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ondemandcolor -- Big Steps, Small Footprint

October 2008
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AT ondemandcolor, Long Island City, NY, being a successful commercial printer means more than just offering affordable, high-quality offset printing.

For this 54,000-square-foot operation, it means providing high-end clients like Virgin Mobile, NFL, Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa, Zone Chefs, and Simon and Schuster with glossy brochures, magazines, posters, media kits, point-of-purchase displays, packaging and more--with as minimal an impact on the environment as possible.

Founded by Christopher Gravagna in 1994, this forward-focused company made its start operating as a garage shop that produced T-shirts for local clients under the name Big City Graphics. The amount of workload the modest shop brought in quickly grew, with customer expectations increasing, too.

Gravagna soon realized that big changes had to be made in order to provide customers the level of quality and quick turnaround they required. He sold Big City Graphics to start building his next venture--ondemandcolor. 

Initially built on the premise of being a boutique printer, ondemandcolor's transition from humble beginnings to its current status took strategic planning, experience and Gravagna's willingness to take a new risk.  

"Selling Big City Graphics to start again from scratch was like becoming a broker again," notes Gravagna. "We grew, contracted, and grew again...which enabled me to take the lessons I learned the first time around and apply that knowledge to ondemandcolor. It's because of this experience that I understood how crucial it was to employ people who were very experienced in the industry with my next endeavor. With ondemandcolor, we started out with a 'Super Bowl team' of employees and a few great clients--which made all the difference."

Once he had established a solid foundation of employees and customers, Gravagna looked to increase the capacity and efficiency of ondemandcolor's facility with a sheetfed press that would be able to provide the speed to market critical to producing time-sensitive, high-quality materials. After much deliberation, he made the decision to purchase a six-color Komori LS640. The intuitive technology of the LS640 not only enabled the printer's press operators to have push-button command of all functions, it also reduced printing costs because of its ease of operation and faster makeready abilities. 

The Search for 'Eco-Ink'

With the new press up and running, the company realized the necessity to re-evaluate its ink supply. Over the years, Gravagna had experimented with a variety of inks--continually searching for the right fit for his printing and personal needs. A man of strong convictions, he desired a product that would not only meet his expectations, but also help to take the company in a greener direction by having more eco-friendly qualities than what he'd used in the past. After researching the market, Gravagna found his perfect match with Van Son Vs3 series inks. 

"A key deciding factor in selecting Van Son's Vs3 inks was the fact that several of my mentors in the industry were using it, and were very pleased with its performance," Gravagna explains. "Hearing the accolades of people that I respect made all the difference to me. The ink sets well on the sheet, dries well and gives vibrant colors.

"Additionally, Van Son has enabled us to stay true to our green initiatives with its eco-friendly vegetable- and soy-based inks--without having to sacrifice the level of quality our discriminating clients expect," he adds. "Not only is the ink good for the environment, it's great for our bottom line. It sets quickly on the sheet and is a stay-open ink, so it doesn't have to be taken out of the fountains at the end of every day, which significantly increases our production time."

Gravagna takes a lot of personal pride in ondemandcolor's focus on promoting a green company culture. It is working to obtain FSC certification, recycles (all paper and aluminum), runs eco-friendly presses and lights the entire facility with energy-efficient light bulbs. 

Today, ondemandcolor is focused on taking the necessary steps to continue its success in the years ahead. Gravagna reports that the future of the company will include online e-commerce markets--which will help create an automated process to further streamline workflow and improve productivity. He also sees great opportunity with Web-to-print, an online portal that keeps up with the client experience. Gravagna has since created www.printingresponsibly.com, an eco-friendly e-commerce printing Website.

Most recently, ondemandcolor has made some crucial mergers and acquisitions, which have included current partners Bob Beck and Ed Tikkanen, and has increased its solution offerings and enabled the company to expand its digital capabilities. It has also added two six-color Komoris to its press fleet and increased its customer service team. 

"We are proud of our customer-centric mentality," concludes Gravagna. "Delivering consistent, high-quality materials in an environmentally conscious capacity is fundamental for our company."   PI


 

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