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Gapen on UV

Gapen on UV

By Darren Gapen

About Darren

Darren has worked in the printing industry for 30 years and spent more than 12 years at two of the nation's leading high-end commercial printers: Bradley Printing in Des Plaines, IL, and Williamson Printing Corp. in Dallas, TX. During that time, he operated conventional and UV 40˝ sheetfed presses and also successfully managed a $15-million pressroom equipment transition. Darren also was Lead Press Instructor for Heidelberg, where he directed specialty equipment startups and was involved in all aspects of the printing process by teaching both instructor and pressroom employees.

In addition, he served as a troubleshooter for various printing companies in the U.S., Canada and Mexico. As operations manager for a start-up specialty folding carton company, he played a key role in achieving more than $6 million in sales within two years. Currently Darren is president of D.G. Print Solutions, a consulting firm that supports printing companies of all sizes. He specializes in growth development planning, pressroom color management and pressroom training through specialty print applications.

 

An Educated UV Consumer Makes the Best Customer for UV Technology

6
 
What’s truly considered to be a fair expectation from the manufacturers? Are you expecting too much just because you decided to make the capital investment? Or should you carry some of the burden as the consumer?

You know the saying; “An educated consumer makes the best customer.” This is also true when purchasing UV equipment. With or without a printing press attached.

Do you actually think that just because you spent all of that money for UV equipment that it is the manufacturer’s responsibility to educate you and your people on all of the ins and outs of how to print UV? What about all of the specialty applications and effects?

Think about this, Would you expect Gulfstream to teach you to be a pilot if you bought one of their jets? How about GM teaching you how to drive with the purchase of every new Corvette? I do know that neither Emeril Lagasse nor Julia Child showed up at my house when my new kitchen appliances were delivered. I would love to have swapped recipes with them but, it didn’t happen.

You all know how challenging that it can be when your customer doesn’t provide you with what is needed or expected. It might be the rasterized Photoshop file that the Web designer thought would look great in print but then complained when the job delivered. Or what about that customer that said it was a “press-ready file” and wants to challenge the alteration charges. How many times have you heard that? What were their expectations of you as the printer?

Regardless, if it’s the company that builds the printing presses or the UV dryers, you have to understand, they want you to succeed. However, their responsibility is to fabricate, deliver, install and instruct on the functions and operations of the equipment. Not the process. Again, is it fair to expect them to teach the printer how to print?

So when you make the purchase, take it upon yourself to do your homework and use your resources for the knowledge you could gain. And most importantly, be grateful and recognize the professionals for what they do best.

And by the way, even without Emeril or Julia, I was just glad all of the appliances made it into the kitchen without a scratch or destroying my front door.

Industry Centers:

6

COMMENTS

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Most Recent Comments:
JH - Posted on October 15, 2009
JW
Today more than ever the success of the Client is a direct reflection of the Vendor. Ask any major Corporation "who is king" and most of them will tell you the Client. This is not because they want to, but rather the fear of negative comments that can be created by all the social media outlets. Today one cannot afford to defend themselves across all the social medias. A happy client will return 10 fold maybe not in direct sales but rather indirect. Today the power of referral is more important than ever, being that now the client has a true voice that can be heard around the world.
Darren Gapen - Posted on October 15, 2009
Scott,

You are totally correct on the R and D comment.

This is one area that seems to get overlooked during the planning and very seldom considered in the budget with the new equipment purchase.

In order for Printers to be successful with the start up of the new equipment, they MUST set aside the time and money for testing of products and applications. Do you actually want to experiment on a live customer's job? Why take that risk of loosing a client? Shouldn't you only deliver the best product possible to them?

It goes back to my appliances and recipes. I always test new recipes on my wife and daughters, although sometimes met with much resistance. They are always very truthful on the results. A bit too honest every now and then. But after a few adjustments and fine tuning, I then invite the guests over for the final outcome.
Scott Brown - Posted on October 14, 2009
Great discussion point and comments! I agree that there is a distinction between a passive approach from the consumer who expects that all of the answers will come from their manufacturer and a consumer that is doing all that he can do to enhance his odds for success.

I agree with JH that carefully choosing a vendor/partner is critical! There are all too many salespeople that have not educated themselves about new technology and processes resulting in sometimes ridiculous claims and unrealistic expectations. This is unfair to the consumer and ultimately to the manufacturer who will wind up spending all of their profit trying to reach these misguided expectations and smooth over a damaged relationship.

