To accommodate all the new markets they were now serving, they changed the name of the company to BarkerBlue Reprographics. In 1989, Klein was made president of the company and his dad continued to work at BarkerBlue until he passed away in 1991. “My dad instilled in me that change was good and over the years we have changed with the times and that has helped forge our success.”
BarkerBlue was on the ground floor and first reprographer in its market to deploy Web-based electronic planroom services. Klein noted that the emergence of online plan rooms has now moved into a core offering for members of ReproMAX, the largest international network of independent reprographic companies. “We pushed for the online planroom as a way to remain competitive and offer progressive solutions to our customers,” he pointed out.
“In the late 90s we were a full service reprographer and that was about the time that the dotcoms were coming out talking about hosting projects online. I saw that as a threat. I believe that you should never let anyone get between you and your customers, so we wanted to be the ones hosting the projects. One day I was playing golf with some ReproCAD members and we were talking about trying to find a way where we could post drawings and projects online for our customers. One of the guys said they were working on developing a software program that could accomplish this. At that point I dropped my driver and said ‘wow we need to work with you on this.’ We purchased a system, called CDM, helped develop it, then recruited others in ReproMAX to also buy the product and help refine it. CDM wound up being adopted by 15 companies in the ReproCAD network. We then focused on digital services and put all of our clients’ projects on our planrooms, back when some of them didn’t know what a planroom was. In time, Adenium’s DFS system became the ReproMAX standard, because it was a very powerful platform that could take us in new directions, but CDM was a valuable stepping-stone, ” Klein recalled.
It was around that same time that Klein began to revolutionize the shop with the purchase of an Océ 9800 wide-format digital printer in 1998, purchased solely as a plotting machine for the shop’s diazo department. Blown away by the Océ 9800’s robust workload capacity and operation, Klein completely eliminated BarkerBlue’s diazo department, replacing it with four Océ 9800 series machines and marking a major shift to digital printing. “Back then most reprographers had one or two 9800s, and they regarded it as a luxury service, sort of like ‘First Class’. I didn’t understand that. I wanted to be all-electronic, all the time,” reported Klein.
BarkerBlue’s current equipment arsenal includes: Four Océ TDS 800s, two Océ 9800s, an Océ TCS 500, two Heidelberg 9110s, an Océ 6060 solvent printer, an HP Indigo 3050 press, a Roland SolJet 645 12-ink color plotter with DaVinci RIP software, ReproMAX DFS online planroom (7500+ projects hosted), two HP 1055s , an HP 5500, and a SEAL 5500 laminator.
The HP Indigo 3050 press was a major investment, made in 2005, that totaled, with supporting equipment, about $600,000. “I had friends in the industry who thought this was too much of a stretch. ‘Start with some high-speed color copiers, like the Xerox 6060,’ they said. But the 6060 prints looked the same as the prints made on the slower speed Doc 12s, so, from the customer’s perspective, what was the change?” Klein asks. “With the HP Indigo the customer gets offset quality at color copy run lengths and pricing levels, and each piece can be personalized, to boot. I saw that as a major paradigm shift for our marketplace,” said Klein.
The next phase in the company’s development was its move toward sustainablily which began when John T. Roach joined the company in 1998 as the general manager. That same year, they changed the named to BarkerBlue Digital Imaging Inc. “John is very much an environmentalist as well as a vegetarian, and I’ve learned from him,” Klein said. “He’s really inspired me and our business.”