MidSouth Color, Jackson, TN, USA
Wedding, Portrait, Corporate
Chromira 5x ProLab
“To me, the decision to purchase was a no brainer. I had done my homework and calculated that I could reduce my labor expense by two employees and I knew the continuous cutting, sorting, and order assembly would really speed up my in-house turnaround time.
Now, after only 12 months, my business and profitability have actually changed more than I would have imagined. Now I have an even workflow with none of the production bottlenecks I used to have. That means virtually no overtime, totally predictable production scheduling, and flexible production capability even in our Peak Season.
Reduced paper waste was a real plus. Since all print sizes are imaged from one 30? roll every print is always a perfect match. This is huge! I never have redo?s because of size matching. Even if I am making a wallet and a 30×40 from the same image, they are perfect matches. And the print nesting features eliminate most of the waste.
Labor Savings; the reality was a big surprise. While I expected to cut my production labor expense, what has actually happened is my production labor has reduced to the point where one person does what it took three people to do?.and the one person does it faster and better. And the smoother workflow since we got the ProLab has allowed my print finishing staff to handle more work.
The ProLab gives me very fast turnaround times and allows me to bring in new customers without increased overhead. My former 2-3 day production order workflow used to take 12-14 hours for a normal cycle and now our standard turnaround for printing is less than 90 minutes. But I can very easily produce a completed order in 15 minutes whenever needed?without a lot of paper waste.
But I think that I was most surprised to find that we are saving over $300 per month in our cost of utilities: water, electricity, heating and cooling over our historical costs because the machine is so efficient and runs so cool.
As for quality, our Chromira printers have always given us the color, resolution and consistent quality we needed for our most discriminating customers but we now see much more neutral and consistent B&W portraits on color paper.
But the bottom line is what really counts and that is what wasn’t a big surprise. The Chromira ProLab’s capabilites all added up and just made a lot of business sense. And after owning the ProLab for over a year, the bottom line for me is that production savings equal my lease expense…it’s just about a wash each month which is great. But even more important is the ProLab is giving me the productiivty tools and time to grow my business profitably.”
On Throughput: “We began to realize while we were still using the 1x that we had workflow bottlenecks (7-hour print times, 1-hour paper processing, 4-6 hours trim and sort per roll, short or damaged prints, interruptions for rushes) that caused us to have a 2-day order turn, at best. Workflow was not smooth. Prints were finished in big (roll size) batches and we had people sitting around waiting to check, mount, spray, etc., prints and when they finished, they waited for the next batch. There was a lot of unproductive down time. Of course, my experience relates to the Chromira 1x and labs that used several digital printers had slightly fewer bottlenecks, perhaps.
Our competition was shipping same day and even though in most cases it wasn’t really necessary for the customer, it was a point of difference between the competitor and us. But we could do nothing about it with that equipment and workflow.
“When we got the ProLab, we immediately realized that its workflow was so smooth that we were taking completed orders every few minutes to the finishing stations. My employees had a steadier workflow, were less stressed, and had more time to do a better job. We went from a 2-day turnaround to a half-day turnaround, and now, most orders with minimal finishing ship the same day we receive them. We were able to begin the shipping process earlier in the day, meaning less overtime in shipping. That is my definition of great throughput. It is the time and effort necessary to get an order on our server and out the door.”
We are not a high volume lab, but I can’t imagine how much work is involved in just color matching, sorting and collating orders that don’t print together. I know what it was like with the info strips and our time spent in getting orders ready to ship is nothing compared to 2 years ago.”