Heatset Web Printing — Dead Set on Heatset
Special-interest catalogs are also a potential profit center for heatset web operations. Following the same lines as direct mail, Coughlin believes better-targeted marketing is the reason for growth in this area.
Also, with a trend toward more glossy, high-impact printing, catalogs are now creating excitement about products, rather than just displaying them. High-gloss, high-impact products like these are a perfect fit for the sophisticated printing capabilities of a heatset web press, especially with the advancements in press quality and speed.
While high speed and high quality are crucial, strong customer service is the most important value-added service a printer can offer customers, contends David Sand, vice president of manufacturing for Hickory Printing, in Conover, NC. However, Sand emphasizes that service-oriented printing is not only paramount to business growth, it’s paramount to business survival.
“How you conduct business determines whether you’re going to grow and, ultimately, whether you’ll survive,” says Sand. “In the ’80s, printers offered the customer a choice of good, fast and cheap, and said, ‘Pick two.’ We offered pretty good printing at a pretty good price. Those were the good old days.”
Today, print buyers still want the best possible price, but good and fast aren’t good enough. Now printers are expected to provide high-quality printing; and with the demand for just-in-time deliveries, faster is never quite fast enough.
As client expectations escalate, so must the level of customer service a web printer provides. “Employees at all levels must be aware of customers’ expectations. From office production to the pressroom floor, getting everyone involved is imperative,” says Sand.
“We hold production meetings with supervisors from prepress to bindery to explain each customer’s needs,” Sand continues. “When we win a new account, the sales rep will tell everyone what that customer wants, how he wants it, and what type of special requirements he has. That’s the type of customer service you have to provide in the ’90s, not just to compete, but to survive.”