By Jochen Sproll, Business Development Manager, Koenig & Bauer Durst
How does the introduction of digital printing affect the converter and the customer throughout the total supply chain?
This is what we wanted to answer when we commissioned Fraunhofer IML, Europe’s largest research organization covering all areas of logistics, to develop a white paper. We worked closely with the team, particularly Markus Witthaut, a senior scientist at the institute.
We wanted to achieve a holistic perspective on the folding carton supply chain. We wanted to explore what digital technology does in comparison to analogue technology for printing as well as its effect on sourcing, distribution, inventory management and obsolescence.
The aim was to see if there was a point for converters and brand owners where digital printing is better suited in comparison to analogue printing.
This has particular relevance currently because brands are having to rethink their supply chains in light of the rising geopolitical tensions. They require more agility and flexibility in an uncertain world.
Of course, we all know that for very small lot sizes digital printing is beneficial, simply because of the reduction of set up costs.
But where is the exact point and how does it change for different lot sizes? What does this mean for converters and brand owners?
The study used data from three different sources. Brettschneider, a converter producing folding cartons, provided data on its production sets, Koenig & Bauer Durst shared ink costs and operation costs, Fraunhofer supplied logistics handling and transport costs.
It reviewed total supply chain costs a wide range of production batch sizes of an average of a B1 sheet. It compared analogue and digital printing from 1,000 sheets up to 40,000 sheets as an average lot size.
A surprising discovery was that even after the break-even point for analogue printing the differences in a medium range of 6,000 to 10,000 sheets was very low. So digital printing, if we consider the whole picture, not only the ink costs, but also the obsolescence and the wasted sheets, is very well suited for small lot sizes and performs in the medium range. For the latter, this becomes more relevant when you consider the possibility of substrate costs increasing further in the future.
These are just some reasons the white paper showed that the time for digital printing adoption is now. Read the full white paper https://lnkd.in/eg5mY-r4.