Printing and Purchasing

Posts tagged ‘choosing a printer’

Layouts a Key Element in a Job Bag

Have you ever been on a trip and got lost? If you have, maybe it’s because there was no trip ticket, map or Garmin showing which roads and exits to take. With a printing project there also must be directions to layout, print, and finish the printing project. This direction is provided via the job layout [map]. For every printed component included in the Job Bag there is a layout for each component. Each layout can have one or multiple components.

Layouts have many components. The following are several main or key components:

  • Substrate size
  • Press
  • Gripper
  • Side guide
  • Bleed
  • Gaps
  • Reverse images
  • Take-off bars
  • Folds
  • Grain direction
  • How the sheet is backed up
  • Form number[s]
  • Head direction
  • Items keyed to job bag listing
  • Job number
  • Customer
  • Other

The information provided on the layout should provide production workers with all the necessary information to produce each component of the customer’s project successfully. Calls or questions concerning a form are usually the result of incomplete or inaccurate instructions.

Within the last year, I was in a print shop and they had printed a poster. I didn’t review the layout. However, it was clearly apparent that there was no layout for the project. How can pre-press accept a project without a layout? Without a layout how will the Mac operator know if the image files provide adequate image for bleeds? How will imposition know where and in what direction to place the images in the plate file, or If there are images missing or where to place the crop marks? How will quality assurance verify a press rule-up if there is no layout? The odds are there is no quality assurance in this print shop, or knowledgeable print professionals!

If the layout isn’t complete it is up to the pre-press manager to stop the job or be provided a correct layout. If the pre-press manager is allowing incorrect or incomplete layouts to enter into production, corrective action should be taken. The old adage is true, “you can pay me now or pay me later” [YouTube video Link http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=aq3wL8ZXjBU] and later is always more expensive.

Print buyers, when touring a printing company, should look for a project’s corresponding layout. If you have a project being worked on, ask to see a job bag, and then review it for completeness and accuracy of information. As a print buyer, if at all possible, provide all the information concerning the project when the print order is placed with the print sales representative. During my years in printing, one of the best ways to minimize cost was to insure the layout answered all questions which will minimize added work or extra steps for production.

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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.

Why Companies should update their Client Addresses after Mailings.

Last week at the Post Office, a customer was picking up a package.  The customer’s comments to the Post Office Representative, illustrated bewilderment as to why the vendor had delivered their order/package to the wrong address since the vendor’s monthly mailings were delivered to their home.

Assuming the vendor is using the same address file to ship the product as to send monthly mailings, there are several possible reasons the product went to the wrong address. 1] The buyer has not requested the updated NCOA information from the mailer, 2] the buyer isn’t forwarding the updated NCOA information, or 3] the updated information isn’t being applied to their client database.

When preparing an address list for mailing, mailers compare the address file to the National Change of Address [NCOA][i]. The NCOA file is updated when people or businesses notify the Post Office they are moving by completing a change of address form[ii]. The results of the NCOA comparison is two lists; A] updated addresses and B] addresses with issues, also called bad addresses. The mailer should provide the customer a list of bad addresses along with the code description[iii] explaining why the addresses are bad. It is up to the customer to decide to mail, delete or update the bad addresses. The client can pay the mailer to research the bad address or they can use verification websites like “Search Bug” and “Melissa Data”[iv].

When ordering a mailing, buyers should request the mailer provide them the NOCA corrected addresses file. The corrected and bad address lists should be forwarded to the department responsible for managing client addresses. The customer, in my example, filed a change of address with the Post Office but neglected to provide the same information to the vendor. If customers would request the updated addresses from mailers, and update their client’s addresses, the package would have been delivered to the client current address.

Please e-mail your questions, comments, or send PDF’s of printing and mailing issues to printer1@charter.net.

Thank you for your time.

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