Thinking of investing in new large format hardware? You should consider our top seven pointers before you go ahead…
If you’re looking to stay competitive in this challenging market, increasing the range of products and services you offer your customers could be the answer. While the opportunity to grow and develop your business presents all sorts of exciting possibilities, it can also be very daunting, particularly if your expanding portfolio requires potentially significant capital investment in new large format equipment.
Our seven pointers will help you make the right decision for your business:
1. Market research: Be clear that any new products and services you offer are actually wanted or needed by your customers
This may seem obvious but it is surprisingly easy to get carried away with a new business idea without really knowing if your customers have any appetite for it. So, before you get too far down the line, take some time to really understand your customers’ requirements. Are they buying products elsewhere that you could fulfil with some new equipment investment? If there is demand, try to get a feel for the scale of it; you need to be sure you are going to get a reasonable return on any large format hardware investment you are making. If you are set on investing in a new piece of kit regardless of what your existing customers are interested in then be prepared to do the legwork to attract new ones.
2. Define your budget: Have a clear budget in mind before beginning the research into your investment options
Your budget will need to cover not only the machine but may also need to factor in costs such as building work. As well as the possibility of needing to do some internal restructuring work to accommodate your new hardware, it’s not unusual to have to make doors wider to get new large format equipment in.
3. Explore application possibilities: Understand the range of application possibilities and consider what else may be within reach
Once you know what new products and services your customers are interested in, and you are clear on your budget, now’s the time to start doing your research. One technology does not fit all applications so consider which applications are best for you and then list them in order of importance. You might find that by broadening your investment to also include a laminator and vinyl cutter will further increase the range of applications you can achieve.
4. Identify the technology: Understand which technologies will best suit your applications
The choice of large format technologies available is quite wide. Whether you need aqueous, solvent/eco-solvent, latex, UV or dye sublimation will depend upon what you want to produce and also whether the end product is destined for indoor or outdoor use. Be mindful that you may need to invest in more than one technology. This is why having a clear understanding of what your customers want and need at the outset is so important.
5. Skills and training: Once you have identified what equipment you would like to invest in consider whether you have the expertise within your business to run it
You may need to factor in time to get existing trained up to use any new equipment, or you may even need to recruit new staff. A reputable supplier will offer training themselves or work with a partner who can get your team up to speed. You should be able to get a taster of what’s involved before making any financial commitments.
6. Maintenance, back-up and warranties
Ask about daily, weekly and monthly maintenance; what can you do to keep the printer running to optimum performance? Things can still go wrong so make sure you ask about back-up and post-sales support. What are their call-out times and parts availability like? Consider warranties as they really can give you peace of mind.
7. Choose your large format hardware supplier carefully
Most large format hardware dealers supply just one or two brands of any given technology and will push you to one or the other, but don’t be pressured as there are many brands out there. Take the time to talk to different dealers and seek out impartial advice.
If you’re ready to take the next step or would like to speak to one of our experts for some impartial advice about investing in large format hardware then simply email firstname.lastname@example.org
Learn about Antalis’ hardware partnerships