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Remaining Present in POP

Wide Format Digital Print Addresses Market Need

By Melissa Donovan

 

Print service providers (PSPs) specializing in high-end, high-profile display and point of purchase (POP) must focus on the entire workflow, automating from design to print to install. Familiar hardware and media is used on a regular basis to ensure a customer’s files are consistent with prior campaigns when it comes to color and branding. With advancements in digital, businesses acting as both print and marketing providers expand customers’ messages—placing them in exterior and interior environments not once possible—to target and catch the attention of more consumers.

 

Here, we look at PSPs regularly creating display and POP. They recognize that print isn’t stagnant. New opportunities, such as electronic signage, are finding a place in the market. The successful print provider embraces change to build business, retain current customers, and attract prospects.

 

Coyle Reproductions

Celebrating 50 years in business, La Mirada, CA-based Coyle Reproductions has always focused on large format POP graphics, but via screenprint. Ten years ago it recognized the necessity of digital in this space, primarily because the technology fit the needs of many printers and clients looking to benefit from short runs at high quality.

 

“I believe this was the result of how business was changing. Customers were looking to customize their in-store messaging by market segments and geographical regions, and that had a significant impact on typical run lengths. In addition, run times were compressed so it made sense to produce these jobs digitally,” explains Jerry Jacobs, marketing consultant, Jacobs & Associates.

 

Today the business is home to two Durst Image Technology US LLC Rho 800 Presto printers, an 8x10-foot Acuity flatbed from Fujifilm North America Corporation, and a 16-foot board printer from Hewlett-Packard. In addition, it has three five-color inline presses, four inline cylinder presses, and several one-color printers as well.

 

Its array of printing hardware is no accident; it allows the company to provide press redundancy. During a job, if a printer goes offline, that project can be moved over to either a digital or screen device depending on availability. This assures that clients’ turnaround times are continually met.

 

Jacobs, former president of Coyle from 1994 to June 2013, admits some screenprinting opportunities cannot be challenged by any other technology today. “Whether it is due to a specific substrate being used, a durability issue, or our ability to print 100-line, screenprinting still remains ideal for satisfying the needs of many clients in the retail and food market segments,” he continues.

 

Speed plays a factor in determining which method of technology to use on a project. When Coyle first introduced digital print into its production facility ten years ago, the maximum standard square feet per hour (sf/h) found on most devices was minimal compared to what it is now. Which is partly why it recently installed a new digital device, the Durst Rho 1012, in Summer 2013. The 96-inch printer prints at speeds that exceed 4,000 sf/h.

 

Resolution and flexibility were also an influence. A majority of Coyle’s POP work includes backlit signage, which traditionally is printed via lithography. Digital devices, like the Durst Rho 1012, are now able to compete in the short-run space by offering high-resolution capabilities. The printer offers litho-like quality, utilizing a 12 picoliter dot.

 

In regards to flexibility, Coyle primarily services retail and QSR-fast food industries, which demand high-quality color and detail on a variety of media. The new Durst Rho 1012 handles much of what the PSP commonly prints on, including banner vinyl, styrene, polycarbonate, foamboard, and card stock. In addition, Jacobs notes that with corrugate now printed more regularly, the new device’s material handling mechanism is an added bonus. It holds down the edges of corrugate board to ensure it stays flat while printing.

 

While the Durst Rho 1012 large format printer expands the print capabilities of the 172,000 square foot facility, the staff of 80 at Coyle recognizes that print is just one part of the equation when it comes to a successful one-stop, full-service POP shop.

 

“Over the years, our philosophy has been to service our clients on as many levels as possible. It turned out to be an effective business model because customers were looking for ways in which they could simplify their procurement responsibilities by having less partners,” explains Jacobs.

 

In addition to offering digital and screen print, the PSP provides manufacturing services for metal fixtures and displays. With an online storefront, inventory management, fulfillment, die cutting, and distribution of roll outs on a national level, Coyle is well equipped to provide its customers with end-to-end, in-house services in a quickened turnaround time.

 

Examining new trends, such as digital print ten years ago, places Coyle ahead of the competition. However, it also knows when to back away if something isn’t a fit. A few years ago it investigated electronic signage. After the assessment, the PSP realized that to do the job correctly, it would need to supply both the hardware and software components to the client. The commitment was larger than anticipated.

 

“We decided instead to stay focused on our core competencies, staying committed to providing outstanding print solutions to our customer base,” shares Jacobs.

 

Coyle’s POP expertise ranges from its ability to understand its limitations, recognize the positive influence of digital and the staying power of screenprint, and offer its clients a one-stop shop. When it comes to managing its POP and display work, it credits wide format digital for opening the door for variable, short runs. Without digital, the one-to-one marketing strategies frequently used in today’s advertising campaigns would be impossible to conceive.

 

“The digital revolution has basically grown from the requirement to produce POP materials for specific geographical markets and ethnic-based markets. Companies worldwide are looking at messaging and signage differently today. They are not thinking about the same message globally, but in fact, are looking at different content based on smaller, more specific niches in the market,” concludes Jacobs.

 

Pacific Color Graphics

Pacific Color Graphics, with two locations—Hayward and Pleasanton, CA—began its business-to-business shop in 2001 with offset devices at the forefront, but works with several digital devices. 38 percent of the business includes display and POP for video game companies, telecommunications vendors, and retail.

 

Much of this work is printed digitally, particularly via wide format. This includes standees, counter cards, floor graphics, window graphics, signage, gift cards, and gifts with purchase. To do so, it relies on an Agfa Graphics Jeti 3020 Titan UV inkjet 6.5x10-foot flatbed printer, equipped with a roll-to-roll option.

 

60,000 square feet of production space also holds two smaller format digital devices, an HP Indigo 3050 Digital Press and Konica Minolta Business Solutions, U.S.A., Inc. bizhub PRESS C8000. To complement its digital wide format printer, an automated table cutter/router from Esko completes the busy production facility.

 

Pacific Color keeps pace with the digital world on all levels. Choosing to offer online ordering capabilities and Web-based catalogs, as well as SEO on its Web site, allows it to address the continued trend of 24/7 accessibility. Tracking capabilities to garner important consumer information at retail level are also available.

 

“We use software that ties in-store displays to drive customers to Web sites, gather contact information, and provide lead generation,” explains David Rekart, president, Pacific Color.

 

Combining print pieces with data capturing capabilities personifies Rekart’s belief that as technology improves, much more in the display and POP market is possible. Pacific Color, for its part, contributes to this by offering its client base reduced costs and turnaround times.

 

Staying in the Game

PSPs once primarily versed in screenprint understand the need for short-run products in POP and display, where turnaround times continue to shrink and promotional periods run for weeks not months. Any successful business owner will attest that remaining relevant in a rapidly changing market is essential to a company’s staying power. To address the changes in retail and other segments that utilize POP, PSPs turn to digital print for its high-quality output at high rates of speed.

 

Oct2013, Digital Output

 
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