Shorter runs equal more opportunities for graphic arts dealers.
While it is true that offset
pressroom product sales are moving down the curve - one dealer reported that in
their market their offset business continues to erode at 10-20% per year. And,
although they've not given up on the offset side of their business, as it still
remains active, this does give them reason to think about their future.
Admittedly, they are increasing their efforts in the growing wide format sign
A dealer in Wyoming who is a
member of a group of industry businessmen said we are looking at the latest
technology that shows potential which could be wide format and-or products in
the mailing sector. As for our dealership, once we've established a direction,
we will ease into change while we hold on tight to the offset sales by bundling
it with digitally oriented products and supplies.
Offset printing is not even
close to dying. According to Roger Giza, President, Burnishine Products, (www.burnishine.com) the dealer in Wyoming
needs to hear this.... "Burnishine product sales are 17% higher than last
year at this time, proof that offset is not dead." Giza continued,
"As the industry is aware, Burnishine sells through Master Distributors
and through the traditional dealer network. We attribute the growth to the
efforts of both channels." As a manufacturer, Burnishine encourages
dealers to entertain inquiries for special formulations or specialized
pressroom products not in the line.
Another company doing well in
pressroom supplies sales worldwide is Printing Research (www.superblue.net). Here is a company that
began 45 years ago by Howard DeMoore with an idea about how to prevent marking
on offset presses. Today as the leading anti-marking technology company, PRI
(Printing Research, Inc.) sells a complete line of anti-marking products, each
for specific purposes, all sold through dealers. In addition, the company
offers dealers a series of Infra-Red and ultraviolet drying products along with
AIRS technology which reduces hickeys.
No doubt the name H.S. BOYD (www.hsboyd.com) is no stranger to the channel.
Although still manufacturing their original line of pressroom products,
LithoPerf, and LithoScore, the company has expanded its line to include
products for larger offset equipment. "The new products in our line are
not new, the opportunity for dealers is new," stated the company
president, Richard Booth.
H. S. Boyd Company has been
involved in the Dealer Channel for over 50 years. The relationship with dealers
has been critical to the success of the company and the dealers it serves.
In addition to the H. S. Boyd
original line of on press products - LithoPerf and LithoScore -- new lines are
now available that allow further opportunities to expand the successful
relationship Boyd has developed with their Dealer Representatives. The new
lines include Inline Offset Cutting (IOC) and the Perf Print Plus (PPP) that
contribute to the expanding opportunities for dealers that sell products for
There are sales in offset
shops if you know what to look for
Even before the beginning of this century we began to see the trend towards the
era of "just in time" printing. First the lead times eroded with
customers cutting down the time for prep and proofing leading to very short
turnaround times. Today jobs are wanted in a matter of hours. Also, the noticed
trend is that print runs are getting shorter. Part of this is due to the added
selectiveness print customers are putting into building mailing lists and
methods of distribution. Add the impact of digital printing to the mix and the
print volumes per job continue to shrink.
While we had seen faster web
and sheetfed presses introduced to the market over the past two decades most of
the more recent focus by printing press manufacturers is to answer the shorter
run trend by finding ways to reduce makeready times and corresponding labor
costs. Besides the obvious integration of mechanical improvements like plate
loaders, blanket/cylinder washers and register systems used to get plates in
position quicker, there has been considerable work done with electronics
through more sophisticated monitors to control the setup and running behaviors.
Does the professional dealer fit into this picture? We say YES.
One of these electronically
assisted improvements started in 1999 with a consortium of manufacturers
including Adobe, Heidelberg and Man Roland.
They initially called themselves the International Cooperation for
the Integration of Processes in Prepress, Press and Postpress Organization
(CIP3) or as we know it today, CIP4. This group was founded to create a
technical standard that would facilitate a cross-vendor workflow implementation
with an initial focus on prepress. We know the product that came out of CIP3 to
be the Job Definition Format (JDF).
High Technology Is Here
Dealers Must Still Pay Attention To Printers With Older Presses
The potential of JDF is huge. One vision for JDF includes a customer calling up
a printer's Web site, obtaining a timely quote, and sending a PDF file to the
printer, complete with a JDF-supported job ticket. The printer's JDF-based
system would automatically schedule the job through the production process,
reserving time on the presses, folders and other equipment. On the production
side JDF feeds information through machine consoles to set guides, provide
registration assistance and in presses set the fountain keys.
While new presses have JDF
enabled ink fountain setting capabilities there is a large population of older
presses ready to facilitate this capability. The economy has dictated that
printers hold onto their older equipment longer as indicated by the slump in
new press sales. Having a capability to allow printers to meet the challenge of
shorter runs competitively is appealing.
Dealer Communicator (DC) is
constantly looking for opportunities to share with our dealer-readers,
especially profitable products that provide a good return on investment (ROI)
for their customers. This month DC has an advertiser that should be of
significant interest to graphic arts dealers, especially those selling product
into the pressroom.
QuickSet Corporation (www.quicksetcorporation.com) was
founded in the late '90s to provide a better way to preset ink fountains with
the goal of increasing productivity and reducing paper waste. Steve and Louis
Surbrook took their 18 years of research and embarked on an ink pre-setting
project and in 1999 founded QuickSet. They initially developed and patented a
unique ink key lever to replace screw keys. They also incorporated a low-cost
scanner to get the density settings from the plate.
In 2003, they adapted their
technology to get information from the Raster Image Processors (RIPs) used for
computer to plate imaging. By this time, the 1995 CIP3 standard for ink
pre-setting had been adopted by almost all other vendors, but the CIP3 ink
pre-sets, even with learning algorithms, still required ink adjustment and
taking significant paper waste after the ink pre-set. Alternatively, the
QuickSet ink pre-sets did not need further ink adjustment, with the better
results being achieved through what is called the QuickSet Fingerprint. Based
on the company's explanation: "This is a mapping of the ink-key values
needed on the press to achieve proper density for any percentage ink coverage
being printed. Every single individual press unit has a different fingerprint,
as is true for each person. In fact, every single ink-key position has a
different fingerprint from any other ink-key position. More information at
Another product that promises
to reduce makeready time and waste is from CMYK Distributors (www.cmykdistributors.com ). Mark
Williams, Director of Sales of CMYK reported to DC that user's enjoy a savings
of about 30% of makeready time and 50% of makeready waste. The company has
several pressroom products plus a two sided ink jet proofer. InkZone is the
product used to manage and monitor ink settings and performance. In addition
CMYK has a proofing product that writes CIP3/JDF files and passes them on to
InkZone or to the printer press console.
The prerequisite for a CMYK,
InkZone implementation is that the press has a console. However, even the
oldest presses can be outfitted with a console. Evidenced by a testimonial on
CMYK's website where they put the InkZone product on some Nebiola and Miller
presses that we can agree are vintage.
It is worth taking a tour of
the QuickSet (www.quicksetcorporation.com) and
websites to get a full sense of their products. These products are sold through
dealers providing profitable sales opportunities. They are also an example of
the type of pressroom products that have good, provable ROI's that will benefit
the print customers in your territory. DC
publisher's note: The key
for survival and continued growth in the offset market is knowledge. When was
the last time you did a tour of offset pressrooms and discussed the issues such
as too much waste or makeready times being too long along with some ideas and
solutions on how to fix the problems? Your customers need an education on what
can be done and how to do it. I urge you to Learn and Sell.