After your publication has been printed, it’s time to establish what finishing service you need. You can either go down the path of automation, or you can choose handwork. How do you decide? Well, there’s certainly no ‘one size fits all’ solution! So, let us take a look at the pros and cons of both automation and handwork to help you to ultimately decide which one is best for you.
What is automation?
There are many different types of automation services that can be produced with machines such as a die cutter, laminator, binder, or a paper folding machine. Essentially, automation allows you to finish a larger number of projects in a shorter time than it would if doing it by hand.
If you’re mass producing a publication, automation is likely to be a good option for you because, instead of having to manually bind the pages one by one, you can set the machine to work, saving you time and money. Automation machines typically can heat up in less than five minutes, and are able to bind approximately 600 sheets in just one step.
What is handwork?
Because so many companies use automated processes these days, using handwork is one way to make your product stand out from the competitors. It does take a little more time and effort than the common automation services, but this does give you an extra edge by showing that you care enough to manually bind and finish your own publications.
There are a wide variety of handwork finishes. Some examples of handwork finishes are hand glueing, hand folding, and packaging.
Pros and cons of automation
Benefits: increased competitiveness and profits, increased production and reduced production time, high product quality, and an improved working environment for employees (if automation is used in a work environment instead of for personal use).
Drawbacks: machines can be quite a large and costly investment, lack of flexibility, unknown expenses, and possible ethical issues in the decreasing number of employees needed to perform manual tasks.
Pros and cons of handwork
Benefits: a unique and high-quality finish with a durable design, fairly quick turnaround times, cost-effective for smaller projects, and can print on demand with no minimums.
Drawbacks: can work out expensive, is a lot more timely than automation systems, finishes like case binding or perfect binding will increase the weight and shipping costs of books.
However, it is worth noting that the pros and cons of automation and handwork are dependent on the type of finish you are undertaking.
When choosing whether to go for handwork or automation, it’s important to consider the function and number of pages of your book or publication, your budget, and the overall quality necessary. Ideally, you’d want something within budget, of a high quality, and something that doesn’t take too long to produce.
As a rule of thumb, you might be better off going for automation services if you’re in need of a higher quantity and care less about the little details, whereas handwork might be better for DIY-ers, crafters, and small, independent boutiques. Remember that whatever you decide to go with, it won’t be ‘wrong’ – it is all down to personal preference.