Catalog Printing–Presses Are Working Overtime

Wanted: Press Time
On the whole, Asia’s economic woes have yet to reach the catalog printer’s doorstep. It certainly has not slowed printing activity, according to Susan McIntyre, president of McIntyre Direct, a catalog consulting company in Portland, OR.

She notes that printers are adding additional shifts and investing in increased capacity to keep up with customer demand. It has prompted the catalog customers to be wary of job schedules.

“It seems very difficult (for printers) to find time to print for the customers,” McIntyre says. “The catalog companies themselves are having to book catalog printing far in advance. When they wanted to increase quantity, it’s been hard for them to arrange for additional press time. I’ve seen that happening with several customers.

“Paper availability is not a problem, but in terms of keeping presses running, I’m seeing (printers) running all shifts,” she adds. “They’ve been seeing a lot of quantity increases on the part of their customers.”

McIntyre, who reports from a print buyer’s standpoint, witnessed an economic boon that appeared to have no end in sight during 1998.

Print customers held their collective breath, waiting for global economic pressures to take a toll on the industry. But as the third quarter ended and the fourth began, neither the global economy nor paper shortages or paper increases played a role in the state of catalogers or catalog printers.

According to Harry V. Quadracci, president of Pewaukee, WI-based Quad/Graphics, 1998 has been an unqualified success.

“It’s been a great year with double-digit growth, which we expected,” Quadracci notes. “Going into the year, we thought that we had adequately planned for growth in catalog work. However, because of new business—increases in print orders from existing clients and new customers—growth unexpectedly doubled.”

New catalog business was also heaped upon Perry Judd’s of Waterloo, WI. Marketing Director Eric Sullivan notes that his company expanded its capacity to serve catalog customers, installing a Heidelberg Harris M-3000 at its Baraboo, WI, facility. According to Sullivan, page counts were up in 1998, as were the number of new clients and the expansion of previous print relationships.

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