Trevecca Nazarene University In-plant Pulls Off Major Turnaround with Xerox and EFI

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by Greg Cholmondeley, Workflow Practice Director, Caslon & Company


TreveccaI recently interviewed Kelly Huebscher, who runs print services at Trevecca Nazarene University, for a PODi Video Case Study. Trevecca University is a liberal arts school in Nashville, Tennessee with about 3,000 students. It is best known for their teaching and music programs, but my interest is in their in-plant printing operation. Their print shop went from an offset shop at risk of being closed to an organization which manages the fleet of 55 to 60 printers across campus with a central digital print shop. Their shop has a Xerox Color 1000i digital press driven by EFI’s Digital Storefront and Fiery Command Workstation.

I love hearing turnaround stories like this. PODi members can download the full, six-video case study from the PODi website, but here’s an excerpt from our interview.

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Workflow Automation in a Job Shop Produces Unexpected Benefits

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In PODi’s webinar, Workflow Automation – What Every Printer Needs to Know, sponsored by Xerox, Chris Bradshaw, GM of the AlphaGraphics franchise in Layton, Utah, took us through his journey to put workflow automation into his shop. You can watch a recording of the webinar by clicking on the webinar link

What makes Chris’ story so interesting to me is that he has successfully applied workflow software (Xerox FreeFlow Core) to his job shop environment. I often hear about the large volume shops applying workflow software and it works because they run a large number of jobs or have a large number of repeat jobs, making the ROI easy to justify.

But smaller volume shops often have an issue with the ROI calculation. And Chris will admit it took a lot of persuading and persistence to get the owner of the shop to invest.  What is interesting is that in addition to time savings per job (which Chris values at $5 per job) there was another round of benefits that were hard to quantify initially. Had he known the investment would have been a quick “no-brainer” for the owner.

Turns out that implementing automation reduced a large number of human touch points, which in turn eliminated a good percentage of the errors that they were dealing with on a daily basis. The brunt of these errors was handled by the CSR staff.  What Chris found out (through attrition) was that as the errors went away he could reduce his CSR staff by 2.  This savings was on top of the $5 per job savings mentioned earlier.

workflow

Another benefit that was a nice surprise was they can turn jobs faster, which is great for situations where the customer is in a big rush. This allows AlphaGraphics to provide improved service levels and offers a chance to secure additional margin on rush jobs.

Another tip from Chris is to make sure you have a solid champion for the new processes. Chris did note that implementing the changes to the workflow was harder than he thought it would be. Originally he thought that everyone would quickly see the value in the new way, but what he learned is that his team didn’t like change and change is scary. So he had to insist that everyone (no exceptions) use the new workflows and then overtime his team has come around.

Successfully Implementing Workflow Automation in a Job Shop

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When it comes to justifying workflow automation, especially in small to mid-size print shops, getting a good fix on the ROI can be elusive. That’s because labor savings on each job might not translate to immediate dollar savings. And the added benefits of fewer errors has compounding benefits downstream, from the bindery through to customer service, that are often hard to calculate in advance.

Even if you can get the funds to buy the necessary software, you aren’t guaranteed success. That’s because change is hard. “This is the way we’ve always done it around here” is a line often heard in shops everywhere. The resistance to change can be a huge barrier to implementing workflow improvements. It can be really frustrating for the person who can see the end benefit of change way before the other team members. “Why doesn’t everyone see the benefit?” can be expressed. It often takes persuasion and persistence to implement the desired changes.

Case in point: Chris Bradshaw’s story of implementing Xerox FreeFlow Core in the AlphaGraphics shop in Layton, Utah.  AlphaGraphics Layton UT  Chris joined the franchise about 18 months ago as General Manager, working directly for the owner. Chris’ tenured background included production experience and IT experience, along with a passion for using technology to improve business results. Even before his first day on the job Chris knew he wanted to add automation to the shop, but it wasn’t as easy as he thought it would be. It turned out that implementing the technology was the easy part. Read the rest of this entry »

How Does a Worth Higgins get Hundreds of Jobs a Day with MarcomCentral?

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by Greg Cholmondeley, Workflow Practice Director, Caslon & Company


Worth HigginsI recently interviewed a commercial printer with over 70 active online portals servicing tens of thousands of end users, delivering hundreds of jobs per day, and driving 65 percent of their digital business. Brian Losch, VP of Sales, shared some of what they learned on the way.

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Would you like some foil with your digital printing?