JH is right on the money when he says, "We have been very fortunate that we did our homework to find such partners that allow us to continue to succeed and truly care about our success." This is great advice and we would all do well to make the time in our busy schedules to invest in this due diligence. It's not enough anymore to just buy from the biggest, most widely known brand names or to buy from the guy that we happen to like. We HAVE to partner up with companies that fit the description that JH outlined.

The reality of this new economy and our changing industry is that when we invest in new equipment or technology it is not good enough to say that "The new runs better than the old." We have to find partners that care enough about our success to roll up their sleeves and help us set realistic goals and do the hard work of getting to the results.

UV is no exception to this rule. There is just as much danger in "under utilizing" the technology as in having unrealistically high expectations. The equipment and investment in R and D is significant and it is incumbent on both the consumer and manufacturer to work together to squeeze out every possible advantage.

It is not easy to find these vendors and can be equally difficult to find consumers willing to have this kind of relationship with their vendors. In the long run, both will benefit from this fresh approach.
Darren Gapen - Posted on October 13, 2009
Jeff W.,

As mentioned in the comment prior to yours; choose your vendors wisely. This is what I meant when doing your homework prior to purchasing the equipment.

Too many times I have run across printers that have made the comment of "We will not sign off on the machine or make the first payment until they teach us all of the UV applications." Is this considered a fair approach?

Partner up with vendors that understand your goals and are willing to support your company in those goals. There are many manufacturers that know what information is needed and where to attain that knowledge if they are unable to provide it from within their organization.

In fact, the more successful vendors will take it one step further and actually include those resources within the purchase agreement. This provides the knowledge and expertise for the application after the equipment has been installed.

All of this enables you as a customer to hit the ground running. Which ultimately leads into a successful and profitable start up for everyone involved.
Jeff W - Posted on October 13, 2009
There is a fine line of responsibility that the consumer takes on when making a purchase whether it is a printing press, airplane, automobile, etc. However in any business, success of the vendor does rely on success of the consumer. I know that a technical consultant with a printing press manufacture is an invaluable resource of information when you are starting up.

UV printing can be intimating when you get your first press and have never had to determine how many lamps it is going to take to dry a built black solid. I also know that it doesn't matter how much homework you do to prepare yourself for UV printing, nothing beats trial and error training. I understand your comparison to corvettes and airplanes, but I think it is apples and oranges.
JH - Posted on October 13, 2009
Great article about responsibility when selecting equipment, but unfortunately we are living in different times when most people never accept responsibility for anything they do or sell. Many equipment manufactures out there over promise and under deliver and most buyers think that if they buy Michael Jordan's sports gear this automatically allows them to play like him.

We have been very fortunate that we did our homework to find such partners that allow us to continue to succeed and truly care about our success. My words of wisdom are buyers beware, don't purchase equipment from a vendor who does not attempt to understand your business because this will result in tragedy and ultimately your demise. I believe that manufactures that are proactive with there clients will be successful.

Vendors that work to evaluate ahead of time who they are selling to and what level of expertise they are trying to achieve should determine the level of training needed. No Vendor can support every aspect of printing but the smart vendor who understands there client business can steer them to the right source of information and knowledge sources. Simply said and ounce of prevention can assure a great sales relationship for years to come. Let's face it in order for press manufactures to succeed in the future they need to bring technology beyond ink on paper.
Click here to view archived comments...
Archived Comments:
JH - Posted on October 15, 2009
JW
Today more than ever the success of the Client is a direct reflection of the Vendor. Ask any major Corporation "who is king" and most of them will tell you the Client. This is not because they want to, but rather the fear of negative comments that can be created by all the social media outlets. Today one cannot afford to defend themselves across all the social medias. A happy client will return 10 fold maybe not in direct sales but rather indirect. Today the power of referral is more important than ever, being that now the client has a true voice that can be heard around the world.
Darren Gapen - Posted on October 15, 2009
Scott,

You are totally correct on the R and D comment.

This is one area that seems to get overlooked during the planning and very seldom considered in the budget with the new equipment purchase.

