Print On Demand

The sustainability benefits of Print-on-Demand

Written by Mark Blackburn
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Originally published
March 31 2021,
June 11 2021

Every once in a while you come across an image that really makes you think. This week, one of a litter-strewn beach (complete with so-called “disposable” PPE) and a caption “There’s no such place as away” did just that. Because, when you throw something away, it has to go somewhere doesn’t it?


Individually and collectively

It can be hard to see how the small things that we as individuals do to reuse, recycle, and save resources can make an impact. While we know that they’re not, our personal efforts can seem futile. But, as families, teams and organisations, these efforts all add up. Processes and changes to the way we work and behave contribute in ways that we may not at first recognise. Print on Demand (POD) is a prime example.


POD’s Five Powerful Effects

Only producing what is required, and when, means that the days of over-ordering are gone. And that can generate some powerful effects:


  1. POD Reduces Waste

The temptation to order more – whether because you couldn’t accurately forecast or simply because more meant a better unit price – has been replaced with the ability to order only what you want or need, or what you can actually sell. And, when the need to update content or make other changes arises, it allows that to done simply and easily. So, no delays or excess inventory, reduced storage requirements, less chance of obsolescence and resultant need for disposal.


  1. POD Reduces Resource

POD has the ability to slash consumption of raw materials like paper and textiles, along with energy and water, as well as man-hours and production time. All things definitely worth preserving and saving.


  1. POD Reduces Carbon-footprint

Reduced energy usage during production is one way of improving carbon-footprint; delivery and shipping is another. But these savings can be dwarfed by the ensuing gains of “printing at point of need”. The transmission of a digital design or file, rather than transporting the finished book or product itself, can have a profound and enormous impact.


  1. POD Improves Cashflow

Moving away from “print to sell” to either of the altogether more cashflow-efficient “print-to-sold”, or even “direct to consumer” models, where goods are only produced when the customer orders/pays, can revolutionise a business and exponentially improve its cashflow, efficiencies and, in turn, profitability. It can also make for a smoother and swifter customer journey; and greater customer satisfaction is never a bad thing!


  1. POD Saves Money

The use of technology and automation allows a business’s clients to create their own products; empowerment that shifts the onus and associated costs too. That cost of creation, along with every other resource employed, has a price and so cutting any or all of these naturally preserves capital. Winner winner!


Prime is committed to the environment across its 5 UK sites* and has manufacturing partners across Europe, in the US, and Australia to satisfy its customers’ “Print at point of need” requirements. We are Forests Matter, FSC® (FSC-C001648) and PEFC Chain of Custody certified and have been ISO 14001 certified since 2008.

We genuinely welcome any opportunity to talk about how we might improve our customers’ and our own green credentials. Please do get in touch if you’d like to join the conversation.

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