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Think Patented Boosts Quality and Confidence with Taskero Universe

Press release from the issuing company

VALHALLA, N.Y. (July 21, 2008) - Think Patented has successfully evolved from a two-color printer to a full-service marketing solutions provider, experiencing double-digit growth in each of the last four years. As the company has grown, so has its confidence in its ability to deliver quality color products, thanks to its participation in Fujifilm's Color Confidence Program. The program includes consulting services that help maintain color quality in prepress, proofing and the pressroom.

"It is a complete system and network that affects every job," says Ken McNerney, president and CEO of Think Patented. "That helps us manage the color from start to finish in the proofing, plating and press processes to guarantee the quality in color correctness of each and every job."

Taking a new direction
Located in Dayton, Ohio, Think Patented is a $20 million business that has changed dramatically in the last seven years. Previously known as Patented Printing, the 28-year-old company previously provided short-run two-color printing. Then, about seven years ago it started implementing 40-inch presses and value-added services.

"We wanted to create value for our customers and not be just a commodity," says McNerney. "We ended up venturing into mailing services, fulfillment services, digital printing (both static and variable), database management and cross-media campaigns with email, personalized URLs and print. My goal when I came on board here five years ago was to take all of the existing services, along with new areas we have entered into, to create value solutions for our customers."  

McNerney bought the company about three years ago with Niels Winther and began changing the strategic direction of the company from a printer to a marketing services company. With the new direction came the new name: Think Patented. "We do not want our customers to think of us as just a printer."

Yet, as a printer, the company wanted its customers to have confidence in its ability to deliver quality color. Because the company had developed a long-term relationship with Fujifilm-it had been using their plates for more than 15 years-Think Patented adopted Fujifilm's color management program. The program began with the validation of GRACoL 6 for all presses.

Then the Fujifilm Professional Services Group installed a Fujifilm FinalProof in 2006, and applied control processes to ensure color consistency across all its devices. Now Think Patented can confidently match proofs on press.

"The combination of the FinalProof with this color management system has created a much better match from proof to final press sheet," says McNerney. "It has also created a significant improvement in our customers' confidence in our ability. The people who used to come in and do press okays do not even do that anymore because they are so comfortable with our ability to match the proof now."

"The makeready time at press has significantly dropped, as well," adds Edie Sipe, manager of the Prepress Department. "The Fujifilm Finalproof is such a stable proof."

Many jobs require that high-end critical colors for areas such as flesh tones and product shots be produced exactly. "We are now able to deliver what the customer wants in those color critical areas," says McNerney.

A proactive process
To further increase control over its color, Think Patented implemented Taskero Universe from Fujifilm several months ago. Taskero Universe ensures consistent quality throughout production processes by remotely monitoring all prepress, proofing and print devices. Fujifilm's Print Performance Team and diagnostic software monitor devices over the Internet and alert the company when problems occur.

"The benefit of the Taskero Universe system is that you have live support behind you," says McNerney. "From a monitoring standpoint, Fujifilm is looking at our production equipment and spotting variances and deviations maybe even before we do. To have the Fujifilm team behind us is a huge opportunity."

"If anything goes through the system and is out of tolerance, you know it immediately," adds Sipe. "I have the confidence that the proof the client has approved is something the pressmen can match."

Taskero Universe's ColorPath Verified component provides benchmarks, maintains records and tracks data to confirm color accuracy. "We have benchmarks that we have set up on different substrates," explains Sipe. "One of our operators was selecting the wrong benchmark for a proof he was trying to read. As a result, the verification was failing. A Fujifilm response team member noticed through the data upload from our database that something was wrong and called immediately. That shows how proactive the color team performs. It is a priceless benefit to have when trouble shooting and there is no time to waste."

Furthermore, with each job, Think Patented provides a Colorpath Verified label with all the stats for the proof, the plates and the press sheets. The label shows the target benchmarks, the tolerances and the device being used. "So again, the ability to go back to your customers-internal and external-and give them a Colorpath Verified proof is a confidence builder for your customer base."

The next step is to have the Taskero Universe expand into the digital department to monitor the Hewlett-Packard Indigo. Not only will digital jobs benefit from this program, but hybrid projects will match color more precisely.

"We deal with many customers who are going to be producing a longer press run, maybe for collateral materials," explains McNerney. "Then, they might want to output 200 pieces for a specific trade show or conference and we'll print them digitally. We now have the ability to match the colors as close as we can between the digital and conventional worlds. We feel it's very critical to match those two departments."

While continuously improving its operations, the company has boosted internal confidence and customer confidence. "Fujifilm has helped us immensely from the standpoint of managing the color as well as helping us with the FinalProof," concludes McNerney. "Our color quality, proof qualities and consistencies are much improved."