Why can’t printers tell their customers the standards and hold them to those standards? It is because the printers don’t know the standards. Are trade printers using some magical formula to tell customers how to set up files? No. They are using standards that the printing industry has adopted over the last decade. IDEAlliance has promoted GRACoL since 1996. These guidelines are now the foundation for improving communications between printers and customers.
The Ghent Workgroup is another organization that has published process specifications for the best practices that have been adopted by the print industry. Ghent focuses on PDF workflows. All a printer has to do is teach his customers to follow the standards for submitting files. A correct file can be placed into a workflow, produced the most efficient way, and rendered exactly as the customer expected, every time.
Printers must educate themselves and their staffs about the standards if they expect to stop getting bad files. The primary reason that customers create bad files is that they have never been told how to do it correctly. Once the standards are set and followed, printers should see their profits increase. If the customer isn’t following the standards, then it is easy for the printer to justify the additional cost to the customer.
Printers have to know how to use the tools they have. Just getting a PDF from a customer doesn’t mean everything will go smoothly. The PDF file has to be created to a certain standard. The PDF editing tools don’t really work if the PDF file isn’t created correctly. They can fix common problems, but if the original PDF file is not correct, even the most sophisticated software isn’t going to help.
Printers must learn the industry standards, train their staff, and then publish the standards so the customers can know them. The printer then must enforce the standards by charging to fix incorrect files. Most printers don’t complain when their vendor adds an additional charge for a bad file. They just add it to the cost of the job. Most customers won’t complain either, especially if the printer uses it as a training opportunity.
Times are too tough to rationalize away profits. Printers, like other companies, have to look for every opportunity for making money. They have to quit thinking that giving away work or using steep discounting wins customer loyalty. Author and advertising expert Steve McKee says if you play the discount card too much, it will send a signal you don’t believe your services are worth it. If you don’t believe, who will?
Adobe has updated its website. A redesigned Adobe TV is faster and more feature filled, so the visitor can get more out of it. Visit http://tv.adobe.com/ to see the latest posting from developers and designers as well series such as Everyday Timesavers. There is some good information to help train the prepress staff.
And did you know YouTube.com has a number of videos on how to use the different features of popular programs such as InDesign, Quark, Illustrator, and Photoshop? Just search for the software you use and learn about the hidden tricks that can increase productivity in the print shop. The short videos are another excellent way to get the prepress staff trained.
Can Paper Add Value?
Finch Paper thinks its new Value Guide will be interesting reading for printers and customers alike. In the new Finch Value Guide, the company covers the variables that add up to “value” in a simple, brief, and engaging manner. Real data and colorful graphics combine to bring print customers and clients a complete understanding of factors that influence value-based paper buying decisions.
The Guide covers five facets of value: choice of weights, natural look and feel, sustainability, high quality, and cost savings. The 12-page publication offers in-depth information, facts, and illustrations on these key points to help clients discern the best value and options available in paper. It is free at http://finchpaper.com/get-samples/index.php. Scroll down to the bottom left of the webpage for the Finch Value Guide.
John Giles is the author of “12 Secrets for Digital Success” and “The DTP PriceList.” He is technology director for CPrint International. He can be reached at 954/224-1942 or email@example.com. You can also find John on Twitter.com (Search for JohnG247) and LinkedIn.com. Visit his website at www. johngiles.com and link to his blog.