Run Lengths and Turnaround Times Continue to Decline

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Sep 2, 2011

InfoTrends’ Emerging Trends: Run Lengths, Turnaround Time, and Print Volume study, which surveyed 268 print-for-pay and 210 print-for-cost (In-plant) respondents, shows the continuing trend toward decreasing run lengths, shortening turnaround times, and increasing digital print volumes. Digital color print volumes have been increasing, with 76.6% of respondents in our recent study claiming that their digital color cut sheet print volumes have been going up. As digital color printing becomes more prevalent, run lengths as well as turnaround times will become shorter.

As we demonstrate in the figure below, the run length segments that respondents report as having the largest increase in print jobs include shorter segments of 2,499 document sets and lower. The higher run lengths, such as document sets of 5,000+, have substantially more respondents reporting that those segments are decreasing rather than increasing. This data is consistent with data from similar InfoTrends run length surveys, from 2008 and 2004, which indicates that this has been trending for a few years now. In fact, the percentage of respondents that reported decreases for run lengths of 10,000 to 49,999 and 50,000+ document sets grew eleven percent from 2004 to 2008. At the same time the percentage of respondents who reported an increase in run lengths of <250 document sets grew from 40% in 2004 to 51% in 2011.

Unsurprisingly, as printers produce shorter run jobs, their expected turnaround times become shorter as well. As more printers invest in more efficient digital printing presses and workflows, excess inventory becomes less of a problem and print jobs will be completed in a shorter amount of time. Over 40% of respondents cited that their customers expect turnaround times to be 24 hours or less for run lengths of < 500 document sets.

As digital color print volumes continue to grow, run lengths and turnaround times will shorten to compensate. To see the full results of the research study including the PDF report, PowerPoint presentation, and  research data, please visit our Report Store.


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