Direct-to-garment printing is changing the apparel industry. Market demand is different from a few years ago, with buzzwords such as fast fashion and sustainability at the forefront of the new movements.
One of DTG printing’s great strengths lies precisely in these application areas, making this technology ideal for all the new opportunities in the B2B and B2C sectors.
Especially when you integrate direct-go-garment printing into a digital and automated workflow, it can take the entire production process to a new level. With high quality, full-color printing, no minimum quantities, and exciting design possibilities, DTG printing helps change the industry.
This article will go over five reasons why dtg is causing this change and how you can benefit from this new development.
It enables personalization
These days, shoppers are spoiled. Modern customers don’t want to wait weeks for their products, so things have to happen quickly.
To make matters worse, many of these orders are often based on an average size of just one or two pieces. Each order has a different design, on another garment, in a different color.
With direct-to-garment printing, each piece can be customized. Unlike other textile printing methods, you don’t have to deal with rigid setups. Place your garment in the dtg printer and print the design. It doesn’t matter if you print hundreds or thousands of pieces of the same design – or just one. That means you have a lot of flexibility. You can print larger quantities or short runs. Both are profitable and equally doable.
Today, the market wants unique designs, and it wants them fast. There is a high demand for customizable apparel not only from end customers but also from retailers themselves. For many retailers, the trend is to have a small warehouse or no warehouse at all.
No minimum orders with DTG printing
Thanks to the ease of printing unique items and individual orders, there are usually no minimum order quantities with DTG printing. That enables new possibilities for mass customization and a fast turnaround.
One of these new business models is print on demand.
Besides, many brands, creatives, and influencers are trying to build an online business with print-on-demand. POD platforms offer them a unique opportunity to experiment with new designs and concepts without much risk. They work with a production partner who produces and ships custom garments to order. Usually, the entire process is integrated into a web-to-print workflow. Thanks to direct-to-garment, many designers can start a business with minimal investment without owning their own infrastructure, such as a warehouse.
Use automation to simplify your DTG production
Managing such direct-to-garment print production is not easy. There is often a point where the manual process reaches its limits, significantly when a company is growing, which is usually intentional.
When the process reaches its limits, it’s not just chaos and inadequacies that occur. The output of fast DTG printers is often limited by all the organizational overhead around it, which means you’re not producing as much as possible.
Automated workflows can help a business when the volume of orders grows. They monitor and speed up work processes in all areas, from ordering – with the option of automatic order transfer from an online shop – to printing and shipping, including invoices.
How does an automated workflow work in DTG printing
Most automated workflows use barcodes that are printed on a sticker and placed on the garment. These contain all the parameters needed for production and shipping, such as the order number, customer information, type of garment (item number, size, and color), design (image file, print size, and correct positioning), and shipping instructions.
This information can be taken directly from an online store once the customers configure their garments and place their order.
This code, which is attached to the textile, is scanned in the relevant department, and employees receive all the information they need in real-time to do their job quickly and efficiently.
To illustrate this with an example, let’s take the printing workflow as an example. In a manual workflow, the worker must manually select the correct file and position of the print, set the print’s size, and select a color profile. Then he has to send the design to the machine, put the suitable garment in the machine, and print it. You can already imagine that this process is very error-prone and time-consuming.
In an automated workflow, the employee receives a T-shirt with a barcode. Without needing any further information, he scans this code, and all necessary data such as design and position are automatically loaded into the printer. So it can be printed immediately.
The barcode usually remains on the textile, from the beginning to the end of the process, and can therefore be used at every production station.
Also, an automated process can provide a real-time overview of the current status of the order. The customer can also be automatically notified, for example, when their order is being processed or shipped.
Individual parts of an order that have been printed and processed separately are combined before shipping and can be packaged as a single shipment.
Besides, an automated solution can manage inventory and reorder products as needed.
Why not take advantage of this opportunity?
Fast fashion can be sustainable
At the same time, however, there is a solid counter-current to fast fashion. A growing proportion of consumers attach great importance to the environment.
The textile industry is undoubtedly one of the biggest polluters in the world.
Direct-to-garment printing is in itself one of the most environmentally friendly printing methods available. There is a minimum of waste, and the inks are usually water-based, and Oeko-Tex and Gots certified.
Depending on what garments you print on, you can create a very environmentally friendly production. Please pay attention to what garments you use and how they are sourced and manufactured.
If you do, fast fashion can be very sustainable at the same time, thanks to DTG printing. You get the best of both worlds.
Thanks to the speed and customization of direct-to-garment printing, it is possible to minimize production time.
Instead of producing and storing large quantities in advance, you can now create your products with an extremely fast turnaround time.
Thanks to the technology’s speed and the ability to produce different products without changing the setup, it is possible to produce after the products have been ordered. This way, you can spend your time and energy on the products that are demanded by the market.
Just store your blanks and produce as needed. Another benefit is that blanks don’t become a waste when a trend goes out of style or a holiday is over.
You don’t have to predict what customers will want to buy weeks or months in advance.
When you incorporate just-in-time manufacturing, you only print what sells. And if the design ends up being a flop with customers, you don’t have excess inventory.
Thanks to this, direct-to-garment printing can help you take the guesswork out of textile production, minimize risk, and optimize your supply chain.
Is DTG the future of textile printing?
Direct to Garment Printing is still one of the newer kids on the block in textile printing. Many people claim that it is not yet mature and is inferior to other printing methods. But that has changed in many ways.
And thanks to the explosion of e-commerce, the direct to garment industry will continue to grow in the coming years.