On the Shop Floor
Many printers recognize the opportunities offered by upgrading to newer postpress equipment and have reaped the rewards of doing so. Jim Corliss, one of the owners of Braintree Printing in Braintree, MA, says that his company has invested heavily in bindery equipment upgrades over the past 24 months. Included in the new equipment list is a Horizon BQ 470 perfect binder, Horizon HT 30 three-knife trimmer, a UV coater from Fergesen Systems, and a Scott 5000 tabber.
“We can now produce many hundreds of books in a shift. Also, the three-knife trimmer allows us to successfully bind more technically challenging books – like extremely thin or thick books, or books that bind on the short side,” says Corliss. “Both the perfect binding equipment and the tab divider equipment drive color volume on our two Xerox iGen 4s and other printers.”
He adds, “Before adding this equipment we used local trade binderies who always did a great job at a good price, but doing it in house improves turnaround, eliminates the cost of pick up and delivery, and keeps revenue in-house.”
While high-end services contribute to the concept of providing value added services, the most popular finishing services are often very basic. “Although we provide UV coating, perfect binding, coil binding, laminating, and many other finishing products, our best selling finishing service is saddle stitching,” says Joe Davis, president of Gerald Printing in Bowling Green, KY. “This service is popular because it is economical and provides a very nice looking finished product. We are able to insert return envelopes in books and newsletters when required as well.”
Edie Goldberg, who, with her husband Lou, owns Goodcopy Printing & Digital Graphics in New Haven, CT, also finds plenty of business from the basics. “Folding is the most popular because almost every job requires some kind of folding – from the simple half fold to a job we have in house now that is an eight-panel fold down to 2.25x3.75” finished size.”
And in Pittsburgh, Bob Weingard, president of Print Tech of Western PA, says, “I think plastic coil binding is our best finishing service, with Duplo bookletmaking being a close second. I think it’s popular because it looks better and is less expensive than GBC plastic binding. Also, it lays flat and is easy to open and close.”
Make It Special
Although simple services are the most popular, the most memorable jobs are anything but simple. Those jobs illustrate how important finishing can be to making your company stand out from the crowd.
Goldberg says her most memorable finishing job was for a high end appliance wholesaler which involved unusual die-cutting and folding. “We won first place in PrintImage Excellence Awards for die-cutting,” she relates. “The customer loved the finished product, and they also won an award in their industry.”
At Gerald Printing, Davis takes on the annual challenge of designing commencement program covers for a local college. “This year…we chose Knightkote Matte Crème Cover 80-pound, printed a gradient metallic gold swoosh effect at the bottom of the cover that bled off the sheet, then simply printed the text in black ink,” he explains. “What made it pop: the school’s seal was not only embossed into the sheet, but also we added spot UV coating to the seal. The results were impressive and many compliments were received.”
But Weingard’s favorite job points out that service is still a key ingredient in any job. His company produced the media guides for the Pittsburgh Steelers during last year’s playoffs. “The media guides were several hundred pages thick and were coil bound,” he says. “These were produced after each playoff game victory. If the playoff game was on a Sunday it was all hands on deck Sunday night. The updated files came to us about 6:00 p.m. on Sunday and the guides had to be ready Monday morning for the news conference. It was pretty exciting because the Steelers kept winning the playoff games and eventually won the Super Bowl.”