From The Editor The Four-color Advantage
No one disputes the fact that four-color printing is on the rise. People seem to expect it. Yet a recent IPG survey shows that just 25 percent of in-plants have presses that print four or more colors.
Ask the others why they don't and they'll say that their management would never OK such a huge expense. They'll say their in-plant is just too small or that their parent organization doesn't want them to compete with local commercial printers that offer four-color printing.
Yet those in-plants that own four-color presses were once in the same boat. How did they get their presses? To find out, I asked a number of them.
In-plant size, it seems, is not a factor. Mellon Financial, with eight full-time employees, added its four-color Ryobi press years ago; Otter Tail Power installed a four-color Heidelberg in February, and it employes just eight; Hobby Lobby, with 14 employees, justified a five-color Heidelberg. Both based their requests on the work they would be able to bring in-house, and the fact that they could do it for less money. In Mellon's case, Manager Mike Renn worked up pricing rates as if he already had the press, then did mock bids to see how much he could save. He got management's attention.
Getting price estimates from outside was the first tactic of all four-color press owners. Several managers told me that justification was easy once they showed management how much money was being spent for outside printing and how much they could save.
Many in-plants use one- or two-color presses to do four-color printing, and they are content to continue doing so. But managers who went from this method to a four-color press told me the gains in productivity and efficiency were immense. Registration and paper stretch problems all but disappeared. Washups and setups were reduced. And because everything is done in one pass, they can do more jobs in less time, which equals more income. The University of Delaware increased sales by over $300,000 in the first year after adding its five-color Komori. Also, by insourcing four-color work, you pay for the new equipment even quicker. Plus, a four-color press lets you do high-quality marketing material, which is where the real money is.