Solving Commercial Printing Puzzles
Depending on who you talk to, commercial printing can include everything from business cards and large-format, point-of-purchase displays to simple black text on white stock and four-color process images on handcrafted specialty papers. It’s almost impossible for manufacturers and distributors to anticipate the specific challenges they’ll encounter during any given project. But, with a solution-oriented “can do” attitude and the right manufacturer for the particular type of piece requested, industry professionals can be reasonably assured of customer satisfaction. The following two case studies illustrate some types of issues that can crop up when handling commercial printing, and how to resolve them.
Divide and Conquer
Sentinel Printing Company, St. Cloud, Minn., produces a job used by a world-famous manufacturer of a recreational vehicle. It consists of a 160-page, perfect-bound operator’s manual featuring black text and a four-color process glossy cover; a saddle-stitched, self-cover booklet with black text; a pre-delivery check list; a pre-delivery instruction manual; and four-color process materials advertising related apparel and vehicle add-on options.
For years, Sentinel Printing Company had been printing the individual components in large quantities of approximately 50,000 to 100,000 pieces each, packing them in cartons and then sending all of the materials out in a single delivery. “The quantities being printed were based on projected sales for the upcoming year,” explained Chuck Manthey, president. “Needless to say, the [preprinted] products took up a tremendous amount of [the end-user’s] floor space. And, overestimating sales led to problems with obsolescence and waste. At times they were projecting quantities of 5,000 to 10,000 more than w[ere] needed, and would have to... throw [them] away, since a new model comes out every year.”
As is typical in today’s marketplace, executives at the recreational vehicle company began issuing directives promoting just-in-time delivery. “They needed to reduce inventories, free up floor space and free up cash sitting in inventory,” said Manthey. Suddenly, the company only wanted product in-house for perhaps a week’s worth of operations, rather than taking delivery of all materials at one time.