Four-Color Press a Good Move for Valdosta
This month marks a year since Valdosta State University (VSU) Printing and Copying Services installed a four-color Presstek 34DI direct imaging press. Manager Drew Burgering feels it was one of the best decisions his shop has made.
“Having the DI this past year has allowed us to capture about $25,000 in new revenue just from admissions in the postcards they printed to announce their locations for upcoming recruitment events,” he enthuses. “The DI is also allowing us to keep the printing for the Office of Annual Giving mail pieces for this coming year that had been going off campus. [This] will account for another $80,000 in additional revenue.
“When our total revenues for a year run around $300,000,” he notes, “adding over $100,000 with just two departments accounts for a 35% increase.”
Prior to getting the Presstek 34DI, the four-employee in-plant produced four-color printing using a small-format two-color press — a process that was not without its challenges.
“It tied up our press, turnaround was slow and it was not at all cost-effective,” says Burgering.
Some jobs bypassed his operation entirely. Burgering wanted to change this and become “the printer of choice” for the school. “To be that,” he explains, “we needed a better four-color platform.”
Located in the city of Valdosta, Ga., near the state’s border with Florida, VSU has an undergraduate enrollment of 9,328. To increase that number, the university has set new recruitment goals and quadrupled the admissions office’s budget. Burgering saw an opportunity to significantly increase his shop’s business — but only if it could effectively produce all the four-color recruitment literature and mailings.
With just four employees operating an array of digital and wide-format printers, offset presses and finishing equipment, Burgering needed an easy-to-use, efficient and automated four-color system — one that would not test the skills of his offset press operator, a recent trade school graduate. Already a Presstek service customer, Burgering was aware of the time-saving benefits of DI presses.
“The quality of the color was very appealing,” Burgering says, “along with the ease of achieving it with automatic registration and quick makeready.” On-press platemaking was another plus for his shop. “We could upgrade our offset capabilities without buying new prepress equipment,” he points out.
A Good Recommendation
Fellow in-plant manager Randall Bramlett, director of Columbus State University’s in-plant, recommended the Presstek 34DI to Burgering.
“Our DI press was a lifesaver,” Bramlett says. “It brought outsourced four-color orders back to campus, saving the university lots of money, and increased our importance and relevance to the university. I saw that a 34DI was a perfect fit for Valdosta State, as well.”
Burgering examined the cost and decided that a certified pre-owned Presstek 34DI made the most sense. VSU Printing and Copying Services is not an auxiliary enterprise of the university, so it does not carry forward surplus funds or maintain a reserve for equipment purchases.
“A certified pre-owned DI press from Presstek was a good solution for us all around,” says Burgering.
When VSU issued a purchase order, Presstek surveyed the shop and identified the best location for the press along with the electrical modifications that needed to be made. VSU facilities staff completed the electrical work, the press was installed and the shop’s press operator was trained.
VSU Printing and Copying Services is now printing all of its four-color jobs with runs over 750 on the DI, and only needs to outsource an occasional four-color job with a format size that exceeds what the 34DI can handle.
“By volume and dollars, offset printing is certainly the largest part of our output, with some of the runs on the DI up to 50,000 or more,” says Burgering.
For admissions, the DI press is delivering exactly what Burgering intended — a cost-effective way to produce the volume and quality of color printing needed in the university’s recruitment drive.
“With the ease of printing high-quality color and the speed of the DI press, we can easily handle the increased number of jobs and volume,” Burgering says. He describes a recent run of 10,000 postcards in three versions for a mailing by admissions.
“Even for larger jobs with longer runs than average, the DI is still a cost-effective solution for us,” Burgering says. He cites a set of recruitment mailers, of which they printed 30,000 to 40,000 each of three. More commonly, the press is used to print four-color brochures with runs between 1,000 and 5,000.
The shop has cut production time for four-color printing, sometimes to a quarter of what it would have been, reports Burgering.
“Saving time saves money,” he says. “My role is to produce printing in the most cost-effective way for the university. For four-color printing, a certified pre-owned DI press has been the best way to do that.”
Thanks to the new revenue generated by the DI, the in-plant has been able to upgrade some equipment and expand. Burgering plans to add a new digital envelope printer and is looking at laminators. Last July the shop added a Brother GT-381 garment printer and began offering T-shirt printing.
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