Excell Color Graphics Trades Frustration for Heidelberg Single-Source Advantage
Tuesday, August 28, 2012
Press release from the issuing company
By January 2012, Excell Color Graphics [Fort Wayne, IN) had reached a point where management felt that despite the company’s excellent reputation and business success, it was high time for a change.
“We felt that technology had passed us by and that we soon would be struggling to keep up with the rest of the industry,” said Tom Parrot, president and part owner. “Our newest press was a 1997 model, and our customers had begun to push us to shorten our delivery times and keep costs down. We were doing very well despite our shortcomings at that point, but we didn’t think we’d be able to sustain that momentum. It clearly was time for us to step up and upgrade our offset capacity and workflow.”
Good-bye to the Runaround
There were some issues to resolve before selecting a new press, however. The company had never received a very high level of support from its former sheetfed vendor, and was looking to rectify that situation, in part, by simplifying its supplier relationships.
“We’d spent years pleading for advice and support, and we were tired of unproductive vendor meetings and the endless finger-pointing among our various suppliers,” Parrot said. “As soon as we became aware of Heidelberg’s unique ability to become our single-source supplier, we were more than eager to take advantage of the opportunity.”
The company has pushed hard over the past seven months to update its operation with all-new Heidelberg technology, and to exercise that valuable single-source advantage.
Makeready Shop Makes Good
Excell’s journey began with the installation of a 6-color Speedmaster XL 105 in March, along with Prinect Prepress Manager prepress workflow “to drive the XL 105 properly,” Parrot said. “It’s amazing how fast we’ve been able to drive down our labor and material costs since we installed the new press.”
For the self-described “makeready shop” whose sweet spot are short-to-medium run length jobs, makereadies are down from one-and-one-half hours to 15 minutes versus the competitive 40” press it removed to make way for the XL 105, and up to saleable color in 200 sheets or less, down from 1000 on the older machine. Overtime, which once averaged 20 hours per operator per week, is suddenly a thing of the past.
The company uses a Suprasetter CtP device to burn plates for the new, Peak Performance press. Prinect Prepress Manager workflow also helps the former prepress bureau-turned-commercial printer to standardize the input of customer files.
Another area where the company has sought to standardize is its consumables usage. With the installation of the new XL 105, it now uses Heidelberg Saphira consumables exclusively, including Saphira plates and pressroom supplies.
“What a relief,” Parrot said. “We no longer have to struggle with how everything works together. Instead of sorting through competing vendor claims, we can relax and enjoy the peace of mind that comes from knowing that the combination of Saphira consumables and Heidelberg expertise will help us stabilize production. It’s all of a piece, reflecting the level of expertise and commitment that Heidelberg provides. And support is just a phone call away if we need it.”
The company is in the process of installing Heidelberg’s new Prinect Business Manager MIS, and Parrot is eager to experience its full implementation. “I’m looking forward to real-time feedback from Prinect Business Manager to help us understand where our volume is coming from,” he said. “We also operate a Kodak Nexpress, a Xerox 800 digital color press, and a Fuji Acuity wide-format, flatbed inkjet device. My sense is that we’re doing about 65-70 percent sheetfed offset, but I’d like to have more accurate information about volume, job costing, and other data. We’re going to start doing shop floor data collection with Prinect Business Manager by the Graph Expo rolls around,” he added, “So things are moving right along. We’ll be a ‘Prinect power user’ one day. I’m looking forward to that.”
All This and Profit, Too
Already a dominant player in the Fort Wayne area, where it serves a variety of manufacturing, insurance and financial firms, as well as ad agencies, Excell is feeling confident enough these days to consider expanding into the statewide and regional marketplace.
In the meantime, Excell Color Graphics is relishing the first fruits of the upgrade it launched earlier in the year. ”We’ve done well in these crazy times, and we had a great reputation to start with,” Parrot acknowledged. “But there’s no doubt in my mind that Heidelberg equipment, workflow and consumables will make it easier for us to stay on top.” With these new efficiencies in place, however, “Now we can satisfy our customers and make money,” he quipped.
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