Printing and Purchasing

Archive for June, 2013

Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno – Part 2

Graphics or Printing is one of my passions. During my career I have been fortunate to have years of education [BS] and a career of diverse positions in the printing industry. One of the major influencers of this passion was the teachers at Roger L. Putnam Vocational Technical High School’s Print Shop. Mr. Chapman, Mr. Clune and Mr. Dodd were influential in my vocation, and secondary education. These teachers cared about printing and their students.

The print shop was important to the city since it supplied the printing needs of the school department as well as the city of Springfield. Work was abundant in the shop and it allowed students to learn the trade in a hands on practical way. The teachers knew the trade. The teachers had diverse backgrounds from being experienced in the industry to being an RIT graduate, which happens to be my alma mater.

This was a great educational experience. The press room was always busy with as many as 7 presses/duplicators running at any given time thus giving the students practical experience. The shop had several hand-fed clam shells, a Heidelberg Windmill, Miele Vertical, AB Dick 350, 360, Multi-Graphics, and a Heidelberg Korg. The press room was run by Mr. Dodd who also worked as a pressman after hours which allowed him to stay current.

A student was able to utilize co-op in their junior year and students who excelled were able to work summers printing the school handbook for the coming year. Some may say most of this is repetitive work, however, when training repetition is important.

Last month I walked into the Graphics Department and I was very pleased. I walked into the pressroom and my senses came alive with the unique smells you experience in an active working pressroom. I experienced students cutting paper, running a large folder [click hyperlink to see video http://youtu.be/Ts_WgflXZRo ], not a desk top, manning the customer service counter and preparing files to print. When talking with the teachers I was aware they loved and knew printing [click hyperlink to see video http://youtu.be/V7SIYiDd484 ]. Seeing the department’s awards wall [click hyperlink to see video http://youtu.be/hFygvg7oer8 ] I was doubly aware the teachers were sharing this knowledge with the students. Unfortunately I wasn’t in Putnam, Springfield’s Vocational High School Graphic Department.

Buck Upson and I toured the Graphic’s Department at Worcester Technical High School, http://portal.techhigh.us/Pages/default.aspx. It reminded me of when I attended vocational school. The shop handles 15,000 to 20,000 print jobs per year. What an experience! Worcester, MA, should be proud!

For Springfield, MA students to have the same experience changes must be made in the Graphics department, which I am working to improve. To do so, I need assistance from parents, union officials, school committee members, Springfield MA city officials, school department members and industry leaders. Will you help? E-mail – philip.vantassel@charter.net

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Is Your Sales Representative a Solution or a Problem?

Sales representatives have a tough job especially in the printing industry. Traditional printing is shrinking for many reasons: the economy, reduced government requirements, the internet, digital and in-office print devices to name a few. Even though there are fewer printers today than before the last economic down turn, there is still plenty of print competition. For sales representative to differentiate from the competition be a solution to the procurement.

What a SOLUTION sales representative should do;

  • ListensBuyers know their company and its needs and should listen to what they say in order to see how their company can fill that need.
  • AnswersAnswer the questions you are asked. The buyer needs to verify that your company can provide the services you would be quoting.
  • Asks – Develop insightful questions for the buyer to order gain better insight in how their company can be a solution.
  • Provides Furnish what has been requested.
  • Is conscientious – Take care of all aspects of a project.
  • Shares – Knowledge and other sources the buyer could use.
  • Has integrity – When a commitment has been made, follow through with it.
  • Serves – Has a support team that works well together, pleasant, comprehensive, knowable, and timely.

What a PROBLEM sales representative will do;

  • Argumentative They try to tell the buyer what they need instead of providing solutions.
  • Doesn’t follow through Sales representatives give unfulfilled commitments.
  • Stalks After receiving a negative answer the Sales representative will keep calling, e-mailing, or mailing too frequently.
  • Circumvents Calling others in the company instead of working with through purchasing.
  • Changes the agreed upon pricing behind the buyer’s back If there are problems, they don’t tell the buyer.
  • ChargesAdd, or inflate charges which nickel and dime clients.
  • Is dishonest Make statements which are not true, such as “I’m about done with pricing” or “I have submitted pricing” when it hasn’t been.
  • Negative – A frequently used word.
  • Doesn’t share Won’t give information requested by buyer.
  • Only “ME” StatementsYou can only get the product from me.
  • Lacks respectWalks into buyer’s office without calling and asking first.
  • Divides and conquersAfter bid has been awarded, shares lower pricing with other stakeholders.
  • Lacks integrityRequests to be included in Request for Proposal [RFP], and commits to participating through the first round of evaluation, and doesn’t.

