Oxford University Press has appointed Hong Kong-based CTPS to provide an end-to-end solution covering digital printing (using HP inkjet web and HP Indigo technology), mailing solutions, inventory management, warehousing and distribution of printed products to subscribers in 27 countries throughout Asia Pacific and beyond. The signing of the two-year contract covered nearly 60 OUP journals, primarily from the humanities, social sciences and science/medical disciplines, with quantities ranging between 70 copies and 5,000 copies. Publication of these journals varies from two to 26 times per year.

For CTPS global business director, John Currie, the HP digital technology is a good fit to provide OUP with a cost-effective print solution. “The print quality requirements and average number of copies are right at the sweet spot for HP inkjet and HP Indigo. OUP’s move into digital printing for its journals in Asia signals a growing awareness among publishers to look into improving supply chain efficiencies through short-run and on-demand printing, reducing inventory, and saving shipping and distribution costs.”

For production and estimating manager Claire Humphrey of OUP, there will be more use of digital as print runs drop and inkjet printing quality gets better. “At the same time, publishers need to partner up- and down-stream to further drive the migration of journals to digital printing. We can’t just expect the technology to get better; we have to partner with the print service providers to make sure the choice of substrates meets our needs, and also work with professional societies to find the best solutions for their needs. That’s what we are doing with CTPS—it’s the only way.”

CTPS, the first print manufacturer in Asia Pacific to install HP ink jet and Indigo technology back in 2011, is seeing adoption in digital applications picking up in the book and journal segments. By and large, publishers are beginning to grasp the digital printing model, and are more open to explore digital applications that fit their specific segment. And instead of looking purely at unit cost per book, production managers are factoring in the total cost, which covers inventory and warehousing and the whole supply chain.

In Asia, where its offset manufacturing prowess is known globally, digital printing remains pretty much the (new) underdog. But this move by OUP to get CTPS to print digitally and distribute its journals regionally (and beyond) goes a long way in acknowledging the feasibility and future growth of a new manufacturing model.