The Color Boom
It's safe to start calling Terry Fulcomer a financial guru.
With six employees and a base budget of $750,000, the Prince William County graphic arts and print shop supervisor just scored a Heidelberg NexPress 2100, along with a Heidelberg Digimaster 9110.
The key to his wisdom?
Roping in 15 to 20 percent of the in-plant's income, insourcing work from other counties and municipalities is essential to this very successful shop.
But it wasn't always such a booming in-plant. Fulcomer says when he first started at the shop, most of the equipment was archaic and the quality of work was very poor.
"I've spent 10 years in this shop," says Fulcomer, "but when I first got here, the county said they were thinking about outsourcing it. I said 'Give me six months, and let's see if we can't turn some of this around.' "
With a nod from the county, Fulcomer immediately picked up a high-speed duplicator to carry the in-plant through Fulcomer's tenuous beginning. And three years later, the shop had its first windfall—a color printer.
"This was the first opportunity for folks to get color on demand," he says. "It just took off. The demand exceeded our capability."
The shop subsequently picked up a two-color A.B.Dick 3500 press and DPM 2000 platesetter. But with the demand so high, says Fulcomer, "it got a little too complex to do color separations. We needed to be able to print from a file. Period."
So the in-plant put together a package deal with Heidelberg for the 9110 and the NexPress, which allowed Fulcomer to get a great price on both.
For a small in-plant like this one, scoring these two machines at even the lowest price might seem impossible. That's why insourcing is so essential to this Virginia in-plant. Fulcomer expects a return on investment in only 18 months because he's banking on his outside customers' desire for color work. To lure them in, the in-plant was able to cut the cost of color prints from 60 cents to 28 cents. So far, it's paying off.