ENGLEWOOD, Colo., March 17, 2004 — A Phoenix, Ariz., printing company in the Commercial segment of Mail-Well Inc. has been honored with three “2003 Print Excellence Gold Awards” from Printing Industries Association Inc. of Arizona (PIAZ). Imperial Litho, a full-service commercial printer, took the honors for two richly colored and graphically complex art prints and for an equally dynamic perfect-bound book. All were rendered with the company’s patented dryography process, a hybrid form of waterless printing.
Imperial also has been voted Arizona’s top-ranked commercial printing operation in a poll conducted by Arizona Business, the state’s leading business magazine.
According to Mail-Well, the awards and the popular recognition demonstrate not only Imperial’s ability to deliver top-quality work, but its commitment to implementing Mail-Well’s “Total Customer Solutions” strategy – providing services that enable customers to meet all of their visual communication needs by doing business with a single Mail-Well company.
The Gold Award-winning book, Postcards from Neotony, was produced using 300-line screen dryography, as were the art prints, “Burning Bush” and “Giraffe.” The company also earned a PIAZ “2003 Print Excellence Silver Award” in the “Best Use of Sheetfed Printing” category for the four-color, Smyth sewn, casebound book titled, The Camelback – Sacred Mountain of Phoenix.
“The PIAZ awards were the result of Imperial’s dryography printing capability,” says Larry Leitner, Imperial’s vice president of sales. “Our customers were looking for a print process that was unique and would allow them to have a higher-quality print representation of their product.”
Imperial’s customers played pivotal roles in choosing printed pieces for submission to the PIAZ judges, adds Terry Sutter, vice president of operations. “Customers worked closely with Imperial sales reps, making thoughtful selections about the printed work,” he says. “This represented a cooperative effort not only among the client and sales team, but press and scanner operators as well, who acted jointly to create striking colors and images that are true to the client’s vision.”
For example, says Sutter, Michael Fatali, the photographer whose images captured in natural light are collected in the “Burning Bush” art print, spent a month at Imperial closely involved in multiple phases of production to assure that his work was faithfully recreated in prepress and in the print run.
In high-resolution printing by dryography, printing plates are produced with line screens – a measurement of the plate’s ability to reproduce fine details – of 300 to 400 lines per inch (lpi). In contrast, conventional “wet” lithography for most publication and commercial printing uses line screens ranging from about 120 to 150 lpi.
According to Sutter, waterless dryography’s exceptional reproduction quality “allows us to go beyond what has typically been achievable in a litho process.” Further, he says, since the need to finesse ink-water balance (an inherent feature of conventional lithography) no longer applies, costs associated with waste and spoilage in the “wet” process can be avoided.
Although dryography represents only about 10 percent of the work that crosses Imperial’s threshold, says Sutter, it’s an important “door opener that differentiates us from our local and national competition.” Dryography is one of many reasons for the high level of activity at Imperial, which employs about 100 people working three shifts, six days a week in more than 125,000 sq. ft. of manufacturing and warehouse space on two city blocks in downtown Phoenix.
According to the 2004 results of the Arizona Business poll, “Ranking Arizona, The Best of Arizona Business,” Imperial’s capabilities have made a powerful impression upon print buyers in Phoenix and elsewhere in the state. Respondents to the online survey chose Imperial as the No. 1 ranked commercial printing operation in Arizona, based upon qualitative measurements of the company’s overall performance. “Ranking Arizona” – described by Arizona Business as the largest business opinion poll conducted in the state – annually ranks companies in more than 200 different business and leisure categories based on quality of product, service, and customer satisfaction. Rankings do not reflect annual revenue or number of employees.
As a pace-setter in Mail-Well’s Commercial segment, Imperial has embraced the company’s broad goal of consistently placing all of its resources at the disposal of every customer. Leitner says that Imperial’s expertise in dryography helps it to meet the goal by enabling the company to cross-sell an expanded selection of Mail-Well products and services to dryography customers.
“The sales force is effectively trained to sell Total Customer Solutions,” adds Leitner. Training, he adds, is now specific to product lines that had been outside the scope of some Imperial sales representatives before the greater emphasis on cross-selling. And, thanks to the integration of Mail-Well’s printing and envelope businesses in the Commercial segment, notes Leitner, “our sales force has jumped from 10 to 19 people who market dryography in Phoenix.”
Imperial’s expanded sales force is one of several sales teams serving Mail-Well’s Mountain Region, a network of seven print and envelope plants in Arizona, Colorado, and California. Joint meetings by the sales teams, notes Leitner, are creating “a ripple effect of cross-selling opportunities” that reinforce the Total Customer Solutions concept and cultivate the kinds of vendor-client relationships more typical of smaller organizations.
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