessity truly drove a good deal of invention.

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