Print on Demand vs Inventory
Print on Demand vs Inventory

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June 29, 2023

There has long been an ongoing debate between those who support the practice of print on demand and those who would rather have print inventory on-hand at all times. The two practices are not the same which is what leads to the debate of print on demand vs. inventory. As we will discuss in this article, there are positives that go along with each choice including practices such as print on demand dropshipping and personalized print on demand. Let’s start our examination by spotlighting the differences between the two of them.

What is Print on Demand?

In general, print on demand is when a product is printed and shipped only after a customer order has been placed. The amount of products printed is only the exact number ordered by the customer so there is no need to print excess inventory which can be carried as overhead. Print on demand is a type of print on demand dropshipping, but with print on demand, the items are only printed and shipped once an order is placed. Think of print on demand as white label dropshipping where you can put your logo as a custom design on each product when the customer places an order. There is also personalized print on demand where customers are able to design the product according to their personal preferences or they can include something that is meaningful to them.

What is Inventory (related to print)?

When it comes to print inventory, you can control the amount of items you have in stock at any given moment. This allows you to plan your business strategy based on the number of products you currently have on-hand in your inventory. These items are printed and stored for future use while also giving you the chance to add branding elements to each of the products during the print process. Unlike print on demand, you will need to print a larger or excess number of items that will remain as inventory until they are sold and shipped.

Pros of Print on Demand

Some of the most popular advantages of print on demand capabilities are listed below:

When Shorter Print Runs are Needed
Print on demand is ideal when shorter print runs are needed since design iterations (improving a product through the creation of prototypes and testing them so feedback can be incorporated) can be produced on a quicker schedule. In addition, customers might only need a proof or a limited quantity of the printed product.

Order as Needed
There are some people who prefer to print in bulk because they are predicting they will need a large quantity of the product at some point in the future. However, variables that occur in the future might mean a large quantity is not necessary which can leave a large amount of inventory sitting in an office or a warehouse. The ability to print when needed is often a more attractive option.

Cost Efficiency
Print on demand capabilities also provide a lower overall cost per order. Cash flow is
always a consideration, and sometimes a concern, so keep in mind that large quantity orders might provide a lower cost per unit but the bulk order is still a higher price.

Pros of Having Inventory

There are also benefits to having print inventory on-hand at all times. Here is a look at some of the pros of having inventory:

On-Hand Inventory
One of the biggest benefits of this choice is having printed inventory materials on-hand when they are most needed. There is no need to wait for something to be printed because it was already printed and is waiting to be used.

Control Over the Supply Chain
If you have printed inventory available at all times, you are able to control the full journey of the product through the supply chain. In addition, you are able to oversee and control factors such as costs, the timing of shipping the products, and mitigating any possible damages when delivering printed materials to a customer or an end user.

Cost Efficiency
Print inventory helps with cost efficiency as bulk orders will have a lower cost per unit based on the actual quantity of the order. Even though the overall cost will be much higher, you will enjoy a better margin as time passes.

Now that you know the benefits of print on demand vs. inventory, it is time to decide which option is better for your budget when it comes to printing, storage, and shipping. Call our team for assistance in determining the answer.

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