Supplying Your Every Need
Distributors Offer Products and Partnership
By Amber E. Watson
Print providers have a choice when it comes to buying large format equipment and supplies. They can purchase directly from the original manufacturer or work with a distributor. Distributors offer print service providers (PSPs) industry specific products, efficient service, and reliable support.
With the means and logistics to stock and distribute quickly and easily across the country, suppliers serve as the go-to middlemen for all the needs of a print shop. Distributors carry multiple brands so that customers choose the product that best fits their needs based on performance, price, and service.
Several distributors and suppliers serve the wide format space, each with varying specialties, shipping time spans, return and warranty policies, and customer support services.
360 Digital Imaging Solutions
360 serves the aqueous, solvent, latex, and UV-curable segments. Media and equipment offerings range from screenprint clear films to trade show and specialty banner material. With over 25 years of combined equipment experience, the distributor has an in-depth understanding of how each product performs on different types of printers. Along with its own line of private label products under the 360 brand name, the company distributes supplies from a variety of vendors.
All orders are shipped the same day. With multiple facilities around Southern CA, same day or next day delivery is available for orders spanning from CA to AZ. For orders outside this area, 360 partners with localized warehouses to minimize lead times. Free shipping and handling on all supply orders is another perk.
Person-to-person customer service is important to 360, so the phone is not automated. The company employs multiple inside customer service representatives to answer product questions and quickly and accurately process orders. 360 offers a 30 day return policy on unopened supply purchases and provides color profiles free of charge for the majority of products. Three technicians based in and around Southern CA are available to respond quickly to problems. For those who prefer the Web, 360 offers online shopping with a tool that retrieves past order history to expedite the process.
Advantage Sign Supply, Inc.
Advantage specializes in printer and media solutions, as well as technical services. Printers with latex, solvent, and UV ink are available.
The company offers same day shipping on orders placed by 6:00 p.m., as well as 24/7 online ordering, in-house phone technical support, and a six member team of field support technicians. Knowledgeable product assistance from staff at each of the ten branches and a team of sales representatives rounds out the support team.
Manufacturer warranties vary by product and customers are encouraged to reference Advantage’s catalog for complete details on return policies.
Agfa Pitman collaborates with manufacturers to provide a diverse offering of solutions, including a line of entry level to high-volume industrial inkjet printers, an assortment of rigid and flexible media, inks, and toners. In particular, the Duratex line of media includes premium banner, mesh, backlit, and polypropylene film as well as new window, wall, and floor adhesive films. It is compatible with solvent, latex, and UV-curable inkjet.
Customers order with ease using Agfa Pitman’s eCommerce site, and shipping occurs within 24 to 48 hours of placement. In addition, the distributor offers a robust global sales organization. Each specialist is trained extensively on certain media. With regional placement across the country, employees make calls or visit in person to provide quick support.
Return and warranty policies vary. In general, returns may be made within 30 days of purchase with permission from a Pitman Customer Care Professional.
Ariva offers both its own branded wide format media and distributes products from manufacturers. The company’s goal is to provide the end user with the correct media for any wide format project. From photo papers to vinyl and fabric banner substrates to roll-up films, self-adhesive media, and overlaminates, Ariva provides innovative solutions for virtually any wide format application. All are tested and validated on leading print platforms and available for fast delivery.
Big Systems, LLC
Big Systems provides wide format printing systems from 24- to 137-inch printers. The supplier also provides a comprehensive line of aqueous, latex, solvent, and UV-curable media and inks. Big Systems complements these products with design and workflow software, RIPs and specialty plug-ins for cutting and finishing, along with laminators, cutting systems, trimmers, and other finishing tools and accessories.
Most items are in stock and ship the same day. Customers enjoy complete turnkey solutions with full pre-sales consulting, post-sale customer care, and onsite service and maintenance. Free, live technical support with experienced staff technicians is available.
Big Systems accepts returns within 30 days and honors full manufacturer warranties and extended service contracts. Post warranty support is provided as long as the system exists and is feasible. A purchased system continues to carry support and value towards any upgrades as well.
