Job Workflow — Ending the Digital Divide
The shop runs two (a two- and four-color) 29˝ Shinohara traditional offset presses, along with several small-format machines and a Multilith envelope press. Adding the DI presses has enabled it to produce shorter runs thanks to their quick makeready, and print at a higher quality, says Chuck Rothstein, president.
“The time you send a file from prepress until you’re in register and printing is about 15 minutes,” he notes. “And, we can do a 300 line screen on the DI, which is difficult to do on our older presses.”
From One to Many
At the core of Carleton’s workflow is the Screen (USA) Trueflow system, which is a PDF-based solution that can output to basically all of its digital devices, including the DI press and Screen PlateRite 4300 platesetter. That same system even drives an imagesetter the shop uses for government work that still specifies film output.
“About 50 percent of our work is for government clients and the other 50 percent is commercial print. We’ve doubled our commercial customer base in the last six months,” Rothstein says. “Our company targets anywhere from 28,000- to 30,000-piece runs and below. We try to get combination deals where we can do print and mail.”
All jobs are initially processed and preflighted by the shop’s client services department. From there, though, direct mail work is handled by a separate department with its own staff.
Client services is very involved in determining the best way to print a job—DI, offset or bizhub, he points out. “All of our client services people have prepress and design backgrounds. They can communicate with customers as to how a job should flow, depending on the volume and the dollars a client wants to spend.”
Variable data work is handled by the direct mail department because of the database issues and the expertise required on the mailing end, he adds. “We primarily use (Atlas Software’s) PrintShop Mail. We haven’t done a lot of sophisticated projects yet because we’ve only had the bizhub for a couple months. We do expect to keep that (variable data work) in the direct mail department.”