Winchester Printers: Old School, New Profit Tricks
"We're able to produce about 90 percent of what we could before. The only difference is we can't do substrates more than 12 pt. and can no longer print vinyls," notes Bill Casella, the company's digital, signage and small offset guru. "We've been very happy with the Linoprint."
While the Linoprint is manufactured by Ricoh, having Heidelberg backing the product in all aspects was a pot sweetener for Winchester Printers. "If there are issues with RIPs or functionality of the machine, Heidelberg is there to take care of it," Hottle remarks. "When Heidelberg backs a product, it makes it more legitimate."
The Linoprint has synched well with Winchester's workflow to provide a hybrid digital/offset system. The option to "go digital" has been helpful in adding flexibility to job scheduling. The two formats are virtually interchangeable for Winchester Printers. Certainly, some longer run lengths will dictate that offset is the more cost-effective method, while short-run and variable work will call for digital output. But the sweet spot between those two extremes offers a tremendous opportunity to offer strong turnaround times.
"Recently, someone needed a 24-page booklet the next day," Hottle remarks. "We tend to be the guy called when no one else can get the job turned. We can trust the color match between the (Speedmasters) and the (Linoprint). We haven't had any customers complain about switching over to digital when we've had to, and that's coming from an old offset guy."
The four-color Speedmaster SM 102 is due to touch down at Winchester Printers next month. A customer had sought saddlestitched books with higher page counts and greater quantities, making it inefficient to use a half-size press. Since there were already accommodations for the two-color, 40˝—such as a Heidelberg Suprasetter thermal CTP device with Autoloader, large-format folders, a 45˝ Polar cutter and an eight-pocket Stitchmaster ST100 with stacker—it didn't require significant ancillary investments to bring the SM 102 aboard.