Skip to content

Search Marco

    Questions to Ask Before Purchasing a Production Printer

    By: Clint Dorgan
    July 28, 2022

    Does your organization need to produce a lot of printed materials? If you do a significant amount of print marketing, or you’re an educational institution, the answer is undoubtedly yes. Considering how much your current printing supplies cost and how much those costs keep going up, you might be considering other ways to increase efficiency and lower your monthly expenses.

    One of the best ways to accomplish both is to invest in a printer that’s not only up to the task — it’s designed for it. A production printer, also known as a digital press, is designed to handle high-volume jobs. However, not all production printers are the same. Before you invest in one, here are some essential questions you should ask.

    WHAT PRINT PRODUCTION EQUIPMENT DOES YOUR BUSINESS ALREADY HAVE?

    If you don’t need to produce high-quality graphics often, and you already have a relatively new printer that can accomplish that task nicely, you might not need a production printer that specializes in images. Generally speaking, the more features you need in one device, the more expensive that device will be. A thorough assessment of your current printing capabilities might save you a great deal of money and help you avoid redundancy.

    If you discover that any of your printers are over seven years old, that’s also critical information that should factor into your search. Outdated printers can cost your organization quite a lot of money in supplies, maintenance, and energy and can put your data at risk. Even if that printer is operating normally, you’ll need to replace it soon. If you’re going to be adding a new printer anyway, it’s helpful to know what capabilities your old device had so you can include those features in your next one.

    DOES YOUR WORKSPACE HAVE ANY LIMITATIONS TO KEEP IN MIND?

    Most production printers are pretty big. They will often run eight or nine feet long, and that’s not taking into account any additional paper trays or finishing accessories. Just like any other office printer, they will need additional space around them. Be sure you don’t overlook any size constraints you may have when you consider purchasing a production printer.

    Production printers take up a lot of space, and they can also require quite a bit of energy. While typical office printers will take 115 standard outlets, production printers may require more power, and peripherals may require their own outlets.

    WHAT KIND OF PROFESSIONAL PRINTING IS NEEDED?

    Production printers aren’t cheap. So before you even start shopping, it’s helpful to consider your current and future needs carefully. How much do you need to produce now and in the future? What can you afford in terms of equipment, ink, and paper? Does what you’re printing often need to contain high-quality images, or would a printer that could quickly handle black and white printing be sufficient? If you had to pick one, would you choose speed over quality or quality over speed? Do you also need to produce wide-format documents like posters or architectural plans?

    Answering these questions will help you start narrowing down your best options, and your answers might start pointing you toward certain printing manufacturers. It might be helpful to start getting a sense of which brand you might be leaning toward, as print providers might only be able to offer great deals on certain brands.  

    Marco has strategic partnerships with a large variety of manufacturers, including Konica Minolta. Konica Minolta has a wealth of production printers to choose from --- some that are best for high volume black and white printing, some that specialize in versatility, and others that offer variable data printing and can produce truly dazzling images.

    HOW WILL YOUR PROVIDER HELP YOU MAINTAIN PRINT UPTIME?

    Speaking of providers, you’ll need to be just as strategic about who you’re buying your printer from as choosing the right device. Your new production printer is supposed to be a workhorse. It’s designed to be fast and reliable and pull its own weight. After all, that’s certainly what you’re paying for. So you’ll need to know what to expect when and if something goes wrong.

    Will your provider offer training for your staff on how to best use your new production printer? If something goes wrong, will you get to talk to someone who specializes in this type of equipment right away? What support options are available, and how quickly would you be able to get back up and running? Your provider’s Service Level Agreement (SLA) should spell out precisely what they’re responsible for.

    WHAT SHOULD BE OUTLINED IN A SERVICE LEVEL AGREEMENT?

    Production printers aren’t all the same, and neither are all print providers or their SLAs. Your agreement should contain clear information so you’ll know exactly what to expect, and you won’t be caught off guard. Before you sign anything, make sure your SLA spells out the following:

    • The availability of service technicians and their level of expertise
    • How service calls are handled and how quickly services are typically completed
    • Your provider’s guaranteed response time
    • The availability of necessary repair parts
    • Your provider’s policy on using genuine repair parts vs. OEM parts

    HOW TO MAKE YOUR NEXT STEPS EASY

    If conducting a detailed print assessment, assessing your workplace’s constraints, and researching manufacturers and providers sounds like a lot of work, that’s because it is. It’s definitely doable, but depending on your areas of expertise, it might not be the most efficient use of your time.

    As the top print provider in the U.S., Marco’s print technicians are highly skilled and will take the time to get to know your organization and its printing needs to make the best recommendation. And because Marco has formed strategic partnerships with the top printer manufacturers in the world, we can also get you the very best deals on the right production printer for your organization.

    Meet with a Marco Print Specialist Schedule Appointment

    Topics: Print Uptime, Professional Printing Production, Print Production