8. How easy and frequent are the upgrades?
As signmakers already know, nothing is static in the industry. New materials, colours, features and customer demands mean it is essential to be able to implement upgrades as time goes on.
The most important factors to consider are how easy and how expensive this process will be. Some inexpensive upgrades require a lot of downtime, for example, and thus provide less value than more expensive upgrades that can be installed quickly. And with subscription-based models, as mentioned, upgrades are even easier, as the software is always kept up-to-date.
9. Does the RIP offer cloud connectivity and other value-added services?
As more and more work today is being done away from the office, it has become important for graphics managers to be able to view files in progress and collaborate from multiple locations. Cloud-enabled RIP software packages have answered this demand with secure job storage and collaborative sign design functionality.
Cloud connectivity has gone on to support additional value-added services, too, allowing shop owners to access detailed and dynamic information—such as production trends—from virtually anywhere, using mobile apps.
10. What is the extent of the RIP’s capabilities?
Every large-format RIP software package has its own ‘sweet spot,’ which should correspond closely to the type of work the shop does in terms of the speed, quality and functionality of its printed output. That said, what’s ‘good enough’ today might not be in six months’ time.
So, it is worthwhile considering what software would be purchased if price were no object. Then the shop can try to find something as close to that target as possible.
RIP software can have a long-term effect on operations. Making the right choice from the start will help signmakers get the most from their hardware in the future.
Dean Derhak is a product director for SAi, which develops RIP software for signmakers. For more information, visit www.thinksai.com.