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Alcom Expands its Capabilities with Canon Solutions America

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Press release from the issuing company

Canon Solutions America, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Canon U.S.A., Inc., today announced that Alcom Printing Group Inc., a leading provider of integrated print, direct mail marketing, and business development solutions, has installed three Océ VarioPrint® 6320+ digital monochrome presses, part of the Océ VarioPrint 6000+ series.

Based in Harleysville, Pennsylvania, Alcom has a proud 68-year history of meeting—and exceeding—clients’ expectations by staying on pace with their ever-changing needs. Boasting a full arsenal of equipment, including both web and sheeted offset, digital color, digital black-and-white cutsheet, wide format printing, direct mail, and fulfillment, Alcom strives to provide a true customer-centric solution, as illustrated by their tagline “YES is the answer!...Now what’s the question?” Listening to their clients and helping them achieve their goals is another core piece of Alcom’s business solution.

Following the economic turndown of 2008, Alcom made the conscious decision to grow its business organically through a series of strategic acquisitions that expanded its offerings to better meet clients’ needs. In just over a year, Alcom acquired two separate firms. As a result, it gained the ability to serve a number of new markets, including wide format, branded promotional items, and claims administration bulk check printing. In particular, the addition of wide format capabilities gave Alcom the ability to print on a wide range of substrates, including window clings, wallpaper, glass, wood, banners, signs, corporate wall art, floor graphics, ceiling tiles, and other materials. Its customers gained the benefits of greater customization and quicker turnaround. 

Capacity Challenges
Over the past decade, Alcom has seen its digital business grow “by leaps and bounds,” according to Douglas Yeager, assistant chairman and CEO, Alcom. Much of that business has come in the form of print-on-demand for franchises, as well as in proxies and annual reports for financial organizations and product marketing materials for the pharmaceutical industry. Keeping up with that demand was tough, and Alcom recognized the need to acquire new equipment that would meet two primary goals: better reliability and increased capacity.  

“We were growing at a high rate of speed revenue-wise and number-of-jobs-wise,” says William Kuplen, president, Alcom. “We did not have enough capacity because our equipment didn’t have a very good uptime and could not produce enough volume to meet customers’ needs.” 

With the guidance of their Canon Solutions America print production sales team, Alcom management identified the Océ VarioPrint 6320TP monochrome press as a prime contender. According to Francis A. McMahon, vice president, Marketing, Production Print Solutions division of Canon Solutions America, VarioPrint 6000+ series presses are a great choice for a company like Alcom because they are designed to meet a wide range of requirements.

“Today’s print providers increasingly serve as one-stop shops, serving a multitude of needs and printing a wide array of materials,” said McMahon. “The versatility of the Océ VarioPrint 6000 Ultra+ series gives them the ability to expand their services and enter new markets, while producing offset-like quality at a cost-effective price.” 

Digital Duke-Out
Kuplen and Yeager agreed to a 30-day on-floor trial, during which the VarioPrint 6320TP went head-to-head with one of Alcom’s current vendors’ digital monochrome presses. 

“What really opened our eyes was having that demo sitting on the floor and really testing its capabilities,” said Yeager. “We threw everything we could at it and it responded very well.” 

At the end of the 30-day trial, Yeager asked the operator to give him a list of pros and cons for each machine. With a mile-long list of pros, the VarioPrint emerged the clear winner. Alcom invested in not one, but three VarioPrint 6320TP presses. 

Over the course of several weeks, Canon Solutions America representatives worked alongside Alcom staff, transitioning in the three VarioPrint presses, while transitioning out two existing presses. The two companies ensured that a high level of production was maintained throughout the implementation. Yeager and Kuplen immediately recognized numerous advantages in the form of uptime, speed, print quality, and reliability, along with the ability to print on both sides simultaneously. Perhaps most impressive was the VarioPrint’s ability to keep up with Alcom’s increasing demand. No longer did the company find itself needing to outsource jobs to meet deadlines.

Perfect Partners
Looking forward, Alcom is looking not only at making more strategic acquisitions, but also at purchasing more equipment to expand its potential offerings to possibly include continuous feed laser and inkjet. Wherever the future takes Alcom, Yeager is confident its future will be bright with Canon Solutions America by its side. 

“For us, it’s not just about machinery, it’s about partnerships and having a partner that understands our business,” said Yeager. “Canon Solutions America has demonstrated its willingness to meet with us as our business changes or grows and make the right recommendations as we continue to transition our business.”


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