November 15th, 2013
By Bob Charboneau
Senior Production Manager, Dixon Schwabl
As a production manager at a full service advertising, marketing and public relations firm, it’s my job to meet with clients, account executives, art directors and designers to review our clients’ needs and to help source and qualify print vendors. I do this by reviewing each provider’s printing equipment, finishing equipment and processes, capabilities and customer service/technical support model.
Over the past few years, the marketplace has seen the entrance of some exceptional digital print technology with output nearly indistinguishable from that of offset . There are a lot of shops making great use of this technology, with many printers not only having great equipment, but also outstanding workflow, pre-press departments and solid customer service. Where I typically see a point of differentiation is in the finishing department.
Some printers have better scoring, folding, die-cutting and bindery than others. Years ago when digital printing first became mainstream, I would notice a lot of “cracking” where a digital printed sheet would crack on the score line when folded or when saddle stitching (aka stapling) two or more pieces of paper together, the staple would smash the spine of the piece and create a flat spot.
Today’s many print providers have raised the bar and have enhanced their finishing capabilities to better suit digital print….but some are still struggling. When partnering with a digital print provider, it’s important to consider all pieces of the printing process – so you can finish strong.
Another point of consideration is the substrate chosen. Making the right paper choice, in terms of weight, color and finish – can dramatically influence whether the final output conveys the ‘look’ and ‘feel’ you intended. . There are certain papers made for digital and as a good rule of thumb, it’s always best to ask your print provider if they have a “house stock” that is used with their equipment or ask the manufacturer if they certify specific papers or substrates that you can use on your project.
Paperspecs.com is a great resource for all things paper. I had the pleasure of meeting the site’s founder, Sabine Lenz, in 2009 at the How Conference in Austin, Texas. She is very knowledgeable on the subject matter, offers a variety of tips, highlights cool projects and offers free webinars on a variety of design and print subject matter. For a few dollars, you can become a pro member of her site and get expert level tips that can take your paper game to the next level.
Today’s knowledgeable print providers, armed with the latest in digital print technology, allow agencies and our clients to push the limits of our creativity and implement new ideas. It’s important to remember to never stop innovating, continue experimenting, and never lose sight of the importance to finish strong!
May 3rd, 2012
Written By Donna Brick
Marketing Manager, Workflow and Solutions
Over 900 million results when you Google “automatic”. Wow. Automatic transmission, sprinkler system, bill-pay, doors, photo sorter, payroll deductions, vacuum, lawn mower, chicken coop door openers … even an automatic mini donut factory for your home. Wow. I could go on. To say that automation is abundant and evident everywhere we turn is an understatement. But the fact that it is so prevalent in our daily lives means we can easily take it for granted. Or overlook a new way that automation can save time and money….like… finishing of booklets for example. And what a great example that is… given that it is Drupa season and all…
Commercial Printers continue to look for improved operational efficiencies (that’s probably another understatement). There is a need to offset increased costs and downward pricing pressures, often while expanding business with new sales channels and digital sales growth. Compounding this is the growing need to deliver hundreds of jobs daily with ultra low quantities. More often than not, jobs require manual setup of the finisher which means more time to complete each job – more cost, and slower time to delivery.
With an automated start-to-finish workflow, you can effectively automate file submission,
file preparation, file routing and finishing throughout your print operation. Xerox has demonstrated this repeatedly – perhaps you have seen or enjoyed the benefits of the Automatic In-line Finishing Solution. We’re proud to say we’ve taken it a step further … to include automation of off-line booklet finishers as well as in-line. This can mean better utilization of your finishing assets – less errors – less steps in the process – less cost – more jobs out the door – and more revenue. Not to mention more time to enjoy all of the output from your new automatic mini donut factory.
It’s automatic. The Xerox IntegratedPLUS Finishing Solution for Booklets. If you’re at drupa, please visit me in Hall 8B to discuss this exciting solution. Or you can learn more online at http://www.xerox.com/
May 2nd, 2012
Written By Bill Michael
You know them: hearing, sight, touch, smell, taste. At drupa, each of your senses will be put to great use, as you will:
- Hear: The excitement of the 1000s of attendees in the print industry having conversations on a variety of topics.
