Just In Time Inventory vs. Print on Demand

With the variety and number of books publishers are handling at once, it can be exhausting to house and transport them when and where it’s needed, in a timely and cost-effective fashion. Even so, not many publishers have the capacity and resources to house hundreds or thousands of copies of their books or transport them all easily to a secondary location.

As well, the cost of purchasing that quantity all at once is daunting, especially when printing multiple books. All this can very quickly become too much to handle. That’s when a just in time or print on demand solution can come in handy.

A Just In Time Inventory

A just in time inventory provides publishers with their books exactly when they need them and only in the quantities they need by setting aside a small selection after printing that can be shipped as soon as it’s ordered. One great application of just in time printing is in book tours. Instead of ordering a mass quantity of their books at once, publishers can instead anticipate the number of books they’ll need per signing.

In this case, books can be ordered through a just in time inventory and arrive at the bookstore the day of the signing, or a day or two before. In other words, the printer can hold on to a certain number of copies until they’re needed, instead of the publisher having to purchase or house all copies at once.

Print On Demand

Like just in time inventory, print on demand allows publishers to only print their books when they’re needed and in the amount needed. This goes hand in hand with a just in time inventory, but varies slightly. The difference is that with print on demand, the books are not currently in the printer’s warehouse; they need to be printed when they are ordered. This would work well for a business that has a constantly changing demand and may need to make edits to the current copy before it is printed. If it changes monthly, keeping an excess quantity for just one month can end up becoming wasteful.

Businesses or publishers can prepare their printer with the additional content and let them know the exact number of subscribers they have that month. They can also utilize just in time inventory by printing a few more copies that month, in case new customers subscribe, so the product can be sent out immediately. However, the content will change again the next month, and the process will start over again. Basically, the journal’s publishers can’t have too much of one month’s copies on hand, or else they risk wasting those productions.

What’s the Difference?

Truthfully—there isn’t much of a difference. To put it simply, print on demand will not have any inventory available ahead of time and will only print products when they are ordered. A just in time inventory will have a small quantity of the product available that can be shipped exactly when it’s needed. In other words, both methods will ship the copies when needed, but only just in time will have the product already on hand.

Depending on the nature of your project and your specific customers, both can be used interchangeably and for a range of print service needs. Consulting with your print representative about your needs and how these two types of print programs can help is a great way to learn which one works best for you.

At Yurchak Printing, we believe every publisher and business has the right to do what’s best for their unique projects, without the worry of waste. By utilizing our print on demand and just in time inventory capabilities, you can satisfy the demand of the marketplace while also reducing inventory obsolescence and increasing revenue.

Contact us today for more information on just in time or print on demand services.