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Print Enhancement is not a new concept.  Printers generate over $5 billion annually by adding foil, spot gloss or raised print to printed documents via traditional analog methods. The market drivers for print enhancement are well documented:

digital print enhancement

  • Adds a luxury look & feel
  • Increases perceived value
  • Makes materials stand out
  • Can increase security
  • Increases profitability for vendors

 

We see print enhancement being used for packaging and marketing communication documents in two segments of the market: luxury goods and what we call the personal brand market.  According to an analysis by BCG, spending on luxury goods exceeds $1 trillion globally. Key sub-segments include: fashion & clothing, watches & jewelry, leather goods and accessories, cosmetics & fragrances, alcohol & food, travel & hotels, technology, furniture, and automobiles. Read the rest of this entry »

Manageable and Effective Marketing – Pacesetter Did It and You Can Too

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Remember that saying, “the cobbler’s children go unshod”? I would be lying if I said that our company, Pacesetter Enterprises, never suffered from something similar. We often get so busy working on our clients’ needs that we lose focus on our own marketing efforts. Many times, we would go weeks, even months, without sending out a single marketing piece.

With increased competition and reduced budgets, losing sight of your marketing can be detrimental to your overall sales. We are competing, in many cases, on a larger scale. Our systems need to be streamlined, our branding needs to be on point, and our daily tasks need to directly contribute to the overall goal of the company.

How do we do that on a shoestring budget? How do we do that if our resources are limited? How do we even figure out how we’re different from our competitors? Read the rest of this entry »

Canon’s new UVgel ink technology offers Commercial Printers an attractive entry point into wide format printing.

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Canon has introduced a revolutionary new product in the 64” roll to roll wide format market called the Colorado 1640. This printer offers the speed of many high-end 10’ (3 meter) roll to roll printers with running costs up to 40% less than 64” latex and or eco-solvent printers.

UVgel Ink 2

The technology behind this printer is UVgel ink. Whereas with other technologies the inks need to be dried, with heat, immediately after each pass of the inkjet head, the UVgel technology is different. All the ink droplets required for an image can be laid down on the substrate and then cured using cold LED light. This high viscosity ink sets up on the page in a way that minimizes dot gain and coalescence. And the ability to separate the creation of the image from drying/curing is a key reason why the printer can run so fast. Read the rest of this entry »

Canon Launches ProStream: High Speed, High Quality Inkjet Press

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On Feb 17, 2017 Canon launched the ProStream platform of high-speed digital color inkjet continuous feed printers. This platform offers customers the ability to print high quality images (1200 dpi, multibit), and very high speeds (1144 letter size pages per minute) on a wide variety of media including many standard coated offset stocks.

Canon anticipates the press will be used for scientific and technical book printing, premium direct mail, catalogs, magazines, sales collaterals and any many other high quality applications that are printed on coated stocks. Read the rest of this entry »

Another Win for EFI As It Acquires Xerox DFE Business

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By paying $22 million over the next 18 months EFI recently announced the purchase of Xerox’s DFE business. This is a nice win for EFI and likely a win for anyone who competes against an end to end Xerox workflow.

The win for EFI is removal of a top competitor and increased market share in the production digital printing space. While EFI has long been the market leader with over 70% share in light and mid color digital production they were in much different position in the heavy duty cycle segment of the market.  HP Indigo, NexPress, Xeikon all have their own controllers and do not offer Fiery.  And while Xerox offered Fiery their preference was to sell Xerox FreeFlow servers. In this segment Caslon estimated FreeFlow servers, HP Indigo servers and Fiery were all in the 25% to 30% share range. Now Fiery’s share in the heavy duty segment will double and their share in the light and mid production segments will climb up another 10-15 points.

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EFI Productivity Suites on Display at Connect

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Just last week I attended EFI’s Connect conference. It’s their annual conference where EFI customers can come and learn how to better utilize their existing EFI products and find out what’s new for 2017. A record crowd of roughly 1000 customers was on hand.

With revenues of $1 billion EFI is a great success story. Known for their leading DFE’s (Fiery) they branched out and corralled nearly all the key software players in the MIS space and then added in critical workflow elements such as web to print and cross media. Then they decided go “all-in” on inkjet; which has led to a string of acquisitions of inkjet manufacturers for wide format and several industrial printing markets including textiles, ceramics, and labels. The most recent inkjet press (Nozomi) is for the corrugated market and was developed internally. The end result is an industry powerhouse with lots of momentum.

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