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Printing Under Pressure: A Profile of Graphic Trends

(July 2007) posted on Tue Jul 10, 2007

Graphics Trends is a shop that has earned its stripes by servicing the most demanding of clients. Find out how this graphics printer combines the latest technologies and a drive to satisfy in order to remain a leader in a high-stakes market.


By Lori Leaman

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Graphic Trends’ customers come mainly from the litho and offset industries. Being a for-trade printer, Graphic Trends actually prints jobs for other printers and rarely deals with the end customer. That also means the shop must be at least as detail oriented as its customers are. “They know their business, we know ours,” Gasper says. “There is no selling around what we do that you could get away with in another market.”

Here’s an example. When a customer prints 80% of a job order and hires Graphic Trends to print the remaining 20%, all graphics must match. It’s this kind of situation that makes the staff at Graphic Trends realize just how critical it is to have a color-profile system in place. “It is something we constantly work on. Not a day goes by here that something in that nature has not been improved upon in one form or another,” Gasper says.

Doing whatever it takes

The foundation of success and continual growth at Graphic Trends is set in the company’s business philosophy of doing whatever it takes to get the job done, getting it done on time, and making sure that the job is produced as accurately as possible. Realizing these goals may require working late nights, on the weekends, and even on some holidays. The staff at Graphic Trends constantly received rush orders, and they know that they must be flexible in order to turn the work around immediately.

It’s not uncommon for Tran or Gasper to send a prepress employee home at noon and ask him or her to return later that same evening because a client isn’t able to deliver a file for a job until that time. Trend and his staff realize that their drive to accommodate clients has earned the company the reputation of being a shop that will get the job done and not turn away work because of late files.

“A relationship builds up, and rather than being seen as the digital or screen printer to call in emergency situations, appreciation builds up between Graphic Trends and its clients,” Gasper says. “Our customers tell other customers, ‘Take your work to Graphic Trends. They helped us half a dozen times when other printers refused to do the job.’”

The management team at Graphic Trends recognizes its employees’ ambition, drive, and willingness to do whatever it takes to get the job done and on time. Many employees have been with Graphic Trends for years, and management continually searches for ways to make the work environment as inviting and accommodating as possible for its loyal workforce. The company also explores ways to improve health and medical benefits, review processes, pay scales, and 401k plans.

Looking ahead

Graphic Trends has made major investments and purchases in equipment in the past three years to improve the efficiency and quality of its prepress processes and offer grand-format-printing capabilities to satisfy the needs of its growing list of clients. Given the competitive climate in which the shop works, Graphic Trends must continue to investigate the technologies and processes that foster what Gasper calls a one-stop-shop atmosphere.

Graphic Trends recognizes the value of employing both screen- and digital printing and the importance of the two technologies working hand in hand. As Gasper puts it, “Any screenprinting shop, to stay successful in this industry, has to embrace digital. Without a doubt, I don’t believe—as I did not believe ten years ago—that digital will wipe out screen-printing technology. But without a doubt, you need the clairvoyance to see that digital is the future. It certainly has its limitations...but in one form or another, be it for printing prototypes, used in the production department, or just to encapsulate a one-stop-shop atmosphere, even at cost to ensure that your customer doesn’t go to a competitor, digital technology has to be embraced. It is mandatory.”

 


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