In order for Printers to be successful with the start up of the new equipment, they MUST set aside the time and money for testing of products and applications. Do you actually want to experiment on a live customer's job? Why take that risk of loosing a client? Shouldn't you only deliver the best product possible to them?

It goes back to my appliances and recipes. I always test new recipes on my wife and daughters, although sometimes met with much resistance. They are always very truthful on the results. A bit too honest every now and then. But after a few adjustments and fine tuning, I then invite the guests over for the final outcome.
Scott Brown - Posted on October 14, 2009
Great discussion point and comments! I agree that there is a distinction between a passive approach from the consumer who expects that all of the answers will come from their manufacturer and a consumer that is doing all that he can do to enhance his odds for success.

I agree with JH that carefully choosing a vendor/partner is critical! There are all too many salespeople that have not educated themselves about new technology and processes resulting in sometimes ridiculous claims and unrealistic expectations. This is unfair to the consumer and ultimately to the manufacturer who will wind up spending all of their profit trying to reach these misguided expectations and smooth over a damaged relationship.

JH is right on the money when he says, "We have been very fortunate that we did our homework to find such partners that allow us to continue to succeed and truly care about our success." This is great advice and we would all do well to make the time in our busy schedules to invest in this due diligence. It's not enough anymore to just buy from the biggest, most widely known brand names or to buy from the guy that we happen to like. We HAVE to partner up with companies that fit the description that JH outlined.

The reality of this new economy and our changing industry is that when we invest in new equipment or technology it is not good enough to say that "The new runs better than the old." We have to find partners that care enough about our success to roll up their sleeves and help us set realistic goals and do the hard work of getting to the results.

UV is no exception to this rule. There is just as much danger in "under utilizing" the technology as in having unrealistically high expectations. The equipment and investment in R and D is significant and it is incumbent on both the consumer and manufacturer to work together to squeeze out every possible advantage.

It is not easy to find these vendors and can be equally difficult to find consumers willing to have this kind of relationship with their vendors. In the long run, both will benefit from this fresh approach.
Darren Gapen - Posted on October 13, 2009
Jeff W.,

As mentioned in the comment prior to yours; choose your vendors wisely. This is what I meant when doing your homework prior to purchasing the equipment.

Too many times I have run across printers that have made the comment of "We will not sign off on the machine or make the first payment until they teach us all of the UV applications." Is this considered a fair approach?

Partner up with vendors that understand your goals and are willing to support your company in those goals. There are many manufacturers that know what information is needed and where to attain that knowledge if they are unable to provide it from within their organization.

In fact, the more successful vendors will take it one step further and actually include those resources within the purchase agreement. This provides the knowledge and expertise for the application after the equipment has been installed.

All of this enables you as a customer to hit the ground running. Which ultimately leads into a successful and profitable start up for everyone involved.
Jeff W - Posted on October 13, 2009
There is a fine line of responsibility that the consumer takes on when making a purchase whether it is a printing press, airplane, automobile, etc. However in any business, success of the vendor does rely on success of the consumer. I know that a technical consultant with a printing press manufacture is an invaluable resource of information when you are starting up.

UV printing can be intimating when you get your first press and have never had to determine how many lamps it is going to take to dry a built black solid. I also know that it doesn't matter how much homework you do to prepare yourself for UV printing, nothing beats trial and error training. I understand your comparison to corvettes and airplanes, but I think it is apples and oranges.
JH - Posted on October 13, 2009
Great article about responsibility when selecting equipment, but unfortunately we are living in different times when most people never accept responsibility for anything they do or sell. Many equipment manufactures out there over promise and under deliver and most buyers think that if they buy Michael Jordan's sports gear this automatically allows them to play like him.

We have been very fortunate that we did our homework to find such partners that allow us to continue to succeed and truly care about our success. My words of wisdom are buyers beware, don't purchase equipment from a vendor who does not attempt to understand your business because this will result in tragedy and ultimately your demise. I believe that manufactures that are proactive with there clients will be successful.

Vendors that work to evaluate ahead of time who they are selling to and what level of expertise they are trying to achieve should determine the level of training needed. No Vendor can support every aspect of printing but the smart vendor who understands there client business can steer them to the right source of information and knowledge sources. Simply said and ounce of prevention can assure a great sales relationship for years to come. Let's face it in order for press manufactures to succeed in the future they need to bring technology beyond ink on paper.