Back to School (Photography)
It might be helpful to share some insights into the challenges that labs from the UK, Sweden, Denmark, Holland face in taking the plunge to migrate production from a Wet Lab to a Drylab!
They have many shared experiences…
Whether the choice is for Epson SureLab or Fujifilm Frontier DryLab, the first thing to note is that the quality difference is stark.
It is not just the increased resolution and sharpness, but also the greater colour gamut that is available which is appealing. Being convinced, a decision therefore has to be made on when to make the transition and whether you can still retain both types of output during this process. One important issue is that of managing customer reception of the product and its leap in quality as they compare it to what they had previously received. They need to be aware of the value proposition. And at a basic level, one problem is that of the possibility of the customer receiving mixed print types either through reprints or additional prints to existing orders which everyone is keen to avoid.
I have observed two strategies: the first is to set a breakpoint for individual schools whereupon both workflows continue to operate until all schools are migrated; and the second is to introduce the new system in its entirety for all schools.
The first involves more effort, ongoing extra costs, and possibility of mix-ups, but a more incremental approach. The latter is a cleaner break, but needs greater care in ensuring that all elements of the production process work flawlessly, since there is little time to make adjustments when in full production.
In the latter, timing is more important. The operation usually takes place at the end of the Academic year, thus giving the maximum amount of time for development and testing.
But since this is a highly competitive and cost-conscious market, once the decision has been made to make the transition, it is natural to accrue the benefits as soon as possible. This makes changing to the Dry Lab at the end of a term (mostly around the Christmas Holidays), a compromise solution and thus the preferred choice.
In making the switch it is informative to highlight some of these benefits of Dry Labs:
- An opportunity to automate the workflow and gain more efficiency and throughput
- Save on maintenance costs
- Bridge the skills gap by having less reliance on specialist operators
- Be more environmentally sensitive
- Improve overall quality of product
- Opportunity to have new products based upon new capabilities of the machine e.g.
- Larger range of media
- Longer print length capability making panorama and group shots that bit easier
- Higher resolution
- Take the opportunity not just to extend the product offering but offer new services like On-Line
- Although the DryLab printers are slower than their WetLab counterparts, necessitating at least twice the number of printers, this provides for greater redundancy and flexibility and the ability to quickly and easily ramp up production with more of the same machine or their smaller versions.
Whilst phasing out the old system and ushering in the new, BlueFX bridges that gap.
BlueFX can help you to make the transition.