SEATTLE – The next big impact has arrived at AlphaGraphics Seattle. “We had been looking at adding dimensional digital printing effects for three years,” reports CEO Chuck Stempler. “We saw the Scodix S75 in action at the drupa and Graph Expo tradeshows, and made a decision to invest in late 2014.” The mid-April 2015 Scodix installation marks the first digital enhancement press in the US Pacific Northwest.
For Stempler and his team, the purchase of the B2+ size device (20.8 x 29.5 inches) is all about differentiating themselves from competitors and offering value-added services that “are not commonly available.” This differentiation strategy is working. AlphaGraphics Seattle consistently ranks in the top 10 annual list of the premier instant and small commercial print firms. And, sales in 2014 were up 9% to $15.4 million, for a firm that today employs just 87 staffers.
Making Bling Shine
AlphaGraphics Seattle now is using the Scodix proprietary SENSE™ technology to produce shiny bling that nearly pops off the printed page for a multi-location jewelry retailer. “The customer absolutely loves the look, texture and imagery of this enhanced collateral,” says Stempler, owner of six franchised print sites. “We view this press as an opportunity to continue to evolve,” he explains. “Scodix gives us the ability to create products that offer a significant advantage to what’s [currently] available to our customer base,” Stempler continues, likening this latest print investment to those he made 10 years ago in Hewlett-Packard and Xerox digital press technologies.
More than a Passing Fad
“We don’t see this as a flash-in-the-pan opportunity,” Stempler stresses. Still in the early stages of development, his main strategic concerns are proper market positioning and appropriate pricing. AlphaGraphics Seattle is building volume modestly in the first six months of operation. “At first, we were only running it about two hours a day,” Stempler shared. “In month two, we ramped up to three to four hours per day.” By this September, he and his management team hope that number increases to six to seven hours of Scodix production daily. “At that level, our ROI will be as calculated over the next two to three years. The technical capability is there,” he continues. “The machine is capable of running 24 hours per day.”
AlphaGraphics Seattle conducted “a lot of research” as to which device to buy before selecting the Scodix technology. “We looked at the economy of the equipment,” Stempler offers. “From our customers’ standpoint, the ROI is indisputable in terms of higher response rates,” he concludes. So far, they’ve printed everything from “direct mail and corporate collateral to targeted brochure-type products with variability. That’s what this device gives us: the ability to vary content sheet after sheet.”