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Wide Open Opportunity

April 2001
Wide-format printing can add profits and a heaping helping of customer satisfaction to your operation.

by Allan Martin Kemler

RIDDLE ME this, Batman: How can an in-plant add service, increase profits and deliver a return on its investment all in just one year?

Easy. Purchase a wide-format printer. At least that's what Joe Miller and Anthony Velazquez recommend. Miller and Velazquez both manage busy in-plants and both men encourage other in-plants to look into wide-format color printing as a way to recapture lost revenue and add extra value.

Shelly"The key thing is, the color market is only going to grow," advises Miller, of Baker Printing & Graphics, in Beaver, Pa. "When people know they can get things in color, they'd much rather go that route. I think it all plays a role."

Encouraging Results

Seven years ago, when the 23-employee in-plant first got involved in wide-format printing, demand was low. But the in-plant decided it was important to keep color work in-house and maintain control of the finished product, so it sallied forth.

Since then, demand for color work has exploded. In addition to the four-color Hewlett-Packard Designjet 2500CP it started out with, the shop has also added three four-color HP 1055CMs to its arsenal, and has managed to grow wide-format sales from one percent of its total sales four years ago to seven percent for the fiscal year 2000.

However, Miller cautions, in-plants that offer wide-format printing without offering finishing services, like laminating, mounting and framing, may end up compromising the total value and profitability of the product.

"I think it's critical that you consider the whole picture, as far as the laminating, mounting and framing," contends Miller. "Because if you don't have that, then you're forced to go outside, and you lose control again. You lose cost control and turnaround time."

Two Can Play That Game

Over in midtown Manhattan, the New York University Medical Center in-plant is hopping. Ever since it added a Hewlett-Packard Designjet 2500CP three years ago, the in-plant is so busy it has to keep the printer running night and day, according to Director of Printing Services Anthony Velazquez.

Like the folks over at Baker, the NYU Printing Services department was simply trying to stem the tide of wide-format color printing streaming out the door. Once the printer was in-house, though, it not only brought the work back, Velazquez says, it made a profit too.

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