Consolidated Graphics: The Dukes of Digital
While sheetfed and web offset printing are both on the CGX customer menu, it's safe to note that today's special is digital printing. Davis points out that the 220 machines which grace the CGX network make it the largest fleet of digital presses in the United States. The company isn't beholden to one manufacturer, either, as it embraces HP, Kodak, Xerox and Konica Minolta models.
CGX has plunked down upwards of $50 million for digital equipment over the last five years, and another $25 million in software the past 12 years to develop the technology. And, that doesn't include the 100 hires—programmers, developers, customer service and helpdesk folks—brought aboard to raise CGX's game to a higher level.
Rumors of the conventional printing phaseout may be premature. The beauty of personalized printed material is that it often features an offset printing component.
Case in point is an automotive brochure program reached with Ford Motor Co. CGX's Cincinnati facility, The Hennegan Co., signed a deal with the venerable auto giant to produce custom vehicle brochures for more than 3,300 Ford dealers nationwide. The integrated marketing solution entails offset and on-demand digital printing, personalization and fulfillment. The more integrated the challenge, it seems, the more likely CGX is to win the contract.
Don't cry for offset...last year Wetzel Bros., of Cudahy, WI, installed a 73˝, six-color manroland UV sheetfed press. "We continue to invest in offset printing where we have the demand for it," Davis notes.
Not that all digital printing at CGX is confined to direct marketing campaigns. Personalization is huge, with products ranging from photo books, calendars, postcards, cookbooks, insurance books and financial services products getting attention. Wide-format digital printing—signage, billboards, bus/van wraps—is also drawing interest from clients and, hence, targeted capex investments from CGX.