Written by:
Howard Fenton
Senior Technology Consultant
NAPL

If you’re Dave Zamorski, the COO of Associates International, Inc. (Ai), and the winner of the 2010 CIPPI Award for biggest improvement in process management and customer responsiveness, then workflow improvements are very important. Ai is a digital printer that has combined digital printing, web-to-print, and JDF-enabled automation to produce a dramatic effect. They provide an array of services including electronic prepress, digital printing, commercial printing, variable data marketing programs, email marketing programs, integrated campaign management, and web-to-print storefronts.

The conventional division has all Heidelberg sheetfed equipment and the digital division has three Xerox DocuColor iGen3 Digital Production Presses with CREO Color Server RIP systems plus two Xerox 6100’s with booklet makers and interposers.

One issue was that they were capable of running hundreds of orders daily but they required manual intervention to collect job costs. Invoicing would have been delayed for 7-10 days while the job costs were gathered from orders that contained an average of 3.2 line items each.

In an interview on WhatTheyThink.com Zamorski said, “We handle hundreds of line items a day that come through our (digital) storefronts. To sit there and manually go back through and try to touch (invoice) each one of those and record those was very expensive. This (automation) saved us annually someplace in the area of $150,000 to $180,000. One of the … take-aways, was …(the) improvement in our process …  (which was over) 75%. Actually our payroll went down an astounding 30% and our profitability went up.”

CIPPI Award Judge Patrick Cahuet said that they have shown us what the future printer will look like. ”Associates stated that their goal was ‘lights out production,’” and while two companies won this award, Ai proved that they could “increase efficiency and profitability during difficult economic times.”

Congratulations to Dave Zamorski and the entire staff at Associates International.

Howard Fenton is a Senior Technology Consultant at NAPL. Howie advises commercial printers, in-plants, and manufacturers on workflow management, operations, digital services, and customer research. He is a paid contributor to this blog.

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