VALHALLA, N.Y. (November 22, 2005) – With the beginning of each new school year, millions of school children across the country create memories during the year, anticipating next spring’s tradition of putting their pens to friends’ yearbooks, commenting on the year past, memorializing important achievements and promising to be “friends forever.”
For those students, the yearbooks will serve as a documentary of the year, preserving the memories that will become their history. For Lifetouch, Inc., a company that specializes in children and family portraits, school photography and printed and multimedia memories, those memories also serve as inspiration for employee careers.
Lifetouch Publishing, a wholly owned subsidiary of Lifetouch, Inc., produces yearbooks for elementary, middle and high schools across the country as well as for a number of colleges and universities and takes the job very seriously. There is, perhaps, no greater pressure in the commercial printing industry. As a result, the production staff at Lifetouch trusts only the very best technologies and equipment to help them not only preserve memories of millions of students, but also meet the demand of thousands of yearbook accounts each and every year.
Lifetouch Publishing leads the yearbook market in leveraging online technology for building yearbooks, enabling their school customers and yearbook staffs to monitor the progress of their yearbook pages anytime, anywhere. Their online technologies enhance the customer experience through their sophisticated photo organization and management systems and their yearbook project management tools.
Karen Adamson, vice president of marketing for Lifetouch Publishing, says, “As the leading provider of elementary school yearbooks for the past 12 years, we leveraged our leadership and experience to move aggressively into the high school yearbook market and have made extensive investments in our manufacturing facilities to support our strategies for growth and differentiation of the customer experience and final product quality.”
In order to meet these demands, Lifetouch recently turned to Fujifilm for a solution, installing three of the manufacturer’s Saber Luxel Vx-9600 violet laser platesetters. Glenn Bottomly, Lifetouch’s senior director for manufacturing, cited reliability as the main reason for the equipment selection. “We chose the Fujifilm Saber violet laser platesetters in our Kansas City facility because our customers have entrusted us with reproducing their valuable school memories and they expect consistent high quality output year after year.” Bottomly continued, “With our heavily seasonal business and schools depending on us to deliver their yearbooks by the end of the school year, we needed a platesetting solution that could keep up with the demanding output schedule with maximum uptime and dependability.”
Fujifilm’s Saber Luxel Vx-9600 violet laser platesetter offers a speedy output of 37 8-up plates per hour at 2,400 dpi, allowing Lifetouch’s prepress department to meet its demands. The Fujifilm Saber also takes advantage of the company’s patented acousto-optic deflector (AOD) laser technology for superior imaging. Saber’s multi-laser system is upgradeable on-site and features built-in redundancy in an effort to minimize downtime and maximize throughput.
Lifetouch selected the fully automatic devices, enabling the company’s prepress department to take advantage of Saber’s ability to support up to five cassettes. Each cassette holds 60 plates and the Saber features automatic cassette identification as well as auto interleaf removal.
Throughout all of the Lifetouch companies, there is a strong commitment to implement new technologies in order to maintain the highest standards of excellence and efficiency. Mike Blair, vice president of finance, says that Lifetouch has high standards for the vendor partners they select. “The significant investments we make in our manufacturing equipment must enable us to gain efficiencies that will ultimately result in enhanced customer retention and maintaining our profit margins so that we can continue to invest in our growth strategies,” says Blair. Additionally, this commitment has helped Lifetouch Publishing become a leading provider of school yearbooks nationwide.
The commitment for Lifetouch to lead the yearbook market is evident in their investments in the latest technologies, both for their customer experience and in their manufacturing facilities. “We are producing some of the highest-quality yearbooks anyone has ever seen,” says Bottomly. “Our customers are validating our strategic direction and are clearly noticing the higher quality we’re able to achieve compared to our competitors.”
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