DP Media Solutions
DP Media offers many types of media and finishing products for wide format inkjet, including aqueous, solvent, eco-solvent, latex, and UV-curable. An assortment of customers test DP Media products to ensure they are ideal for specific applications. In the past few months, DP Media introduced a floor and display graphic that does not require lamination, a new three-dimensional media, and a metallic canvas for fine art.
DP Media ships from multiple locations across the U.S., depending on the product purchased or customer location, and all products are shipped same day provided the order is placed by 3:00 p.m. EST.
Customers reach DP Media by phone from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and some Saturday mornings. The company’s Web site is always available for information and ordering.
Products are fully backed by the company and its vendors. “We either work with customers to ensure the product meets the requirements to complete the job, or we take the product back and credit the entire amount,” says Bill Lescarbeau, president, DP Media. Product returns are requested within 60 days of purchase.
Fellers is a wrap supply company that carries top brands of calendered and cast solvent printable vinyl and laminates. It also offers a variety of solvent printable banner materials and fabrics, as well as ink products.
With 70 locations across the U.S., a typical order placed before 4:00 p.m. ships the same day and is received within one to two days via UPS. Customer pick up on in-stock products is also an option. Over 40 customer service representatives are available from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. CST, and the company guarantees that every call is answered by a customer service representative within 90 seconds.
Fellers accepts returns on product purchases made within the last 30 days that are still in the original packaging and in sellable condition. All returns must have a return authorization number assigned. Digital products opened or used may not be returned, and sales on cut vinyl under ten yards and custom sewn blank banners are final. Fellers adheres to manufacturer warranties only.
Florida Graphic Supply, Inc. (FGS)
FGS sells and services wide format digital printers, laminators, cutters, trimmers, and engravers, offering both roll-to-roll and flatbed print direct technology for eco-solvent and UV inkjet printers. Media, tools, inks, and supplies for sign making applications are also available.
With a primary focus on the FL marketplace, customers receive same day or next day shipping. FGS also offers free freight programs with minimal requirements.
The company employs a total of eight certified technicians; five of which are dedicated to daily field service calls. Technicians handle new equipment installations, trouble shooting, preventative maintenance, warranty and out of warranty service, RIP software installation and training, ink conversions, equipment training, and preparation and assistance in moving or transporting equipment to other facilities. In rare instances, if a product fails or is considered defective, FGS processes the claim for the customer and provides replacement material.
As an owner-operated company, FGS has the flexibility to make quick decisions to better satisfy customers. FGS also offers wholesale printing services for those who need help with an application outside their capabilities, and it serves as an emergency backup if a printer is down.
FGS hosts annual open houses for industry professionals to learn and engage with staff and vendor personnel. The two day events offer design and RIP software training and hands-on wrap seminars.
Global Imaging, Inc.
Global Imaging is part of a family of brands that provide products, services, and technical expertise. These include Global Garage, Parts Depot, Panoply Finance, and PrinterEvolution. The company is selective about brands carried. “If we do not feel that the product brings a unique value to the customer, or the support is not there, it does not make it into our product line,” assures Greg Lamb, CEO, Global Imaging.
Global Imaging offers expertise in the entire wide and grand format workflow with an emphasis on digital textile printing. A trained team of inside salespeople is available to speak about the product portfolio, affiliate brands, and services. In-house affiliate brands include a financing division that helps customers finance new and used, soft and hard goods with quick turnaround and often require only a one-page application for approval.
In addition, Global Imaging’s Workflow Studio emulates an entire grand format production facility. Customers experience some of the most current printing equipment, cutting and finishing equipment, and prepress software under one roof.
Graphic Solutions Group (GSG)
GSG’s primary products include all facets of equipment and supplies to the wide format printing industry. Same day shipping is available on most items and access to ordering and inventory via the Web site is available 24/7.
A dedicated inside sales team performs customer service, while an outside sales force is available for on-site visits. GSG also features on-staff technical service departments for additional support. Returns within 30 days are accepted; beyond 30 days requires authorization. All manufacturer warranties are honored.
