Study Marks Trends in Preflighting Procedures and Pricing
Wednesday, October 17, 2001
Pittsburgh, Pa., October 17, 2001 — Following up on a study published in early 2000 on preflighting policies, a new study using the same questionnaire is now available to determine procedure and pricing trends among printing facilities, prepress companies, and service bureaus. With preflight services consuming more time, how a company handles fixing preflighting problems for their customers can make the service a profitable or nonprofitable part of its business. Prepress is critical to the success of the job, but deciding whether to charge for various prepress activities can be a difficult decision for the business owner. Using the results of Chargeable vs. Nonchargeable Downtime in Electronic Prepress, 2001 Edition, prepress management can compare their current policies and pricing practices to other printers and prepress organizations. Among numerous trends, the study reports that the number of companies charging for preflighting is increasing. The previous study showed 27.8 percent of respondents charged separately for preflighting compared to 36.1 in the current study. The study also shows that more general commercial printers and larger printers are charging separately for preflighting, but fewer prepress/service bureaus are charging separately. "Not surprisingly, prepress houses and service bureaus, along with larger printers, are much less likely to provide services without charging for those services," said Deanna Gentile, manager of the Electronic Prepress Section (EPS) and author of the report. The study was commissioned by the EPS, a special section of GATF/PIA whose members are printers with prepress operations, prepress companies, and service bureaus. The purpose of the section is two-fold: to assist production management in their decision making process and daily operations and to assist top management in conducting their business more profitably. Gentile continued, "Small and mid-size printers need to develop the same type of policies, procedures, and charging or billing strategies that are currently being used by others in the industry so they can be profitable. In the current economic conditions, giving away services to get printing jobs will not help the bottom line. Chargeable vs. Nonchargeable Downtime will assist all printers in setting policies for managing electronic prepress as a profitable area of business and support their decisions." The previous study consisted of 26 survey questions on client training, system maintenance at the client site, archiving, and retrieval of archived materials, and fixing "easy" preflighting problems (e.g., converting RGB to CMYK, missing fonts, correcting obvious typos, trapping, converting spot color to process color, etc.). The current study included all previous questions, allowing a look at trends, and added questions about digital proofing and computer-to-plate pricing and efficiencies. Demographic information allows readers to compare their operations with others by numbers of total employees and prepress employees, types of printing facility, and geographical region. In the current study 98 useable surveys were returned from EPS members—a 28 percent response rate. Similar in the previous study, the majority of respondents, 73 percent, were employed by general commercial printers, while another 14 percent were employed by a prepress company or service bureau. Over 50 percent worked at companies with 21-100 employees. Chargeable vs. Nonchargeable Downtime in Electronic Prepress, 2001 Edition (ISBN 0-88362-351-X) is available for $50 ($25 for GATF/PIA members), not including shipping. Methodology is described in the 40-page booklet. Orders may be placed by contacting GATF by phone at 800/662-3916 (U.S. and Canada) or 412/741-5733 (all other countries); fax at 412/741-0609; or online at www.gain.net. Mail orders to GATF Products, P.O. Box 1020, Sewickley, PA 15143-1020. Indicate Order No. 13042.