West Caldwell, N.J. – When you’ve been in the printing business for 30 years, you learn a few things. Mark Olsiewski certainly has. When the numbers at Impressions in Ink started to slide a bit in 2017, he proactively made some changes like investing in new equipment, something he had done previously to grow the business. Six months after installing a new 37-inch SABER® paper cutter from Colter & Peterson, he’s looking forward to more success in 2019.
“It’s been an amazing year. I brought my wife Suzanne and son James on board and they’ve been extremely helpful,” says Olsiewski, the owner of San Diego trade printer Impressions in Ink “We’ve refocused on doing high quality conventional offset and digital work and improving our turnaround times. Others have noticed our work and we attracted some new customers. And the automation on the new paper cutter is a huge improvement over our previous machine.”
Career change, dealer assistance lead to golden opportunity
Located on the city’s north side, Impressions in Ink has provided services to Southern California’s ad agencies, small to medium size print shops, graphic designers, print brokers and in-plant operations since 1983. Olsiewski and his wife have owned the shop since 1989. A former Massachusetts school teacher, he and Suzanne decided to move west and Mark first taught shop related courses.
“When I decided to leave the education field, I looked at vocations I knew something about,” he said “That included automobiles, marinas and printing. It’s almost hard to believe we’ve been doing this for 30 years.”
Besides his wife and son, Mark’s had some other important assistance. Impressions in Ink has only eight employees, so he has also relied on local C&P dealer Mark McNeely at America’s Best Printing Products for 15 years. McNeely not only supplies equipment but dispenses influential advice.
“I tracked Mark down and bought our first Colter & Peterson paper cutter from him. He’s also sold me some folders and book stitching equipment,” recalls Olsiewski. “Mark’s helped me grow our business and made me realize the value of going local. Having his training and technical support made more sense. He sold me the used 36-inch PRISM paper cutter we had for 10 years. We got our money’s worth and made it very easy for us to transition to the new SABER.”
Olsiewski says Impressions in Ink is the lone, full-time trade printer in San Diego, which plays a key role in his business strategy.
“It’s why our turnaround time is so important,” he says. “Our customers know we are committed to deadlines and can turnaround work in two or three days. You need reliable equipment to do it consistently. Over time, we graduated from a 1-color Heidelberg press to a 2-color and then a 4-color. We kept growing and now have a 5-color Komori Lithrone 528. And the SABER is taking care of everything on the back end.”
With a Microcut® electronics package, Olsiewski is experiencing a bump in productivity with his new SABER X-15.
“It’s been a great upgrade. We’re cutting bigger paper stock and the speed of the blade and backgauge is much faster than the old PRISM,” says Mark, who asked his son how much faster it is. “As fast as a cutter operator can be,” replied James, who said the difference is a solid 20 percent. They’re also saving time turning around jobs, which typically fall in the 17-1/2 by 22-1/2 inch to 4-1/2 by 11-inch range, often involving 100,000 pieces and more.
“But we see everything from our customers,” adds Mark. “Some projects are not simply cost driven, so we will get those 4-by-8 inch projects where we only have to print 1000 but they’ll add embossing or a real nice foil to it. Our forte is giving the customer something others can’t. Our higher end is driven by quality and turnaround time, instead of price. The economy here is doing well, so that helps. But you also need to have the people and equipment to deliver.”
He believes the prior experience with C&P equipment made it easier for them to transition to the SABER.
“There is so much more automation and it’s a big improvement over the used PRISM. When it comes time to change the SABER’s blade, there’s a picture on the touch screen that tells you what to do,” sums up Olsiewski. “Everyone uses the cutter because we go two shifts, and sometimes around the clock. Most times we run six days a week, but it’s not unusual for us to go seven. Everything is about meeting customer deadlines and we don’t want to wait until the last minute.”