A Stitch In TimeMay 2003
by Mike Llewellyn
"IN-PLANTS, LIKE every business, are being challenged to do more with less," says Mark Hunt, director of marketing for Standard Finishing Systems.
But unlike other businesses, Hunt believes, in-plants have a more reliable stream of internal work feeding them. To vendors of finishing equipment, this makes in-plants the ideal customers in slow economic times.
"In-plants are extremely important," Hunt continues. "In-plants have always been important, but especially in difficult times because they have their own internal source of jobs."
And because they are so important to equipment vendors, he says, many vendors are willing to bend over backwards right now to satisfy the needs of an in-plant operation.
Not a bad position for an in-plant manager to be in.
Saddle stitchers are one of the most popular pieces of equipment in in-plants. Some 83 percent have them, according to IPG survey data.
Though some in-plants are feeling the pinch just as much as commercial printers, most manufacturers are hoping to prove saddle stitching is important enough as a time- and resource-saving investment that managers will agree to buy, even now.
Bill Gross is manager for Xerox's finishing programs and marketing partners. He sheds light on the importance of saddle-stitching to the industry this way:
Variable Data Stitching?
Carmine Festa, product manager for Muller Martini's line of finishing equipment, admits saddle stitching is an area that will see continual improvement, but no major "revolutions" in the next few years.
"Two years from now it will be the same trend. Everybody's looking for faster speeds and faster makereadies," he says.
However, Festa says there are some great new ideas to look out for, particularly when it comes to binding variable data output.
"Right now we're looking into selective binding, or demographic binding—producing a book or a magazine to do target marketing," he reveals.
He explains that just as a digital printer can output pages with varying content, he expects to see a proliferation of saddle stitchers that up the ante by producing books with varying pages. The advertising industry, he says, will be the key target for such a machine.
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