Meeting Of The Minds
Those that do oversee design, said it gives them control over projects and they end up with files that cause fewer problems in prepress. Some shops charge for design; others, like the State of Ohio, don't. Target Corp. noted that if customers go outside of the company for design work it will cost more, so they save money by convincing customers to let the in-house designers handle their jobs.
The State of Washington, which brought design in-house a few months ago, said outside designers often had relationships with commercial printers, so customers were not coming to the in-plant.
PDF Making Inroads
Many of the Top 70 participants said they have PDF workflows, but several reported problems getting customers to create proper PDFs. The State of Washington's representative said its customer service rep brings a prepress person on customer visits to teach the customer how to make a PDF. In this way marketing is combined with training.
Still, as the University of Oklahoma's rep noted, some customers persist in doing things their own way, despite training. Mississippi State University's representative suggested charging customers each time a file has to be sent back to be redone after a certain point. Another manager suggested that, in addition to showing problem customers how much their bad files are costing them, problem jobs could be vended to an outside printer, where the resulting high price might cure the customer's lax ways. Boeing's in-plant puts some repeat jobs on CD so customers can use the disc next time.
Variable Data: Wavering Interest
Though variable data is being touted as a major trend by vendors, few of the Top 70 participants are using it in jobs. One manager felt it was overrated, and another pointed out that most customers don't have very good databases.
- Bob Neubauer