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Schmidt Printing's Marty McQuiston on learning digital and what a project manager does

Published on October 3, 2012

Cary Sherburne speaks with Marty McQuiston, Senior Project Manager at Schmidt Printing in Minnesota and learns a bit about the company and their specialty in versioning. We get an insight into their digital technologies and what a project manager does.

Cary Sherburne: Hi. I’m Cary Sherburne, Senior Editor at WhatTheyThink.com and I'm here with Marty McQuiston who is Senior Project Manager at Schmidt, print solutions that deliver, and you are a Taylor company.

Marty McQuiston: That’s correct.

Cary Sherburne: That’s great. And you’re in Minnesota?

Marty McQuiston: Yeah.

Cary Sherburne: And maybe you could start by just telling us a little bit about your division of Taylor and, you know, how many employees you have, a little of the history, that kind of thing.

Marty McQuiston: Well, we’re the primary web printer for the Taylor group and so we do a lot of commercial print. One of our major specialties is multi-version jobs. So we may take an order from a customer that has like a fairly common form and then do imposition imprints into that form, date changes, codes, and then we distribute those to multiple destinations, sometimes in the thousands.

Cary Sherburne: And what are you doing in terms of implementing digital technologies?

Marty McQuiston: We have a digital Indigo, HP Indigo, a web press, and we’re working really hard with variable data solutions for our customers. And, you know, it’s fairly new to our business, but we’re learning and growing as much and as fast as possible.

Cary Sherburne: So as a project—senior project manager there, what do you do on a daily basis, besides run around like a crazy person, right?

Marty McQuiston: Yeah. Well, I usually have people come to me with problems and we try to create solutions for them, whether it’s software related; a lot of times we find our stuff is process related. So then we kind of get the right people together and go through the processes and try to streamline them, and eliminate touch points and waste, and that kind of thing.

Cary Sherburne: Yeah. And that’s a good point you bring up because once you start introducing the digital into it, or even the shorter runs on web, because web presses are becoming more efficient as well; you know, you’ve got a whole different problem with trying to run lower-cost, faster-turn, shorter-run jobs through the business. So maybe instead of doing one or two jobs a day, you’re doing 50 or 60.

Marty McQuiston: Yeah, absolutely. And we’ve done our best to try to, you know, gang-like type of works, and we use PrintFlow to try to line up work the best possible way and streamline those; try to eliminate the switchovers in the production plant and gather up the right amount of work and line it up properly for them.

Cary Sherburne: So what do you think is going to be the next big thing for Schmidt?

Marty McQuiston: Well, we really are going through a phase right now where we’re trying to get back to our basics. And one market that we were really good at, and as the market changed we tried to be everything to everybody, but the one thing we really want to get back to is we produce a pack, it’s a card pack and so it’s a collection of advertisers and its distributed mail list. And we’re really, you know, the industry leaders in that area, and so we’re working hard to get more personalization into those markets and try to randomize some of the advertisers and stuff.

Cary Sherburne: So based on demographics and things like that.

Marty McQuiston: Yeah, absolutely, yeah. So we have a couple of our collator lines are already set up to fire at will and do specific randomization or specific things that we would want for that. Sometimes customers just want a complete mix and they want no rhyme or reason to it, and other times they want very specifics targeted. So we’re trying to recapture both of those markets.

Cary Sherburne: And in terms of—so you’re inserting into envelopes. Have you looked into any of the solutions that actually fold the envelopes around it automatically?

Marty McQuiston: Not production-wise. Our account managers work with some of our strategic Taylor partners that their core competency is converting and making those things. And, you know, at this time we haven’t actually brought that in-house, but there could be a time for that.

Cary Sherburne: Yeah. That looks like maybe that’s another next step for you too. That’s terrific. Well, thank you.

Marty McQuiston: Yeah. Thank you.

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