Archive for February, 2012

There is a cost saving trend in the industry that is becoming more prevalent. With tighter budgets, clients are looking for ways to save more money. And, in the case of existing clients, if they have always been happy with your proof to press color reproduction, the question of whether a proof is needed is valid.
It IS possible not to make hard copy proofs, BUT with these parameters:
1. Know your client – are they very four color process savvy? Understand the pitfalls, even with a hard copy proof or without one?
2. Are you calibrated with G7 and is it monitored closely?
3. New clients with whom you have no pre-existing history should always see a hard copy proof.
4. If the project is a publication you have printed for some period of time, there is much less risk.
5. Get the client to sign a Process color waiver. The agreement should state you will run to G7 standards and that is what they will receive, with no recourse.

These are a few ideas on how to approach the subject. The alternative can be “we will not do that” – but I guarantee that they will find a printer who will.
And then, you lose, the other printer gains…

We live in an age whereby Printers do not survive unless they invest in technology, employees juggle many duties and there is an emphasis on being a low cost producer. If a printing company has high prices – guess what? They go out of business. If their presses are 30 years old – guess what ? They go out of business. You get the idea – it’s really not rocket science.

But when we move from the private to the public sector, the dynamics change. “Government efficiency” is considered an oxymoronic concept. We are shocked when someone in the public sector seems to care about our problem, is competent and has a sense of urgency in their duties. That is very, very sad – but even more so, very destructive. The U.S. Postal Service is the poster child this year for a government agency no longer able to survive in the modern age.

Attempts are being made at restructuring, but what is the long term outlook? Yes, they have labor unions to contend with. But they also have other major problems with far superior competition (UPS, FedEx), and a huge volume decline; not to mention a computer infrastructure that is a joke.

For example, have you ever used the USPS tracking system? I have many times – and 90% of the time, the package is delivered while their system still
says “A label has been generated. No further information is available.” That is a workflow process that does not scan often enough (hardware issue?) or a database that never syncs with field data. Either scenario is from a flawed, and broken system. Compare the tracking to their competitor, UPS, whereby they can tell me on my Droid (with their own app) each and every step in the shipment. AND when it is delivered, I can see the signature in an email within 5 minutes after delivery. Now – is it any wonder that UPS Ground is a better choice than Priority Mail?

Have you ever visited a Post Office, and there is a like-new credit card reader sitting on the counter, but you cannot use it? It even has a sign on it that says “Do not Use” . The Postal worker has to take your card and scan it themselves – once again a broken system. AND taxpayer dollars were wasted on a project that did not deliver on its’ promises. Was anyone held accountable for the waste or cost? Why not? In the private sector, people lose their jobs when
millions are spent on failed projects. They actually have to have an acceptable ROI.

Why is the USPS broken ? I think it’s simple – no U.S. government agency can compete in the private sector, where efficiency and competency is required for survival. Capitalism is Darwinian, eliminating waste and rewarding smart capital decisions. Government agencies tolerate waste, bad decisions and Capital project cronyism. It’s not rocket science…