By Melissa Donovan
Part 2 of 2
Purchasing a grand format—95 inches or wider—printer is a long, involved decision for many print service providers (PSPs). Once the sale goes through, the next step is coordinating the shipping and install of the device. The first part of this series covered the different elements that go into preparing to receive a printer of this size, from choosing a trusted, experienced freight partner to clearing a path for the device to maneuver through the shop and end up in its final place.
Here, we discuss the challenges presented to a PSP after a grand format printer is installed. Namely training and any unexpected issues that might pop up in the first few weeks of use. Vendors provide tips and tricks based on their own experience that can help alleviate or prevent these issues.
Most vendors include training with the purchase of their printer and the process is as simple as scheduling a session or set of sessions as soon as the device is up and running.
“Training your staff to operate the new printer is normally part of the purchase price and is carried out by the manufacturer or their authorized dealer. You need to allocate the time for it, so that your operators can get the most out of your newly purchased printer,” shares Erez Zimerman, VP marketing, Matan Digital Printers.
At Novus Imaging Inc., which is based in NH, the team offers customers the opportunity to send their lead operator to the production facility and participate in the final stages of their printer being built. “The final stages of production include power up, printhead alignment, ink fill, and test printing, all operations the customer will encounter at one time or another during the ownership experience. This reduces some of the intimidation factor providing the operator with a hands-on occurrence, which translates into a confident first time encounter when the printer arrives at their site,” explains Guy Cipresso, VP of sales and business development, Novus.
During training, it is common to run print tests and ICC profiles. “These should be tests that meet your quality and speed requirements on most of your popular media and applications. If ICC profiles are not available, work with the manufacturer to create them while on site,” recommends Joe Garcia, managing director – Americas, Stratojet USA.
Sometimes training is only as successful as the staff that takes part. Brent Moncrief, VP sales and marketing, Durst Image Technology US LLC, explains that “the more experience and talent you can allocate to your new investment, the better. If you don’t have an experienced print production expert on staff, hire one.”
Robert Sudol, logistics and project manager, NA, Agfa Graphics, says educating PSPs on media versatility and color profiling is huge. Some PSPs just don’t know what they may or may not need. Agfa’s team supports the print provider before, during, and after the install of a grand format printer with a full-service team.
Pop Up Issues
A few other challenges may pop up along the way and PSPs should keep an eye out for them, hopefully to head them off at the pass.
Education or pre-education of the press and its capabilities can help prevent any concerns from customers. “A properly planned installation of the press and associated elements, including space, utilities, hardware, and software is key to success. It is essential that the PSP prepare their sales teams and customers to commission the printing device to build up their volumes with the right lineup of work,” says Micha Kemelman, product management team leader, HP Scitex.
In the way of productivity, Randy Paar, marketing manager – display graphics, Canon Solutions America, explains that since a grand format device is outputting higher volumes, its increased amount of output can potentially cause bottlenecks in production like finishing or installation. “Calculating maximum productivity in these areas can help avoid costly surprises later,” he advises.
In Place and Ready to Go
Up and running, your grand format printer can become the workhorse of your shop. None of that happens until the correct procedures are in place to train properly on the machine. Additionally, issues involving customer education and productivity expectations can pop up along the way. Staying ahead of the game can means you can avoid the pitfalls while reaping the benefits of your newest investment.
May2015, Digital Output DOGF1505