Big Lots Gets Big Overhaul
The timing may have been fortunate, but that was not quite a ticket to easy street. With the DocuTech, the two A.B.Dick presses, the folder and the cutter all arriving in April of 2003, and the collator less than a year prior, the inevitable growing pains ensued. To help, Layman added a fourth full-time employee to her print shop staff, which also includes two to five people who rotate in from other departments.
"Everyone was very comfortable after years of operating the same equipment, very predictably, week after week," Layman notes. "Everybody was excited about [the changes], but it took a lot, moving to an all-electronic environment where we're dealing almost exclusively with electronic files. We still deal with some hard copy, but most of it is now all electronic, taking it off the network, dealing with the exactness of the equipment we're working with and just understanding all of the various steps that it required, particularly on the four-color press, to get the registration correct.
"From getting the plates on correctly, making the plates, laying down the color correctly…it was just a lot to know and be able to do it in a short time frame," she adds. "We've tried to develop a niche, and we've defined that niche as small- to medium-run, on-demand printing, from one to four colors. That was quite a lot to wrap our heads around."
The computer-to-plate system was particularly challenging and provided arguably the height of the learning curve. Layman's senior press operator would not let her do away with the old platemaker, either, though after nearly a year, the old system is gathering dust. Not that the plate department is going at full speed, but Layman feels her team is learning new tricks every day and finds the DPM2340 to be a tremendous labor-saving tool.