If you have offset, what sort of challenges are you facing finding experienced press and bindery operators?
As you may be aware, there used to be several institutions in the tri state area (Minnesota, Iowa, and South Dakota) that taught the trade of press operation and those things that accompany it. In current years, many of those programs have been shut down due to lack of interest, or in some cases the instructors have retired, and a replacement could not be found. The transition to digital printing and the current generations(s) lack of interest in a “trade” could be debated also. But the fact remains that many commercial printers are either transitioning their print to digital if it is cost effective, trying to “grow their own” press operator, or in some cases, hoping to retire or sell before their operator(s) retire.
Regardless of which scenario may exist, there are somethings that a commercial printer may look at that would decrease the need for bindery or press operators, or ways in which your total overhead could be reduced.
There are several low-cost options now available for streamlining your graphics to print processes. Many graphics departments use the Adobe Creative suite for design and job assembly. If you are doing any sort of variable data work or wish to, in order to elevate your value to your end-client there are several plugins that streamline the process and deliver a print-ready product.
If you are using Fiery in your print shop, there are several pre-flight options that will save you from “going back” and re-doing your print job preparation, many times saving countless hours.
Offset or digital, where should I send the job?
If you still wrestle with the question, there are several commonsense tools that can help you make the determination. While we are all convinced, we are doing the best for our business, having someone assist in “doing the math” may be a good idea.
Click to clunk
If you are doing digital print, make it “click to clunk” without anyone touching the paper. We have assisted several commercial print shops in reducing their overhead with sometimes just the simple addition of a booklet maker and square fold trimmer. In most cases, a quick study has been done of how much time is spent doing bindery and in almost all cases, adding automation has been the lower cost option. Also, no lunch hours, vacations, or sick days for this kind of technology.
Post process innovations
Again, if you are using the Fiery product in your print shop, and you have the need for perfing, creasing, cutting business or post cards and or cutting bleeds, there is now technology that integrates into your Fiery software that allows you to automate the imposition and finishing processes by embedding bar codes and registration marks into your documents to enable finishing equipment to output a fully completed job. The automation process brings dramatic productivity gains to job preparation and finishing, saving time while minimizing waste and errors.