Digital Finishing: Different Paths to Success
"Before, we would use an outside vendor for anything over a 100," notes Ken Seibel, president of The Seibel Group. "Now, we can produce runs in the thousands and stay competitive." The purchase was driven entirely by client demand.
Overall, Seibel feels that digital finishing has come a long way, especially with the new creasing and scoring systems that eliminate cracking across the fold. "As long as jobs are printed with the correct grain direction, 99 percent of our jobs come out perfect," he says. "Our Duplo will also trim the piece to its finished size, even if running multiple-up on a sheet."
Seibel says client expectations still need to be managed when it comes to bookletmaking, however, since inconsistencies can still occur. "Whether in-line or off-line, the finishing for saddlestitched books still has a ways to go, especially for the price point," he explains. "We come from the offset side, where we are used to everything being as near perfect as possible—perfect square trim, always hitting right on the crop marks—and it just doesn't happen with most bookletmakers. But they are coming along."
Clients can be well educated about the company's postpress capabilities on its Website. Where Seibel feels that his staff provides a lot of value in terms of personal interaction is guiding decisions related to cost-efficiency. This can be non-intuitive in a digital finishing environment.
"Say you're doing 1,000 copies of a Wire-O book. You may have 60-page books, plus covers, so it sounds like the quantity warrants it to be printed offset," Seibel explains. "But that's not necessarily true because, in the digital world, that book is going to be automatically printed, collated and ready to be bound. With offset, you'll run it, multiples up, cut it, and collate it, then you still have the finishing process. When you take into consideration the impact of the manual finishing of the job, it changes the cost structure between offset and digital. Every job is different. That's why there is no price list!"