The need to satisfy short-run book orders and cut lead times were the key drivers in Ovato’s decision to move its on-demand book printing operation from Adelaide to Melbourne with $1 million invested in three new Konica Minolta presses and other technology.
The move was completed in June 2019 with no jobs lost in Adelaide and the creation of five new print production roles at Ovato’s print site in Clayton, which handles the company’s newspaper, catalogues, magazine and other print work.
The focus to this type of responsive and short order printing comes as book publishers face mounting pressure to supply books on-demand to retailers like Amazon and Booktopia and in doing so reduce warehousing, distribution and ageing stock costs. It also comes as latest figures report a 2.5 per cent rise in book sales in Australia.
“The move towards on-demand print has been in development for a number of years because we wanted to satisfy smaller orders and reduce waste and returns,” Ovato Print and Distribution chief executive officer Adrian O’Connor told ProPrint.
“Now with the advancement in technology there is an opportunity for us to make a new investment and have the Konica Minolta presses at a site that was more conveniently located for our customers.
“A lot of our customers’ distribution facilities are on the eastern seaboard so Melbourne or Sydney or the Southern Highlands of NSW so it made it easier for us to meet those turnaround times,” which he said are usually a five day turnaround.”
Ovato’s investment includes two bizhub PRESS 2250s which can handle both reel and cut sheet inputs producing 250 pages per minute in A4 monochrome, marking the first installation in Australia of this press with this functionality.
It also includes a Tecnau DocuSheer roll feeding system for the book blocks and a Konica Minolta C6100 colour press to produce covers, enabling a faster and more streamlined workflow.
The presses can facilitate both reel and cut sheet inputs, reducing downtime between print runs and allowing for quicker delivery times to customers. Equipped with this new tech, the site now allows for printing of up to 5,000 books a day, while previously it was set up to do 500.
Ovato signed a $56m four-year contract to print for Penguin Random House last year and it also prints for other leading publishers including Allen & Unwin and Scholastic.
O’Connor said education publishers including Cambridge University Press, Oxford University Press, Lexus Nexus were large users of the on-demand model as they prefer to print textbooks as orders arrive and in doing so reduce wastage and the need to store books.
“Looking at our customers we see quite a bit of overlap for print on-demand and conventional print,” O’Connor said.
“We have customers that are doing both of those channels with us and then we have some print on-demand customers that are more in the educational space. There might be a specific textbook on a subject that they only want to order when they have got a demand for it. They will get an order for one or two copies and they will place an order with us. We can literally make them a book of one and despatch it directly to their customers.”
Sue Threlfo, general manager, Production & Industrial Print, Konica Minolta said, "Konica Minolta is excited to be working with Ovato Book Printing on its new print-on-demand offering. This solution is the first of its kind delivered in Australia, which speaks volumes of the skills and expertise of the team. We also see further opportunities to assist Ovato Book Printing with other digital solutions as our relationship continues to grow.
“This partnership with Ovato Book Printing plays an important role in helping Konica Minolta attracting other print suppliers. Ovato’s adoption of new technologies and services will help inspire the wider printing community as they seek guidance on how to achieve success. We are looking forward to supporting innovation within the industry as our relationship with Ovato strengthens and grows.”
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