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International Color Standards, Part 1: Setting the Stage for Increased Profits

(October 2007) posted on Wed Oct 03, 2007

International color-reproduction standards allow printers to compete globally, increase productivity, and make more money. This article digs into the foundations of standards and highlights the value of conforming to them.

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By Mike Ruff

To prove this point, think of the worst competitor you have in terms of quality. Go to that shop’s Website and you will see that the company is telling the world that it’s the best quality in the industry. Therefore, the salesperson who attempts to sell better quality has an uphill battle because quality in this context is hard to document. Every company says it produces quality. On the other hand, the salesperson who sells accuracy and repeatability, and can document it through certified conformance to international standards, is much more successful.

Remember, the objective of a production environment is to generate prints accurately and consistently as fast as we can. This reduces costs and makes us more competitive. It opens up press time for increased volume. It’s very rewarding to see the net profits grow because you produced exactly what you intended to produce the first time. This is what conformance to standards can do.

Most of the drain on a shop’s profits is the time that the press is not producing sellable graphics. For example, if a press is stopped or delayed for a 15-minute color adjustment four times a day, that’s one hour a day a press could be producing sellable graphics. That 15 minutes wastes 260 hours a year. If we’re billing our press time at $500 per hour, that is $130,000 taken out of profits that could be used for growth. Conformance to international standards creates predictability. Predictability stops adjustments on press because you know what will happen before it happens.


Cost of non-conformance

To make sure I communicate the risk of our printing presses calibrated to standards that are ignoring international standards I will use the example of a digital press I documented about a year ago. I have not included any names of printers or type of press to protect the innocent. The numbers documented in Table 2 ended up costing this company thousands of dollars a week in lost press time. In fact, management contemplated the purchase of a second digital press at a cost of more than $400,000 because the shop couldn’t keep up with the client demand—yet the company was losing money. That’s like selling watermelons for a dollar under cost and thinking the solution is a bigger truck. It just helps you go broke faster.


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