Convertible Printing - Do You Think You're Saving Money? Seriously?
While you were sitting in the board meeting or alone in your office this past week studying last quarters P&L, did you determine your company’s profitability by the bottom line or shake the piggy bank to see what’s left over? Were you looking at a realistic outlay or just the balances on the A/P and A/R reports? Are you certain of your exact costs of doing business?
How many of you are you convinced there is actually such a thing as “hard” and “soft” money?
I’m sure you’re aware this expression is usually related in politics in reference to campaign contributions and whether the money has to be reported or not. Unfortunately, many tend to use the phrase in the daily grind of the printing business. I feel that ALL money affects your bottom line.
In many instances, I’ve heard this statement, “Hard money is when I have to spend additional funds to print the job with UV supplies and energy. Soft money is the down time involved in changing the press over from conventional printing to UV and then back again.”
I believe you would be surprised if you added up all of the potential production hours lost going back and forth. Not to mention the waste of supplies in doing so. Are you under the assumption that all of the remaining ink and/or blankets removed form the machine will find their way back on the press during the return conversion? Those losses are “hard” money!
I’ve also mentioned in the past how important conditioning rollers is when going in and out of UV. Even when carried out properly, the quality is usually jeopardized on the first job out of the box going either direction. Are you taking the risk of that job going south with a possible reprint being the cost? Maybe you did not have to reprint but did have to scramble for more paper due to the shortage after the fact. Again, that’s more “hard” money.
We would all like to believe that we schedule the changeovers at the most convenient and cost-effective times, but let’s face it, in most instances our customers dictate the pressroom schedule. So if we have to break into a conventional day with one UV job, we do so. That’s right, more “hard” money.
These are just some of the expenses associated with convertible printing. Keep these in mind when you’re making that decision of going back and forth and remember there are expenses associated with “soft” money.
Many printers have made the commitment and transformed to a dedicated UV machine. They realized early on how the “soft” money dollars add up and if you ask them, I’m sure they would agree they're better for it.
Darren has worked in the printing industry for 30 years and spent more than 12 years at two of the nation's leading high-end commercial printers: Bradley Printing in Des Plaines, IL, and Williamson Printing Corp. in Dallas, TX. During that time, he operated conventional and UV 40˝ sheetfed presses and also successfully managed a $15-million pressroom equipment transition. Darren also was Lead Press Instructor for Heidelberg, where he directed specialty equipment startups and was involved in all aspects of the printing process by teaching both instructor and pressroom employees.
In addition, he served as a troubleshooter for various printing companies in the U.S., Canada and Mexico. As operations manager for a start-up specialty folding carton company, he played a key role in achieving more than $6 million in sales within two years. Currently Darren is president of D.G. Print Solutions, a consulting firm that supports printing companies of all sizes. He specializes in growth development planning, pressroom color management and pressroom training through specialty print applications.