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TAKING THE PLUNGE--Driven to Go Digital

February 2001
BY CHRIS BAUER


The reasons the management team at New Haven, CT-based Phoenix Press decided to move to digital printing were twofold.

First, they found many customers were ordering smaller volumes that were better suited for print-on-demand methods. Second, they believe digital printing will play a key role in the future of the graphic arts industry by introducing new capabilities and new services—such as variable-data printing.

The result of their findings and beliefs was the purchase of a Heidelberg Digimaster 9110, a Canon CLC 1000, Canon imageRUNNER 600 and 400, and DankaWare software—all supplied by Danka Business Systems. The new equipment is expected to pay big dividends.

"We know that digital printing is going to play a significant role in the future of this industry," contends Brian Driscoll, vice president and co-owner. "Last year we outsourced $250,000 in digital printing work. Now we are able to keep that work in-house."

The 75-employee company did not conduct a formal return on investment (ROI) study before making the purchase. Instead, Phoenix Press evaluated the opportunity represented by its existing customers' digital workflow, plus the prospect for new business the capabilities would bring. Not being able to offer digital services was allowing competing printers to gain business from its long-term customers. That was a primary concern. In addition, Phoenix expected to boost profits in its press area by targeting specific applications that it didn't have the capacity to handle in the past.

Brian Driscoll initiated the process, but all three owners—including Kevin Driscoll and Anthony Jasaitis—made the final decision to go digital after finding ways to justify the purchase.

Customer Demands
One of Phoenix's largest clients had converted a significant amount of its documentation to smaller volumes that could not be performed cost-effectively on traditional presses. The team estimated that the digital workflow for this client alone would account for 50 percent to 60 percent of the capacity of their new digital printing systems. They also anticipated that they could fill the remaining capacity with other digital work from existing customers, and by bringing in some jobs from new accounts.

The three then looked for a solution based on image quality, cost, local service and support, as well as expertise in digital imaging solutions.

Phoenix Press talked to four different vendors and examined output from several different printing systems. It decided that the Heidelberg Digimaster 9110 system offered the best image quality. Then it evaluated vendors on their service, customer support and equipment costs. Phoenix wanted comprehensive training and responsive support because this was its first digital system. Danka got the nod.

 

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