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The Wide, Wide World of... --Sherburne

November 2008
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IF YOU had an opportunity to attend SGIA or Graph Expo—or both—last month, I hope you took the time to see what is new in the world of wide-format ink-jet. There have been lots of exciting advances that commercial printing businesses should consider taking advantage of to diversify their businesses and drive revenue growth.

I recently had the opportunity to speak with the folks at Lithographix Inc. Located in sunny Southern California, the firm was founded in 1953 as a general commercial printer and is now one of the most diversified graphics companies in the country, generating about $110 million in annual revenues with 330 employees.

Several years ago, Lithographix began to see a trend among its customers. They were asking whether the company could expand its production portfolio to include outdoor advertising and other large-format display graphics, so that they could turn to a single source for all of the materials included in a campaign. Lithographix responded by adding grand- (superwide) format capabilities several years ago. Today, the company has an amazing portfolio of superwide-format ink-jet printers and owns a six-color, 81? offset press, the largest press on the West Coast. 

Now, I am not a big fan of equipment lists as a selling tool. They are somewhat of a necessary evil, but certainly should not be used as the lead item in a sales call on a new customer. I’m a firm believer in approaching sales calls from the perspective of the business objectives the customer is trying to achieve, a technique that worked very well for me during my 10+ years in sales before I crossed over to the dark side (marketing!).

But Lithographix has one of the best examples of an equipment list I have seen: six pages long. It is worth visiting their site and downloading it ( Sure, it has the usual nuts and bolts, speeds and feeds. But, as a company in the graphic communications industry, Lithographix has done a great job of making it into a marketing piece, rich with graphics, and demonstrating the breadth of the firm’s capabilities, services and customer conveniences. 

Wide Adds Value

By offering a mix of commercial printing, superwide-format digital printing, ad preparation and photographic products and services, Lithographix has not only become more valuable to its customers, but has grown its own revenues by 20 percent. This is a terrific example of how wide-format can be adopted as a value-added service. Lithographix has added nine EFI VUTEk superwide-format printing devices and two Durst-Lambda printers, with a blend of solvent and UV.



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