Archive for the ‘Operations’ Category

The Choice is Yours… Deciding Where to Buy Printing

May 31, 2010

Once upon a time there were relatively few places that a business, organization, or individual could go to buy printing. General commercial printers, as we were known back then, had large, noisy printing presses best suited to areas zoned for manufacturing and away from retail centers.

Technology changed that in the 1970s when small, clean presses and photo direct plate makers gave birth to the quick print segment of the printing industry. Quick printers could operate in a 2000 square foot retail storefront, readily visible from the street. Another shift in technology added copiers, then digital output devices that eliminated the need for chemicals to process press plates and run the presses. Now printing could be done in an environment less like a factory and more like an office.

Digital technology also enabled printers to expand their offerings beyond offset printing to include high speed digital printing (color and black and white), large format graphics, posters, banners, signs, and even mailing services – a complete range of services needed by businesses and organizations to communicate, market, and sell.

PDF in Print. File Submission Made Easy

May 24, 2010

Regular readers of Printips know that over the years we’ve consistently recommended PDF as the file format of choice for printed documents. We were early adopters because of the significant benefits to our customers that extended beyond print to data exchange, archiving, and publishing on the Internet. Because of these benefits, PDF is now firmly established as the worldwide standard for many diverse applications.

Do It Yourself Printing… Pluses and Pitfalls

May 23, 2010

Once upon a time, printing equipment was big, noisy, dirty, expensive, hard to operate, and therefore impractical for most businesses to own. When copies of documents were needed, they were made using carbon paper or mimeograph and ditto machines.

Things began to change in 1959 with the introduction of the first plain paper copier – the Xerox 914 – and continued with the invention of laser printers, color copiers, and desktop publishing systems. Today’s modern office couldn’t operate efficiently without its desktop laser printers and copy machines.

So does all this internal printing capability mean that it is faster, better, or cheaper to “do it yourself” rather than having a commercial printer do the work? Or are there some overlooked costs and other issues that should be considered? In this issue of Printips we’ll explore these topics.

Helping You Help Us… A Guide to Print Specifications

May 18, 2010

Consistency. This is our aim as we work on each order you place with us. The same paper, the same colors, the same fold, the same binding, each order matching all previous ones. We think you’ll agree that we’re pretty good at it. So how do we achieve this consistency from order to order? By following the same set of specifications each time we do the job.

Specifications are a way to describe unambiguously how the finished order should appear and can include the smallest detail (such as how the order is to be packaged and shipped). As printers, specifications are as important to us as a set of plans is to a building contractor. In fact, at TechneGraphics, our production manager reviews the specifications on every order to be sure they are clear, understandable, and unambiguous. If anything is missing or in question, the order is not placed into production until the specifications are perfect.

Sticking Together… Useful Facts About Labels

May 15, 2010

Whether you use them for product identification or shipping, for security or promotion, or for any other use, labels are a part of every business’s inventory of printed items. The earliest use of labels was for product identification; uses now include a wide range of applications across many industries.

We’ll begin our discussion of labels with a semantics question: what is the difference between a label, a sticker, and a decal? Since many people use the terms interchangeably, we think there’s no obvious answer beyond common usage.

• When adhered to a product (such as a soup can or a piece of fruit) as a means of identifying or providing information about the product, we most often refer to the item as a label.

• When affixed to something (the bumper of a car, the front of a package, or a voter leaving the polls) in order to call attention to what is written on it, we refer to the item as a sticker.

• When the item can be moved from one surface (the substrate it is printed on) to another (a window, a model airplane,), usually with the aid of heat or water, we refer to the item as a decal.

Use Our Print Tips to Manage Your Printing Cost

May 14, 2010

If you regularly buy printing for your company or organization, you likely have a budget to meet. Whether you are ordering business stationery, functional forms and documents, or image pieces for sales and marketing, you always want to be sure you are managing the budget to get the most for your money.

We hope you won’t be surprised to learn that we have the same objective – to be sure the printed materials we provide to you are produced on time, on budget, and looking exactly as you expected. Making this happen requires a partnership between us, and in this issue, we’re going to explore some ways to ensure consistent and dependable pricing.

How Digital Printing Works

May 1, 2010

Glance around your desk. Chances are you’ve got a desktop laser printer or inkjet printer nearby your computer for making prints from the document files you or others create. These printers, so ubiquitous today, revolutionized the printing industry twenty years ago by giving us other ways besides offset printing to reproduce documents.

In the early days it was relatively easy to determine whether a document had been printed using an offset press or a copier. But as digital printing technology improved and quality reached offset level, it became clear that digital printing augmented and expanded the demand for printing in general.

Today the major difference between offset and digital printing lies in what each can be used for, and the specific situations when one technology offers an advantage over the other.

The Desktop Toolbox

April 23, 2010

The term desktop publishing is generally agreed to have been coined in 1985 by Paul Brainerd, founder of Aldus Corporation, following the development of Aldus PageMaker (later purchased by Adobe). In its original usage, desktop publishing meant the ability of one person to use a computer to perform what had previously been many separate functions – design, typesetting, pasteup, and preparation of camera ready artwork. Thus desktop publishing combined several disciplines (graphic design, writing, editing, typography, and page composition) into one.

Word processing, a term invented by IBM in the 1960s, predates desktop publishing by more than a decade. Early word processors were typewriters with some form of electronic editing and correction capability; later machines incorporated CRT screens (as exemplified by the Wang word processor). Eventually, dedicated word processing equipment was replaced by software applications running on personal computers. The most popular word processing program in use today is Microsoft Word.

Simplifing Print Ordering

April 21, 2010

Which kind of print buyer are you?

Print buyer #1: your job description includes buying printing; printing is an integral part of your company’s product or service; printed materials facilitate your company’s processes; printed materials are essential to sales and marketing; part of your annual performance evaluation includes how well you manage the printing.

Print buyer #2: your job description doesn’t have anything to do with printing; buying printing is a nuisance, an annoyance, or both; your company always seems to be running out of things, forcing you to place rush orders or beg for fast delivery; you were designated the print buyer for no particular reason.

As different as these descriptions are, they do have something in common: when the printing doesn’t show up at the right time, or if there’s a problem with it, the print buyer suffers.

If you’ve been our customer for a while, you know that we are unusually sensitive to your situation and have designed our entire company around being dependable – delivering what you order on time, without error, and at the agreed upon price. You also know that we can’t do our job properly without your help. So in this issue of Printips we will cover some ways to make print buying easier for you.

Imagine the Possibilities…Partnering with your Printer

April 18, 2010

You may not realize that our printing business was founded in 1985. In that 25 year period, we’ve had the chance to work with hundreds of customers ranging from those whose primary job is to buy or manage printing to those who rarely need to place an order. We’ve had our share of miraculous saves – those awe-inspiring times when despite an impossible deadline and less than optimal manufacturing circumstances, the job gets done and done right. We’ve also had a few misses, where no matter how hard we tried, things just kept going wrong.

We expect you’ve had the same range of experiences – those times when you felt immense gratitude to your printer for a job well done, as well as those times when despite everyone’s best intentions, the job was a disappointment. In this issue of Printips, we’re going to share our observations gleaned from 25 years of business transactions on the best way to be totally satisfied with your printer.