Big Picture - November/December 2017 - 14
JS: Quality control (QC): We don't have time at the end of
production, and QC at every step is not working anymore,
either. Our automated scheduling system with integrated RIP
is working well, but we have real QC initiatives on our plate
now. Doing something twice creates more than bottlenecks.
KG: The shift to digital interaction has been dramatic.
One-on-one relationships are still critical, but now have to be
supported with a strategic and well-executed traditional and
online communication effort.
RK: Our social media strategy has generated more traffic
MT: Traditionally, our bottlenecks have shifted from area to
area due to capacity limitations. As we grow, the bottleneck
shifts either upstream or downstream. Recent bottlenecks
have occurred in our job processing area, related to gathering
and communicating specifications to our manufacturing
departments in a timely manner. We implemented a new
automation to streamline this activity and, as projected, the
bottleneck moved to the graphics department that now needs
to process files at an increased pace to keep up with the jobs
being entered into the system.
and conversions than we had ever hoped for since we really
kicked it into high gear in 2012. Creating relevant content is
critical to its success. We use LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter,
Google Plus, YouTube, and Pinterest. We get the most bang
JS: Social media should be tended to, but don't plan on it
delivering the amount of work you need. We maintain a good
presence on Facebook and Instagram.
CR: Very important. We have in-house social marketing
WOULD YOU SUGGEST MULTIPLE ENTRY-LEVEL
PRINTERS OR ONE LARGE, "SUPER-FAST"
MACHINE TO START?
MT: We have a presence in social media, but do not heavily
rely on it for our main marketing initiatives.
KG: Purchase the best, most reliable equipment you can afford.
RK: We'd suggest multiple presses.
CM: We have gone both ways on this dilemma with successful
outcomes. I am of the opinion there is not a right or wrong
answer. This decision must be made on a case-by-case basis.
We just chose "super-fast" and expensive because those were
the only options.
CR: Entry-level presses, and utilize trade printers until you
WHAT DO YOU THINK WE'LL
SEE NEXT YEAR THAT WE HAVEN'T
RK: More inline finishing capabilities. Anything, really, that
helps us expedite the time to market for our retail customers.
CR: In the case of equipment, I would expect a latex flatbed
printer with white ink.
build a book of business and can justify the investment.
JS: We will see even higher customer demands on creative
JS: Entry-level printers are the way to go. Watching costs
during startup is key. I have seen too many shops go too big,
too fast, and their shiny new equipment ends up in an auction.
MT: This is a case-by-case decision. Entry-level printers
sometimes have much higher costs related to consumables
and labor and can't always meet the need for a growing
business. Super-fast printers also have their drawbacks when
considering the capital cost requirements, especially if your
volume comes from short-run production.
HOW IMPORTANT IS SOCIAL MEDIA USE AT
YOUR SHOP? WHAT OUTLETS DO YOU USE?
and conception, and even faster turn times. With competition
at an all-time high, shops need to offer more than a print job,
more than an install. Clients will need a true partner to bring
them ideas and then to be able to execute at a very high level.
WHAT ARE YOU MOST EXCITED
FOR IN 2018?
SC: 2018 will bring more maturity to the digital printing world.
The pace of change in speed and quality will continue to
increase. Convergence and consolidation will bring all facets
of the printing world together into one space.
KG: Building on our success over the past several years!
SC: Social media continues to be important to any business
that wants to be around for the next 20 years. The next
generation of print buyers will use social media to verify your
credibility as a potential vendor. You need to have a presence
to be considered current and relevant in today's digital
marketplace. We post on Facebook and LinkedIn and are
working to update our website to help present a more unified
message to the marketplace.
CR: To see what new innovations are going to be available.
JS: Our journey finds us focusing on installing controls in 2018.
KPIs, real-time data publishing in monitors throughout the
plants, maintaining quality and process across the country,
and controlling the growth rate to ensure it is manageable are
the frontline initiatives from bluemedia at this time.