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The Digital Press Equation

(March 2008) posted on Thu Mar 06, 2008

How seven companies have successfully integrated digital presses.

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By Jake Widman

"If I had taken in all these jobs the traditional way," he says, "I would have needed 20 or 30 customer service reps."

Zamorski selected the iGen primarily because his was already a Xerox shop. "All the machines do a very good job, quality wise. But I look at printing as a manufacturing process, and I chose the iGens for the commonality with the other machines I had. The other systems would have required an operator for each device, but I have all three color devices set up in a U shape, and they’re all run by one operator."

Zamorski’s advice to anyone thinking of getting into digital printing: "Have a sales plan. The hardest thing is to take a conventional sales person and ask them to sell digital." It’s a different clientele, he points out-when selling traditional printing, you deal with purchasing agents, but with digital, you deal with marketing people. "We spend a lot of marketing dollars and time reaching people."

Embracing inventory’s challenges

Harlequin Enterprises (, the well-known romance-book publisher based in Toronto, Canada, uses Oce digital presses to supplement the bulk of its printing requirements, which are handled at the Quebecor plant in Buffalo, New York. Next door to the Quebecor plant, however, is Harlequin’s short-run facility, equipped with two Oce Variostream 7650s and an Oce CPS900 color digital printer. The CPS can print 34 letter-size images a minute at 2,400 x 600 dpi, with a maximum image size of 12 x 18 inches.

Harlequin needed a digital press for two purposes, according to vice president of operations Jim Robinson. First, he says, "To avoid excess inventory, we call offset runs very tightly. If we miss the call, we need the capability to top up the run. We want to produce the identical book, but on a just-in-time basis. It’s not print-on-demand, it’s for short-run demand-100 to 2500 books.

"Second, we have a backlist of books for which there’s not necessarily a big demand," he continues. "We use short-run printers to keep topping up the backlist inventory, only producing 500 to 1000 at a time."