- See: Technology and software that represents the future of our industry
- Touch: Printed samples with specialty media, innovative finishing, and special toner
- Smell: toner, ink and paper in the air as you walk by every vendors stand.
- Taste: German cuisine (maybe for the first time) and perhaps a few brands of German beer with some friends and colleagues.
At the Xerox stand (Hall 8b), your senses can best be used by seeing and touching the applications that we’ll be showcasing live in our stand, including many Best-of-the-Best winners. These winners include: IOS (Digital and Offset), Mediaware (Digital Packaging), MBA Group Limited (TransPromo), Telemail, S.L. (TransPromo), Easy Print (Photo Publishing), Printshop (Photo Publishing). Three additional winners include:
|DG3 Europe Limited
(Best Overall Solution, case study)
The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, the largest youth charity in the UK, wanted to enable their award winners to create and order personalized Achievement Packs online. They approached DG3 Europe Limited, who mapped out an end-to-end solution using FreeFlow Process Manager™ and the iGen4 with a Xerox FreeFlow™ Print Server – resulting in a 637% increase in usage of the achievement pack.
(Digital Packaging, case study)
Recognizing the growing area of digital packaging, De Budelse built FotoChoco.nl to enable orders of personalized boxes of chocolate. Using the iGen4 and FreeFlow Print Server, they were able to sell over 11,000 boxes of chocolate. (your sense of taste!)
(Direct Marketing, case study)
Using the Xerox Color 1000 Press, CopyCat used clear dry ink and personalized cross media to drive new business. The campaign generated a 10% response rate and helped bring in 20 new orders from new customers.
Please stop by Xerox Stand in Hall 8B to see and touch these great applications. We’ll find other ways to exercise your other senses!
February 29th, 2012
Written By James Tressler
Director of Marketing & Branch Operations
C.P. Bourg Incorporated
What an incredibly compelling and relevant testimonial with an unusual twist ……Finishing automation driving print opportunity. In today’s age of complexities and cross media bliss it is exciting to read about a customer, an In-Plant none-the-less that has found and implemented technologies that have delivered on their promises.
After all, with print becoming more commoditized every day we as manufacturers are challenged to design and bring to market devices that enable our customers to improve their processes and increase their bottom line all the while knowing there are fewer customers and stronger competition vying for their business. However ….. When this process is successful and the right customer gets the right product, amazing things happen. This article is a glowing testament to that very thing.
Jeff Taranto and his team got it right and they are delivering for their corporation on the promise their new technology investment brought them. He has found new ways to keep print relevant and expand its role with exciting results and staggering savings adding significant value to the bottom line. Their success is in no small part the result of knowing and understanding the precise role print plays in their corporation’s ability to deliver the right message to their customer.
Congratulations to the Highmark team, I wish you much continued success!
So what do you think …… can automation in the production environment help organizations make print more relevant, green and overcome commoditization?
February 8th, 2012
Once in a blue moon, a print application will cross my desk that catches my eye. The reasons differ: stunning design, elaborate finishing, personalization, or maybe its vivid color. However, a particular photo book titled, “Anthony’s Prayers,” caught my eye because of the simplicity of its design and more importantly because of story and the content within. I’ve always believed, “content is king.” This was proof.
The Author, Anthony Torrone, has an intriguing story. Anthony is developmentally disabled, the result of a flu-like sickness when he was a young boy. One day, he decided to write about all those things for which he was thankful. His writing is simple but so profound and the photo book pairs his writing with photos that have been taken of Anthony through his interesting life.
I could put my “print industry” hat on and comment on the quality of the finishing and how Color House Graphics did an outstanding job of creating a high quality application using the iGen4 but for me Anthony’s story and the writing he has developed is the bigger story. Color House Graphics and others were enablers for Anthony and his amazing story.
Content is king. Creating bodies of work that capture amazing stories is what makes the print industry so appealing. We are very privileged to not be just print operators, marketers and graphic designers but story tellers and dream makers that enable others to tell an even better story.
Have any other examples of great print applications that tell a story? I’m sure you have many…please share your stories.
