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Business Development

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PREPARING FOR CENTRALIZED PRODUCTION
Impending consolidation in the printing industry will force players to ask tough
questions as they tweak, or completely reinvent, operations. Ultimately, they must decide: Will the facility continue printing its product or pay someone else to do it for them? Already, convenience and economies of scale are driving centralized production.
00 Newspapers like the Dallas Morning News, closed its commercial  
printing arm to cut costs. Now, commercial jobs are centralized and the Dallas Morning News prints outside titles for local distribution, such as USA Today, The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal. Transcontinental and AFL Web Printing are other well-known examples of how printers can maximize revenue streams through a centralized facility.
ooEconomic indicators suggest that the printing industry will continue to roll up,
especially considering the ability for metropolitan areas with several daily, weekly
and niche publications. In time, some or all of these publications may be printed and packaged for distribution in a centralized facility.
ooMeanwhile, organization that run centralized facilities will face infrastructural
challenges as they adapt and expand. Companies that decide to keep the presses
rolling rather than outsourcing printing and distribution will look for ways to maximize revenue streams.
ooAs printers enhance their operations, they will need to evaluate existing technology
and determine what features to add so they can remain lean, flexible and efficient.


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EQUIPMENT CONSIDERATIONS:

Preparing for press. Can existing pagination software adequately support new products? Is plate processing equipment designed for maximum throughput and efficiency? Does it make fiscal sense to set up redundant lines of equipment?

Maximizing flexibility.
How should existing press equipment be outfitted to maximize production flexibility? Can printing couples be added to existing units to support higher demands for color? Can the press be rearranged to meet paging and color placement requirements? Are folders equipped for multi-section, digest and quarter-fold printing?

Enhancing commercial jobs.
Will adding gas or U.V. dryers improve operations? Consider in-line gluing, stitching and trimming. Ink jet equipment may be necessary for mail work.

Tracking and handling. Equipment that handles these tasks should accomplish bar code tracking for pallets, rolls, inventory, shipments and billing.

Managing the mailroom.
Post-press equipment will need to be able to deliver, store, label, insert, wrap and stack a wide variety of products and publications.

NON-EQUIPMENT CONSIDERATIONS:

Scheduling and production windows. In what sequence should jobs be printed to meet tight distribution deadlines? Production schedules may allow little flexibility, and printers should expect some customers to chronically late because of reduced staffing, late-arriving ad copy, etc.

Manning the operation. Adequate staffing will be critical to handle the increased workload. The workforce will need to be knowledgeable about producing various diverse publications, including newspapers, magazines and inserts.

Successful centralized production facilities that address equipment and operations opportunities will be in the best position to succeed as the industry consolidates.

Hall Contracting Services Inc. is located in Avon Lake, Ohio. Backed by more than 100 years industry experience, Hall is committed to helping printers internationally maintain competitiveness. Contact Hall at 440.930.0050 or e-mail hcs@hallcontractingservices.com.

33540 Pin Oak Parkway, Avon Lake, Ohio 44012, USA • 440.930.0050 • Fax: 440.930.0025 • hcs@hallcontractingservices.com
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