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Westland Printers--Improved Savings With Digital Proofing

October 1998
As visitors enter the lobby of Westland Printers, they're stunned by a riot of color. The commercial custom printer displays samples of its work on two full walls. There's no missing the fact that Westland prints sophisticated multicolor brochures, many of which feature diecut and embossed covers produced on-site.

Despite the complexity of the work, when Westland Printers accepts jobs these days, it's with the understanding that they'll be out the door within a week.

Typically, the Burtonsville, MD, family-owned printer has between seven and 10 working days to turn a job around. And, points out company President Barbara Westland, that type of delivery is for a 48-page multicolor brochure. "Five years ago, we would have had three to four weeks to do that job," she says.

"Today's turnaround times are half what they were just a couple of years ago," says Tom Snyder, manager of electronic prepress. "Much of our work carries a 24- to 48-hour turnaround for prep, and several more days to print and deliver. That's hardly enough time for the ink to dry."

And hardly the way Westland Printers conducted business when it was founded nearly seven decades ago. Opened for business in 1929, today the company occupies a 45,000-square-foot plant and employs 105 people.

Westland's prepress department feeds an array of 40˝ Heidelberg Speedmaster sheetfed presses: a six-color with a coating tower, a five-color press, a four-color press, and two two-color presses. In addition, the commercial printer operates two Heidelberg GTO presses and a variety of foil-stamping, embossing, debossing, diecutting, scoring and binding equipment.

"We do complete packages," says Westland. "Everything from brochures and pocket folders to embossed and hot-stamped stationery and letterhead."

"We keep a lid on costs and still get high-quality work out under increasingly tight deadlines," adds Snyder. "But that calls for good communication between us and our customers."

Advertising agencies in the metropolitan Washington and Baltimore corridor make up nearly three-quarters of the printer's customer base (the remaining one-quarter consists of corporations and associations).

Good Communications
Today, these customers are just as interested in cost savings as they are quick turnarounds, Westland adds. By turning to a digital proofing system, the printer saves time and money, and the proofing process is an excellent launch point for good communications.

Before the digital proofing system was in place, the prepress department would do a scan, make a set of films of all the images, and proof them on conventional analog proofing material.


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