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Postpress - The Buck Starts And Stops Here

March 1999

The company now realizes more profit per job, and its customers appreciate the faster turnaround and convenience of getting all stages of the job completed under one roof.

No Problem
"We are known as a one-stop shop," Atamain says. "We're able to actually sell the customer on incorporating foil, for example, making that value-added an income producer rather than a burden. Now we can easily put a little foil on the corner of a job, whereas before we were always trying to talk [the customer] out of it, because we'd have to send the job out and it could get complicated."

Haig's Quality Printing, which has also thrived by embracing technologies such as stochastic screening and Hexachrome printing, is looking to further bolster its specialty offerings as well. Atamain reveals the company will be adding UV coating capabilities—which he termed relatively inexpensive—and mailing services in the near future.

Other traditional printers have also seen the specialty finishing light. According to plant manager Pat Cullen, The Dot Printer used to purchase its diecutting, large sheet scoring and pocket folding needs from outside agents. Today, it's all done in-house at the Irvine, CA-based, full-service printer.

Cullen says the ROI on a recently-purchased Dick Moll Marathon pocket folder has been outstanding. He notes that while many trade binderies may have this type of machine, few printers can boast the same, given the level of investment. A high-end model, with attachments, can cost upwards of $100,000.

"Previously, the notion of producing pocket folders in-house was just something we hadn't looked at that hard," Cullen says. "Now there's more demand for these types of products. Last year we probably sold twice as many pocket folders compared to three years ago," Cullen adds.

He estimates that The Dot Printer now only sends out about 20 percent of its specialty finishing work, primarily large-format diecutting. Some orders, such as for capacity folders, are still farmed out because purchasing the folder attachment could not be justified.

Keeping Competitive
"Payback, based on speed and customer demand, is what it's all about," Cullen remarks. "It has allowed us to reduce our buyout cost and it places more value in the job. If we know we're going to do something in-house, it makes us more competitive."

In the future, Cullen believes The Dot Printer will look into purchasing additional specialty finishing equipment, such as a large-format diecutter. A folder attachment is also under consideration for diecutting and folding in-line, "right off the end of the folder," Cullen notes. "You don't even have to go to the diecutter."

Kevin Burgess, director of manufacturing at Automated Graphics in White Plains, MD, agrees that customer demand for one-stop shopping made his company take a long, hard look at offering more specialty services. "The more you can do in-house, the more dramatically your sales are going to increase."

Among his company's in-house specialties: wire binding, plastic coil, perfect binding and saddlestitching. The offerings complement Automated Graphics' composition, electronic prepress, CD-ROM, Internet, printing and mailing services.

Automated Graphics is currently exploring a major addition to its finishing stable: a high-speed polybagger. Despite its steep price tag, it's expected that the machine will pay immediate dividends.

"We're seeing that on the increase," Burgess says of the unit, which allows users to include additional pieces with a publication. "It's quite a large investment: $300,000 to $500,000. People who have already installed them seem to fill up their capacity quite quickly."

Offering one-stop shopping has also provided an economic boost for ZBR Publications, according to Brian Gallagher, bindery manager. In the last year alone, the Haverhill, MA-based company has experienced growth of 30 percent to 40 percent.

"Our sales have taken off, really boomed, and the main reason for that is the complete service we offer," Gallagher contends. "We're touting ourselves as a 'total ware' company—a total CTP workflow, as well as providing all of the assembly and fulfillment work. There's a lot of CD assembly work done in the bindery."

ZBR has been able to carve out a niche for itself in the marketplace with its finishing crossover.

"I don't think other printers or binders can compete with us because of the quick turnaround we offer through our digital capacity," Gallagher says.

"There are surely bigger binderies, but I don't know of any company that turns any quicker or has all the fulfillment capacity that we do."


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