The Finish Line

Don has worked in technical support, sales, engineering, and management during a career in both the commercial offset and digital finishing sectors. He is the North American representative for IBIS Bindery Systems, Ltd. of The United Kingdom.

Well, I've put another "drupa notch" on my belt, and it was quite an experience. The weather in Düsseldorf was good, and the crowds were there. For those who have never been, the sheer size of the show, and the enormous investment by the hundreds of firms exhibiting are truly mind-boggling. Deals were done, and many were for multiple high-priced systems, putting lots of smiles on vendor salespeople and management.

It's no secret that we're dealing with a greatly compressed printing industry as opposed to the "roaring '90s." For trade binderies, the news has been even worse. In the last few years, some of the largest trade shops in the Chicago-land, the East Coast, and more have closed their doors. But, amidst the bad news, there are trade binderies that are not only surviving, but doing well, thank you. What are their secrets?

Barcodes are simple and adaptable. They can be easily printed via imposition subroutines, and they can contain lots of information, depending on the symbology used. Barcode readers are both capable and affordable. A barcode printed on a sheet, signature, or cover can trigger actions on a finishing system and record important data such as job number and collation order at the same time.

Many finishing operations wonder which machines to invest in. Given the shifting sands of the market, this is not an easy decision.

There's been tremendous progress in developing the inventory-less "book-of-one" technology over the past few years. Despite the gloom-and-doom forecasts of the demise of the printed book, sales have proved otherwise. E-books sales have "plateaued" and even declined over the past few years, and study after study confirms the benefits of the printed page over the glow of the screen.

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