Municipal Shop Transitions to a Digital MindsetFebruary 2014 By Chris Bauer
When Kristofer Russell arrived at the in-plant for the City of Oklahoma City a few years ago, he knew he needed to make changes to not only the equipment languishing in the shop, but also the old-school mindset of many customers and employees.
"I come from a fast-paced, digital background," explains Russell, print shop manager. "I took over for someone who was here for 35 years and was a former pressman who worked his way up."
Russell wanted to switch from producing long offset runs to quick turnaround, small- to moderate-sized jobs. This, he contended, would save the municipality time, materials and money.
"At first it was hard to get people sold on it," he admits. "But once we got started, instead of seeing two week turnarounds, we are getting one or two day turnarounds. And instead of customers ordering 50,000 of a job, now they will bring jobs of just 500."
To facilitate this move to on-demand printing, the in-plant installed a 23˝ Challenge Titan 230 cutter in October.
"We were replacing an older, much larger Procut machine that probably could have anchored a battleship," Russell says with a laugh. "Procut had gone out of business, parts were becoming hard to find, and we didn't have a use for it anymore."
Russell was familiar with Challenge equipment from his previous stints in commercial printing environments and was impressed with the Titan 230's compact, space-saving design.
"I like the foot clamp, and I love the software," he points out, noting that he needed a machine that would be easy for new employees with no bindery experience to operate. "It is very accurate and very user friendly."
Russell was also sold on the Titan 230's safety features, confiding that on the shop's old machine, employees were able to rig the cutter to bypass some of the safety features.
"This one, there is just no way around it," he reports. "You cannot bypass anything. If their hands are in there, it doesn't work."
The shop has also added a Duplo DF-1000 folder to the mix, replacing an older Baum pile folder. Russell says this has allowed the shop to quickly set up short-run folding jobs.
A Fujipla Al-Meister ALM3220 automated laminator now easily laminates covers, cards and bookmarks for the shop's customers. Russell has also brought in a Rhino-Tuff HD-7700 punch and a Graphic Whizard automatic creaser.
The result of the in-plant's changed attitude and new equipment installations, Russell reports, has been a decrease in turnaround times, more satisfied customers and an increase in the shop's budget for next fiscal year.