July 7th, 2011
Written by Joel Basa, e-Marketing Manager at Xerox Corporation
Automation, it’s a part of our daily lives and routines. Think about it. A few examples from my own life this past July 4 weekend. I didn’t have to worry about my high speed internet connection bill being paid while out of town because of Automatic Bill Payment. The plants I didn’t have a chance to put in the ground before my wife and I went out of town didn’t die because of an Automatic Sprinkler. Even the simple task of turning on my headlights during our drive back to Rochester was “eliminated” due to Automatic Headlights. In fact, the actual action of me publishing this blog post on 11:00 AM ET was automated.
So, why automate? For many, automation equals efficiency and often efficiency equals increased productivity. The examples I cited before allowed me to be more efficient and productive and gave me more time to enjoy my vacation.
Now think about your own business? Last month, I discussed the topic of productivity for a digital press. In that blog post, we discussed the concept of operational prints per hour and how producing sellable prints is often the true objective of many businesses with digital presses. Automation is an important factor to increase operational prints per hour. Have you looked into solutions with intelligent prebuilt workflows to offload routine, repetitive tasks in the areas of prepress, print and finishing? How about if you could automate common print applications such as business cards? How about automation of variable information for personalization of these common applications?
Today, the Xerox® DocuColor 8080 was launched. This digital press embraces the importance of automation with the introduction of Productivity Apps. These innovative new Productivity Apps combine workflow solutions, templates, and professional services to help automate common jobs, maximize the productivity of your Xerox digital press, and drive increased revenues and profits.
Automation, are you embracing it in your print operations?
December 9th, 2010
Welcome! Come on in and make yourself at home! Feel free to take your shoes off or leave them on – whatever makes you comfortable. And please help yourself to a slice of birthday cake on the table!
Some people have extravagant celebrations, others prefer to turn their birthday into a week-long festivity…but here at the Digital Printing Hot Spot, we have decided to celebrate our one-year birthday all month long! (…although the cake may not last)
So what does our one-year birthday really represent, and what’s up with the silly cake, you may ask? I am very excited to say that with this birthday we are celebrating our commitment to you, our customers, as this marks a full year of delivering you tips and helpful information to get the most out of your production print equipment. Our goal is to help you meet your business objectives and succeed, while making your day-to-day operations run as smooth as possible.
Through the sharing of success stories, industry trends, best practices, technology, workflow efficiencies, and much more – we truly hope that when you visit this site, you are able to walk away (or close out of your browser) with a helpful piece of information previously unbeknownst to you. We know that you face business challenges that keep you up at night. Our objective is to equip you with all the necessary information to help you best handle these challenges.
In our one-year of existence, we have shared many exciting success stories of customers much like yourself, discussed many fascinating issues within the industry, and shed light to various best practices and helpful tips.
In case you’ve missed some, here’s just a small sampling of a few of the many stories that have been shared:
• Digital packaging opportunities
• How to design for digital
• Tips for printing on textured stocks
• How to design for Clear Dry Ink with the Xerox Color 800/1000 Press
• Running lightweight paper on your Continuous Feed device
• An award-winning 100% variable magazine
• Book printing: It’s easy being green
• Achieving new levels of productivity with automation
• Front-to-Back registration suggestions
• The story of a digital printer banking €150,000 a month with digital book venture
I would really like to take an opportunity to thank you, our readers; because if it wasn’t for you consistently visiting this blog and providing us with great feedback, we wouldn’t be able to share this very special birthday celebration with you right now!
If you are interested in keeping up-to-date with our latest stories, please subscribe to this blog and/or follow us on Twitter (@XeroxProduction)!
And what would a birthday celebration be without gifts?! We have an assortment of giveaways that we’d love to share with you, including: Print Providers Guide to Social Media written by Peter Muir, ProfitAccelerator Data-Driven Print Book, a Customizable Calendar Kit, ProfitAccelerator Individualized Media Essentials Book, and a Best-of-the-Best case study/success story book. Quantities are limited and will be given on a first-come, first-serve basis.
To receive one of these fantastic resources, please comment and let us know what information you find helpful from this blog and what topics you’d be interested in hearing about as we begin the exciting journey towards our second-birthday!
Thank you for stopping by and celebrating with us!