Grimco specializes in printers and equipment, software, inks, digital media, banner, cut vinyl, application tape, and substrates. The company represents the exclusive lines of BriteLine, Key Banner, Forward Banner, 20/20 Color inks, and Rad Grafix.
Grimco is focused on customer service with representatives answering phones from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. EST. New employees go through a comprehensive training program and are offered continuing education. In addition, the company’s Web site allows customers to shop online 24 hours a day and serves as a source of information and a place for account management.
With 38 national locations, Grimco serves markets across the country. Orders for in-stock items placed before 4:30 p.m. in each time zone are shipped same day. Grimco offers returns and exchanges on stock items within 30 days from date of purchase. All returns and exchanges must have a return authorization number assigned. Restocking and other fees may apply. Custom and non-stock items are not eligible for return.
IT Supplies presents products for each client’s specific needs, including hardware, software, display, and related consumables. Professional printers, including aqueous and solvent; software and design tools; media in cut sheets and rolls; display and finishing products and tools; and framing and canvas wrap solutions are offered. IT Supplies’ specialty product portfolio, Simply Elegant, presents the best of both worlds.
Same day shipping is available on most products ordered before 3:00 p.m. CST, and orders over $99 ship for free. Direct conversation or online communication delivering 100 percent customer satisfaction is guaranteed.
IT Supplies strives to ensure customers are completely satisfied with purchase decisions, so in the event a product selection does not work out, one may exchange it for a second selection.
ITNH sells and services a variety of solutions for print applications including UV-curable flatbed, roll-to-roll textile—including dye-sublimation, garment, and sign graphics printing.
The distributor maintains a portfolio, which includes UV-curable flatbed solutions, such as promotional products printing, OEM product decoration, as well as roll-to-roll textile solutions like flag printing and trade show graphics.
Shipping time depends on the products ordered and warranties depend on the application. ITNH’s up-front application testing process sets proper expectations and is designed to avoid returns. Most printer sales carry a one year warranty.
ITNH offers printer technical service as well as application expertise and support. In many cases, application expertise is critical to customers, as print applications such as UV-curable flatbed and textile printing are demanding. Additionally, ITNH writes in-house workflow software tailored to customers’ needs for applications using personalization, customization, serialization, and barcoding.
LexJet offers a variety of products to meet all wide format printing needs, such as inkjet media for day-to-day and specialty applications. Wide format inkjet printers, along with laminators, finishing equipment, inkjet media—both LexJet brand and other major brands, laminates, backers, adhesives, ink, RIP software, canvas and canvas finishing products, exhibit and display hardware, and other graphics equipment and peripherals are offered.
LexJet ships orders in one day and offers flat rate shipping to most of the U.S. Customers can access knowledgeable customer specialists between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. EST, as well as online chat services, an educational blog at blog.lexjet.com, newsletters, white papers, and a library of videos at www.youtube.com/lexjet.
Every product LexJet sells is backed by a 30 day, money back guarantee. Should a customer receive media that exhibits defects in material or workmanship, LexJet provides a full refund or no-cost replacement if the customer notifies in writing within 30 days from the date the order was received.
Media One Digital Imaging Solutions
Media One distributes technical textiles for solvent, UV, latex, and dye-sublimation ink sets. The company offers guaranteed two to three day shipping in the U.S. A specialty of Media One’s is custom profiling. In addition, it offers woven, knitted, and circular knitted textiles up to 16 feet wide.
Each product is supported technically and Media One also provides testing of products for the manufacturers it works with regularly.
Montroy Sign & Graphic Products
Montroy Sign carries wide format media, ink, laminates, adhesives, boards, equipment, and electric sign supplies.
The supplier features 11 fully staffed branches located in AZ, CA, CO, NV, and UT with sales support on call during normal business hours. Customers may also place orders and review statements and past orders at any time from the Web site. Same day local delivery is available, and within three business days for most other orders.
There is no hard and fast policy on returns. Montroy Sign works with customers to accommodate whenever possible. If a product fails, it partners with the manufacturer to resolve the issue within the parameters of the warranty.
N. Glantz & Son
N. Glantz & Son delivers a full line of digital supplies including rolled media and overlaminates, digitally printable substrates, inks, sign displays, and accessories. The supplier represents an exclusive brand, beLine.
