COPY CONCEPTS -- Going Near-line
Building on its existing tabletop finishing equipment—including popular mechanical binding systems—Copy Concepts resolved it would establish a state-of-the-art bindery and keep jobs in-house.
"We always wanted to control our destiny," says Shirley. "But, as it turned out, when we started our postpress operations, we outsourced most of our jobs to a trade bindery anyway. So even though we had expanded our capabilities, we remained hostage, compromising our ability to control quality and turnaround time."
Creating an in-house bindery and new profit center seemed like a good strategic plan. However, the shop's first investments in bookletmaking and perfect binding didn't live up to its high standards of productivity, reliability and service.
"With the Xerox DocuTechs, we knew we had the best-engineered digital printers in the business," says Stone. "What we lacked, after making some trial-and-error investments, was equally reliable equipment to finish the job."
To determine what key new investments were needed, Copy Concepts considered the "mission critical" nature of many of their customers, including accounts in healthcare, aviation, high technology and publishing.
"In these industries, business needs and specs change quickly," adds Stone, "and the pressure is on to produce material on time, within budget and error-free."
Facing "make or break decisions," Copy Concepts sought guidance from its local graphic arts equipment dealer, Bindery Systems in Dallas. It became clear that the shop's next generation of postpress equipment would have to feature high reliability, quick setup and changeover, maximum set integrity, minimum waste and ease of operation.
The next question was whether Copy Concepts would opt for an in-line or off-line route to the finish line.
"We needed maximum productivity and flexibility," notes Stone, "and we didn't want to tie any one printer to one finishing system. We believed the answer was to set up the proper workflow, with easy-to-operate saddlestitchers and perfect binders in close proximity to the print engines. We also recognized the importance of quality pre- and post-paper handling systems that would allow us to deliver the imaged documents from the printers in ready-to-finish form. In short, we knew we were 'on the line' for our customers, and we determined that the 'near-line' approach was the best choice."