A Missed Opportunity for Profit and Productivity?

By Epicomm
In March 27, 2013

A Missed Opportunity for Profit and Productivity?

Q&A with Derrick Doi
Vice President of Quick and Franchise Print Segment
Xerox Corporation

Customers typically don’t ask about color management, so it’s often not among print providers’ higher priorities. However, this assessment may cost printers in missed opportunities and lost productivity, according to Derrick Doi, who leads Xerox programs supporting the quick and franchise print segments. Here’s his take on the subject.

Q. What are the opportunities print providers are missing by limiting their focus on color management?

A. From a revenue standpoint, delivering color quality that satisfies the most demanding customers qualifies print providers for more work. And it’s usually lucrative work from companies that want to precisely and repeatedly hit their corporate colors, for example.

From a productivity standpoint, automating color management reduces re-dos and saves time and money in press and job preparation. With good color management, print providers can deliver higher quality color faster to satisfy even their most demanding customers, while freeing up staff for other jobs.

Q. What are the challenges to establishing good color management?

A. The challenges range from bad files, operator error, presses being out of calibration to humidity changes, variations in print stock—and the list goes on. All of these factors need to be managed in the face of a print operation’s typical daily fire drills: rush jobs, a new staff member still in training, downtime for maintenance and so on. Automation eases the challenge, but print operators still need to be trained in color management and to have the discipline to perform their routines on schedule. And there must be an understanding within the company that performing these steps is critical toward achieving the customer’s desired output.

Q. How comprehensive are today’s automated color management capabilities?

A. Staff still has to be involved, but the amount of time and skill levels required can be reduced dramatically in all three major color management processes.

They are: calibration, or tuning the press; destination profiling, or matching targets such as the GRACoL industry standard; and hitting spot colors.

Most experts recommend checking press calibration before each eight-hour shift, and refreshing output destination profiles every two to eight weeks. Each process takes 15 to 30 minutes when done manually — longer with more sophisticated systems — but just two to five minutes for Xerox’s automated systems. And because automation simplifies the process, the staff is more likely to approach color management with the regularity and discipline it requires.

Q. What does Xerox bring to today’s automated color management?

A. All Xerox cut-sheet digital presses offer inline spectrophotometers as part of on-board color management systems that automate the three major color management processes: calibration, destination profiling and hitting spot colors.

No other manufacturer has in-line spectrophotometers. Many have in-line densitometers, but they aren’t capable of performing destination profiling. Instead the operator must perform destination profiling with external spectrophotometers, which are more complex and time-consuming.

On-press profiling is as simple as pressing a button, and we are the only digital press manufacturer that offers it.

Q. Do you have any last words of advice?

A. Automation is democratizing high-end color management, making it practical for print shops of all sizes. It’s a great opportunity that every print operation should take advantage of.

To get started—and to learn about preferred pricing discounts of up to 10 percent and other resources available to NAPL and NAQP members from Xerox— visit http://www.xerox.com/digital-printing/napl/enus.html.

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