Put the Finishing Touches on Print Sales
Martin pointed out that even though there are hundreds of products available in standard sizes and designs, manufacturers and end-users may go with an odd size or non-standard features as a strategy to gain a market advantage. The customer with the 3.4˝ gift certificate, for example, is someone who wanted to lock up future orders for the product. "The original manufacturer made it an odd size and probably invested in a special perforation cylinder to do it, knowing that others wouldn't have this capability," he said.
Martin also noted that pack-to-pack printers often process their paper into the format of a continuous business form well in advance of running a particular job. "If that job requires a special perforation or file hole pattern, it will have to be run offline," Martin commented. "Offline processing is much more common in pack-to-pack forms production than it is in roll forms production."
Unlike the processing options available on web offset printing presses that enable most jobs to be processed inline, Martin observed that digital presses often don't contain any integrated processing. "Here, all mechanical treatments of the web are done by offline machines linked either electronically or by web-sensing devises, particularly for on-demand printing."
Facts of the Matter
While post-press processing may be handled differently in various manufacturing environments, all suppliers remain dependent upon distributors to communicate accurate job specs.
Speaking on behalf of the production and estimating group at Illinois-based Chicago Tag & Label, Marketing Manager Judy Jacobs noted that although finishing options are a necessary part of a product's design and function, they also add value when the application is taken into consideration. "Distributors are becoming much more diligent in gathering information about their customers' needs and communicating it to us," she said. "We'll partner with distributors and go with them to meet with the customers to evaluate their processes. We can then determine what options are available and design the best possible solution to meet the application."