The personalized, holiday greetings cards have begun to arrive in the mail, and more than a fair share of those ordered online from Hallmark.com are produced by direct marketing firm MSP in western Pennsylvania. (Many of Hallmark’s cards are sold through retail partner websites, such as...
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The labor reduction is obvious for the cost-conscious. “We can take a sheet and convert it to product with one operator, who has [total] control,” said Sherwood. “This results in less human error as well.” There also are productivity gains. “Labor and waste are the biggest savings,” he noted, as high as “50 percent to 80 percent in some cases.” Equipment consolidation is another cost consideration, he said, citing the case of one Rollem customer who was using three older machines for production. “Now they have one [machine] that is twice as fast” as those three combined, Sherwood shared. (See sidebar.)
Rollem’s Jetslit product, with a “beefier” set up than Jetstream, also is a versatile inline or nearline finishing system that can trim, crease, perforate, and slit all types of documents, from basics such as business cards to brochures and direct mail pieces. “Jetslit has over-sized blades that can accommodate 14-, 16-, and 18-point stock better than a guillotine cutter,” Sherwood explained. Watch for more “smart” perf solutions coming online in 2013, he said.
Bound by History
Back in 1953, at what would become MSP near Pittsburgh, Dick Busheé, Jr. helped his dad stuff, sort, stack, manage, and mail direct-mail letters in their basement – all by hand. The part-time venture turned into a full-time gig, but print finishing is nothing new. Saul Spiel, president of independent bindery equipment distributor Spiel Associates, gave a rousing speech earlier this year at the Binding Industries of America convention to put things in historical perspective: “There are very few crafts that were around in the 16th Century that are still around today,” Spiel noted. “In those days, there were wheelwrights, blacksmiths, coopers, harpoon makers, and book binders…. You have survived…. In the past five years, half of the printers in the U.S. went under, but you are still around…. How many of you will be around five years from now?
“I once told a bindery owner in California that if he made his own plastic coil, he would save $100,000 per year, and the machine at that time only cost $28,000,” Spiel continued. “His reply to me was, ‘I’m not so much interested in saving money as making money.’ FYI, he’s out of business.”
At Graph Expo in October and at its annual open house last month in Long Island City, NY, Spiel Associates showcased some of its most innovative pieces of bindery machinery, including the Sterling Digipunch, which is equipped with a touchscreen and is able to punch up to 60,000 sheets per hour. Other pieces shown included the Sterling Coilmaster Jr, which can bind up to 600 books per hour (bph) and also the Rilecart WB-360, which is an economical wire binder that can bind up to an efficient 800 bph.
Justifying the Cost
In terms of labor, one Rollem customer estimates that it costs them approximately $100,000 annually to have one person operate one machine. So doing away with an operator or two has a big impact on return on investment (ROI). The manufacturer shared some other thoughts about justifying a finishing solution equipment investment.
“Justification discussions are normally addressed by first identifying a client’s current means of print finishing applications,” explained marketing manager Susan Corwin. “Does the client use third-party vendors and send out their work to a bindery or specialty finishing company or, does the client perform their own finishing work in-house?
“With an in-house scenario, we discuss the ability to lower labor costs by performing multiple processes in one machine, with just one operator,” Corwin continued. “Often time we’ll find existing customer methods require two to three machines with multiple operators and excess paper movement to and from machines. Specific processes and a client’s application base are all discussed in depth to find the most cost-effective methods for them.
“Increased speeds are also addressed,” she noted. “Rollem’s high production capability generally exceeds output of digital presses and, therefore, greatly increases production. Less waste is discussed as layouts utilize all available sheet space. Edge-trimming, center slitting, scoring and or perforating processes of multiple-up images are completed in one process.”