J.S. McCarthy — Driving Out Costs, WasteSeptember 2008 By Erik Cagle
JSM, which posted $22 million in sales for the latest fiscal year, has enjoyed a carnival-like atmosphere of activity since the series of mergers and acquisitions. In the past few years alone, the company has installed two eight-color, 40? Komori Lithrone S40 sheetfed presses, including one with perfecting capabilities. Rick Tardiff auditioned all of the usual suspects in the 40? press market, and opted for Komori because of its high automation.
"In doing our analysis, we determined that half of our day consisted of makereadies, the other half production," Rick Tardiff notes. "With the Komori, we've actually reduced our makeready time by 50 percent, and the amount of paper we use for a makeready by 50 percent, as well. That equates to 750,000 sheets of paper a year on one press that is running virtually 24/7.
Doing More with Less
"We were able to replace six presses with three newer models. A majority of work we have now is being cranked out by the two new Komori presses, with the third one pitching in as needed," he continues. "So, we've basically cut our pressroom in half. And we're outperforming what we had when running six presses."
Other outlays in the company's seven-year, $14 million capex initiative have brought aboard an MBO Perfection folder with Navigator control, a Heidelberg ST450 stitcher, a Kodak Magnus platesetter, along with assorted foil stamping and diecutting gear. Advanced Equipment Sales pieced together a scrap retrieval and baling system for JSM, and the company recently completed a 36,000-square-foot addition to its facility. In the last year, J.S. McCarthy has also been making PANTONE and spot colors in-house, and has saved on ink costs, by using an Mx6 ink formulation dispenser from GFI Innovations.
JSM is a regional printer by definition, but accomplishes some very impressive global reaches (including California and. . .Qatar!) due to its technological prowess. Technical assistance is one of JSM's specialties, with in-house staff that travels to support the software and hardware customers use on the prepress side of the workflow (such as Adobe In- Design, Photoshop and PDF). More than 500 clients also use JSM's online remote proofing product.
Technology continues to help expand the company's geographic footprint, according to Conrad Ayotte, CFO at JSM. "When you talk technology, it's really the centerpiece for us because of our location," he explains. "Half of our volume comes from more than three hours away, so we need to answer the challenge of distance. We embrace technology because we see it as the single best means to drive down costs...maximize its potential."
JSM has no issue with being a leading-edge company when it comes to technology. It is currently working in tandem with EFI and Kodak on a beta version of Prograph, a print MIS solution. The printer has also achieved GRACoL 7 (G7) certification and is one of only 12 sheetfed printers in New England to garner G7 Master Printer status, according to qualifier IDEAlliance.
Printing to the G7 standard can bring peace of mind for a print buyer, adds Roger Schutte, director of technology at JSM. "It just builds a lot of confidence in a print buyer's mind that, if they're outputting proofs in their office, they are to the G7 standard. This really tightens the circle in terms of what had arguably been a very loose system.
"We're doing on-screen proofing for our press checks, and we've even gone to a totally proof-less workflow with our largest customer," he says. "The client has a proofer in their office; they supply us PDFs, we process the files, and they proof our impositions. Then we go to press, run to the densities and match color on the monitor. It's something we're expanding rapidly to other customers."
Environmental responsibility has been a major concern for JSM, reflected in a number of its greening initiatives. The company has been 100 percent wind-powered for roughly the past 12 months. It recycles 120 tons of paper per month. Plus, JSM is licensed to recycle the one product of hazardous waste it uses in the production process: the solvent/water combination that comes from one of its presses. By recycling this, the printer hopes to achieve "small waste generator" status from the state in the near future.
"With our Komori presses, we've eliminated alcohol from the system," Rick Tardiff notes. "We've gone completely digital and taken all of the developer and fixer out of the system. We treat our plate processor waste here on-site to the point where it can be discharged into the regional sewer facility. Also, we replaced every light in the building to energy-efficient lighting. We've replaced compressors with more energy-efficient ones. All of our wooden pallets and plastic and metal barrels are recycled and reused. The list goes on.
"We look at what the major uses of material are and attack each one, one at a time, to reduce our footprint," he adds. "We keep working our way down the line, to the point where we will eliminate as much hazardous waste as we can and reduce the amount of waste we're putting into landfills by recycling."
Make no mistake about it. While JSM will continue to fulfill the needs of customers, it will undoubtably continue to accomplish more with less. The company has 70 fewer employees than it did eight years ago, while sales have grown dramatically over the same period.
"In a nutshell, we aim to satisfy the customer," Rick Tardiff concludes. "We keep our ear to the ground to find out what our clients are seeking. For example, when a customer wanted to run a virtual greeting card company through our Website, our IT people developed a customized software.
"It's hard to say what customers will want a year from now. But you can be sure, we'll figure out a way to keep them satisfied." PI