Depending on the time and location of the request, the company offers same day delivery. Along with a speedy ordering and delivery process, customers enjoy a wide selection of in-stock products, conflict resolution, and employee expertise in the products sold.
Ordway Sign Supply, Inc.
Ordway Sign Supply celebrates 30 years in business and specializes in providing eco-solvent and UV printing technologies. Custom cuts can be made on most substrates or slit roll goods to smaller width rolls.
Since Ordway Sign Supply also operates a service bureau for large format printing to the trade, the supplier possesses special knowledge of the printing equipment being sold. “When customers have printing issues, we provide immediate solutions since we are also printers and have most likely been through the same scenarios,” says Pete Ordway, president, Ordway Sign Supply.
Technicians typically respond to customer issues within 24 to 48 hours. A remote support system on the Web site allows for remote diagnose and repair software issues via the Internet.
Rolinx Performance Products
Rolinx is the master dealer of KALA brand laminators in the U.S. The company’s brand laminates are ThermoSet UV heat assist vinyl, ThermoGard UV thermal polyester, RolMount adhesives, ChromaGard UV calendared, ChromaCast UV cast, and ChromaJet digital print media. Rolinx focuses on KALA laminators and all laminates, adhesives, and specialty print media used in digital graphics. The company also offers consulting and training in wide format finishing.
For orders placed by 4:00 p.m., same day delivery is offered. There is no charge for freight on orders of $1,500 or more. KALA laminators carry a one year parts and on-site labor warranty.
Wensco Sign Supplies
Wensco stocks the raw materials to make nearly any kind of sign, from digital supplies and substrates to sign vinyl. Alpha, Wensco’s private label brand, is available in addition to OEM products.
Its Web site, online chat, and customer service staff are ready to take orders, mix custom paints, cut substrates, and assist with customer needs. The company maintains a fleet of delivery vehicles, provides vehicle wrap classes, and offers printer repair and support through its technical department.
Next day shipping is available. Products may be returned with prior written authorization and within 30 days of purchase. Special orders and all cut materials are not returnable. Errors in shipment, pricing, or claims for lost or damaged product must be reported within three business days of receipt.
xpedx, distributor of printing supplies and equipment, offers wide format equipment and substrates. Many products are stocked at distribution centers, and ready for next day shipment or delivery on a fleet of delivery vehicles. Others are shipped directly to the customer in a timeframe that is subject to availability from the supplier.
All xpedx customers have access to the distributor’s eCommerce platform, which offers real-time inventory availability and pricing, reorder templates, catalogs, and environmental purchase reports.
xpedx Centers of Excellence provide a focused group of customer service support. The company employs equipment technicians, graphics, and wide format specialists. These employees are located across the U.S. and offer direct technical support and service. Print professionals develop an integrated solution of products with a focus on the most effective end-to-end print production process.
xpedx supports all product warranties provided by manufacturers and serves as an advocate for customers in fair resolution to any product complaints.
The Perfect Mesh
Suppliers work hard to mesh the manufacturer’s brand identity with their own message, striving to provide PSPs the best of both words—quality brands and superior service. “It’s a balancing act,” admits Clint Fox, president, 360. “We try to promote the manufacturer’s brand with our own in newsletters, advertising, and at trade shows. I believe that customers prefer to work with companies associated with name brands because it gives them a level of reassurance when purchasing from a distributor.”
“Making the connection between the manufacturer’s brand and one’s own takes years to accomplish,” adds John Eukovich, VP, sales, FGS. “There must be a cohesive relationship between manufacturer and wholesaler. If your company identity does not have much in common with the manufacturer, it will not mesh and you cannot disguise this from the customer.”
For many distributors, their brand is more than the manufacturers they represent, or the products they sell. “Our brand is our customer service and consultative approach to helping customers, which is only strengthened by carrying products from leading manufacturers,” says Rodney Williams, VP sales and marketing, GSG.
The best suppliers offer PSPs more than products and brands; they provide superior service, support, and knowledge to keep the wide format industry going strong.
May2013, Digital Output