Are your sales representatives a solution or a problem?

May I assist with any procurement or printing questions? I may be reached at philip.vantassel@charter.net

A White Washed Print Shop

Have you been somewhere and the print shop was neat but something was missing? I have. I need to take you back to a previous visit of that print shop. During this visit the shop floor was a mess and un-kept. Rags were lying around instead of put away neatly. The folder was used as a shelf instead of folding printing. A glue brush, still with glue, lay on a bunched up rag on a table. A mobile rack had rags in numerous areas, as well as an inked plate, and a kinked plate lying on another shelf.

Would you give printing to a print shop like that? You would be probably thinking, “will they be able to produce my job correctly, or will it be a mess like their shop?” I mentioned to key individuals associated with the print shop, how messy the shop floor was, along with other matters of concern. Fast forward in time to a meeting which a senior manager, from the messy shop, and I attended. We talked for a few minutes and the shops appearance came up in the discussion. The senior manager enthusiastically mentioned how the shop had been transformed and offered a tour.

I took the manager’s offer to tour the print shop. During the tour I could see that the shop looked much neater, however it was more of a white wash. A white wash per TheFreeDictionary is:” Concealment or palliation of flaws or failures.” The following are the reasons for my statement:
1. Warehouse
o No list of materials
o No location identifiers such as isles, shelving etc.

2. Press Room
o Crinkled plate was lying on a shelf
o Stacks of a previously completed job not thrown out
o Used ink knife was lying around, un-cleaned
o Rags were laying around

Do you believe I am being too harsh? Please tell me what your opinion is. Would you send your work there? Hopefully the manager has taken my comments and is the process of improving their facility. I look forward to seeing the improved transformation.

Graphics-Printing Education

Is your vocational school’s graphics department teaching digital technology? I am talking about printers like HP Indigo, large format printers or rotary/digital cutters. This is one area where printing is growing and students need to be familiar with the technology. Please review the following article.

News: Labels and screenprint march toward digital as major printers buy HP – ProPrint

via News: Labels and screenprint march toward digital as major printers buy HP – ProPrint.

Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno

Last Thursday night Roger L. Putnam Vocational-Technical Academy hosted a General Advisory Council [GAC] meeting where chairs of all Program Advisory Committees [PAC’s] for vocational shops attended along with shop department heads, leadership from the Roger L. Putnam Technical Fund, School Committee members, Springfield School Superintendent, Daniel J. Warwick, and Head of the Teachers Union to name a few.

Several shop Heads gave speeches recognizing students in their shop program. The principal, Mr. Gil Traverso, gave a speech and so did the Mayor of Springfield, Domenic Sarno. Mayor Sarno shared that the media wasn’t in attendance and charged those in attendance to share the positive about what was happening at Putnam.

So Mayor Sarno is the genesis of this blog, doing my part, sharing some of the positive of Roger L. Putnam Vocational-Technical Academy.
1. The new Putnam School building is incredible and if you have a chance you should take a tour.
2. The students in the Putnam Music program provided excellent song for those in attendance.
3. The highlight of the night was the Culinary Arts department which provided excellent food and service. In fact, the Culinary Arts department is open for lunch most days when school is in session, so stop in for a meal.

Since I graduated from the Putnam print shop in 1977, my next blog will discuss Graphics, my personal favorite.

Putnam’s Mission:
Is to provide a world class academic and technical education that will prepare all students for post-secondary success in the global marketplace.

Putnam graduates will continue to be lifelong learners and productive, responsible citizens. http://www.putnamacademy.com/

Springfield School’s Mission: To provide the highest quality of education so that all of our students are empowered to realize their full potential and lead fulfilling lives as lifelong learners, responsible citizens and leaders in the 21st Century. http://www.sps.springfield.ma.us/AboutOurDistrict.asp

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