When C.J. Graphics launched in the 1980s, a high level of craftsmanship and love for pushing the boundaries of design marketing was more than enough to stand out. “We shore up the capabilities a company doesn’t have in-house,” says Lee Eldridge, Director of Interactive Solutions at C.J. Graphics.
But today, with a changing printing industry and increasing competition on all sides, the company needed a completely different approach. According to Eldridge, “There is an incredible overcapacity of print production time available in the market, which leads to a very, very competitive marketplace … Squeaking out one more job per hour is a huge bottom line difference at the end of the day.”
What C.J. Graphics needed was a way to boost their productivity to enable more small print runs.
Small Jobs and Fast Timelines Demand Speed
Completing more jobs under tighter deadlines wouldn’t have been possible for C. J. Graphics with their old hardware. “We decided to invest in the new servers so we would be ready for this major software update and to make sure our hardware has the power to carry us into the future,” says Eldridge.
The equipment at C.J. Graphics — most notably their computer processors — only needed a few upgrades to make them more competitive in the printing space. The company upgraded to Intel Xeon E5-2620 v2 processors for their servers, and many desktop PCs received Intel Core i7 processors to cut graphics rendering time to less than 10 minutes for complex files.
“It could take 45 minutes to render files we can now render in just a fraction of that time. It’s a cliché, but time is money - delays, no matter how small, have a cost,” says Eldridge. “We make sure our staff are equipped with the tools that can keep them running at full speed.
Creative Offerings to Keep and Grow Customer Base
Reducing print time was great for remaining competitive in the market. But in order to stay ahead of the curve, C.J. Graphics had to expand beyond brochures, into new print and graphics offerings.
The company invested in a 3-D printer, powered by the Intel Core i5 processor, as well as a Highcon Euclid laser die-cutter that lets them create short run packaging, decorative overlays, and complex patterns in paper.
The traditional approach required 20 to 30 minutes of setup time and sometimes as many as several hundred sheets to get the application balanced. “(Dimensional resin) is typically done on large machines requiring custom-designed screens and labour-intensive applications,” Eldridge says. “Today we can feed 400 sheets into the Scodix machine and deliver the finished effect in 20 minutes. We now have a product that offers comparable quality in a labour-saving print technology. This has made the resin effect cost effective for shorter production runs and opens up a range of possibilities for clients who would love to see the effect but don’t need high volumes.”
Like any small business, C.J. Printing doesn’t have a large budget, especially for tech upgrades. But by taking advantage of the latest technology, they were able to ramp up productivity and cut downtime that was costing them profits. As far as Eldridge is concerned, “If that loss could be eliminated by upgrading to better technology, it just makes good business sense. As new technology emerges, we will be right on top of it and upgrading to maintain high levels of productivity.”
Learn more about how to use technology to help your small business thrive. You can also dive deeper into how C.J. Graphics used a small hardware upgrade to differentiate themselves in the printing industry.
What do you do to help your small business stand out from the competition? Let us know on Twitter and in the comments below.