Handshake Deal

The city of Macon, GA, sits about 85 miles south of Atlanta; close enough that residents can enjoy the perks of a big city, yet far enough away that they haven’t succumbed to a metropolitan way of life. In Macon, aptly dubbed the “Heart of Georgia”, a handshake is as good as a man’s word. There’s no better guarantee and there’s no better way to do business.

From its beginnings in 1973 as a four-man printing company, Panaprint has grown to become one of the leading privately owned printers in the Southeast. With 90 employees, Panaprint fills a 150,000 sqft facility that contains two web presses and one eight-color sheetfed press, digital printing, saddlestitchers, a perfect binder, in-house mailing, fulfillment services, shipping and receiving, an award-winning design team, and dedicated customer service.

The company specializes in publication printing and produces thousands of pages each month.

With that much information and the sheer number of files coming over the company’s FTP, a smooth workflow is crucial. Additionally, each month Panaprint produces publications from locations all across the Southeast, and that means that remote capabilities were an absolute necessity when it came time to reevaluate the company’s workflow solution.

“Because we have such a large remote base, we wanted to make sure whatever we used was going to be robust and stout enough to handle that,” says Jerry Axtell, prepress manager at Panaprint. (Large is right—Panaprint currently has nearly 400 customers and 650 users who require remote capabilities.)

“We received a quote from our previous workflow provider to move us to a virtual platform and we also requested a quote from Fujifilm (Booth1218) to switch to XMF,” Axtell says. “While Fujifilm was less expensive, price isn’t everything. They were also able to provide us with additional capabilities and features that we really wanted and needed, not to mention consolidate things down from 15 servers to just three, and that’s why we opted to go with XMF.”

With the remote component of XMF Workflow, Panaprint is now able to offer its geographically-broad customer base the ability to drive the print production process more directly. Via the internet, Panaprint’s customers can easily upload, proof and approve jobs, which helps to streamline the job and save time for both Panaprint and their customers. Additionally, it can all be done from a tablet and, hence, virtually anywhere.

Times are Changing

Panaprint began the switch to Fujifilm’s XMF workflow earlier this year, starting with implementation of VM Ware (Virtual Memory platform) and followed by XMF Workflow, XMF Remote and finally Fujifilm ColorPath Sync color management pieces. And, while a new workflow can represent a significant change for a print shop’s operations, the Panaprint team was ready. “Everybody in this company—every employee, every single person—was on board for this change,” says Wanzie Collins, Panaprint’s owner. “Fujifilm’s team worked very closely with ours, they knew what we were trying to accomplish and we implemented our new system component by component. It was one of the smoothest transitions I’ve seen.”

The transition involved extensive on-site training at Panaprint, which included devising a schedule that encompassed both first and second shifts so everyone could be trained. “Fujifilm’s techs worked one-on-one for a full week with both of our shifts and that was really a huge help,” Axtell says. “With other companies, we sent one or two of our employees to a training class at a demo facility. While the information was good, it was difficult to come back and implement the training in the real world as well as train the rest of our team. With Fujifilm, everything was here and all of our employees were able to learn directly from the Fujifilm technicians.”

The following month, Panaprint implemented the remote capabilities portion of the workflow. “Our IT department worked closely with Fujifilm’s technical team to make sure all of our customers were set up and would be able to easily transfer and review files,” Axtell says.

After implementing the workflow pieces, the Panaprint/Fujifilm team shifted their focus to G7 certification and the addition of Fujifilm’s ColorPath Sync Ink Optimization (iO), a color management tool that creates high-quality device link profiles.

As part of the G7 process, Fujifilm certified both of Panaprint’s web presses as well as its eight-color sheetfed press. Additionally, Panaprint implemented G7 for its Epson proofer with Fujifilm’s ColorPath Sync DLP (device link profile) and will use the same solution to color manage the company’s new Xerox 1000 Color Press (also from Fujifilm), tying together proofing, offset printing, and their digital work. “We’ve been running to G7 standards for some time, but it’s nice to have the certification and it’s certainly something that will help us increase the marketing efforts around our printing capabilities,” Collins says. “And Fujifilm’s Sync iO has made it easier and quicker for our pressmen to get up to color, and that’s resulted in quicker makeready time and a savings of paper.”

“I wish we’d have been able to implement ink optimization years ago,” adds Axtell. “Not only does it help us save on ink, but we’re also getting up to color faster, there’s less dry time and, because we’ve lowered the CMY and increased the black, we’re seeing a much better gray balance.”

“Jerry (Axtell) has a lot of responsibility and a lot of deadlines to meet, so my job is to give him the very best tools I can to do the job,” Collins adds. “As a business owner, I look at the partnerships we have and, of course, reevaluate them from time to time. Many of them have been in place for a long time. But, things change. They have changed and our needs have changed, and we looked around and found that Fujifilm was able to be a true partner for us. They’ve brought us some important options and some new technology and that’s helped our business. I value that.”