Former Business Printer Finds Broad-Format Success

In the past year, Spectrum Print Plus said something to a customer that you never have to say: “No”. The company had received an order from a large national retail customer who needed large format roll-fed work. Although Spectrum did not have the necessary equipment in its business, it won the contract by making an offer from a retailer, but ultimately refused the job. Why? “The timing was so tight and I had to rely on other printers to get the job done right,” recalls Mark Zimmerman, president of Spectrum Print Plus. “I just couldn’t put the customer at risk, so I passed.”

The very next day he called Canon Solutions America, spoke to his sales representative, and told him he wanted to see a demo of the Océ Colorado 1640 roll-to-roll printer, which is equipped with UVgel technology. “We flew to Chicago two weeks later, came back and I was sold,” he says. The machine arrived in March and produced project by project. Just last month, for example, the company received a $ 70,000 contract from the same customer to sign for vacation rollouts – 90% of which was printed on their Colorado. “They sent us files, we made evidence, and they loved it. The signage was printed on canvas and mounted on foam core – they turned it over, ”notes Zimmerman. “It’s almost like that movie, ‘Field of Dreams’ … build it and they will come.”

Spectrum Print Plus in Canton, Massachusetts, has been known as a commercial sheetfed offset and cut-sheet digital printer for the greater Boston area since its inception in 2007. From brochures, menus and die-cut folders to perfectly bound brochures. With direct mail with variable data colors, the company prints a wide range of products.

Spectrum’s digital range includes a Xerox iGen 5 with matte dry ink and a 1000 color press, as well as two Konica Minolta bizhub PRESS 1250s and an AccurioPress C2060. The company serves a variety of industries including the food and hospitality, retail, manufacturing, education, finance, technology, and medical markets.

The company had always met its customers’ signage and other large format needs through partnerships with retailers. But in 2012 Zimmerman had had enough. Tired of being the middleman, he decided to bring the work into the house.

“I’m not a big fan of job placement,” he says. “I like to keep the work in-house, if at all possible, to control costs and make sure it meets my quality standards.” Previously, Zimmerman had to collect and inspect the work before shipping it to the customer to make sure that it lived up to his expectations.

Instead, Zimmerman chose to blur the lines that traditionally separated small format and large format digital print providers in order to get more work done at higher margins and turn their customer base into a one-stop shop.

The business approach also helps the company stay relevant and better serve customer needs. This convergence approach even appears in the name of Spectrum. In 2015, the company added the “plus” because it added in-house creative design and copywriting marketing services, in-house bookbinding and shipping services, and a variety of branded apparel and promotional items to its product and service mix.

Keeping pace with increasing demands

Obviously, it wasn’t enough to buy a large format printer. As a result, Spectrum has upgraded and purchased various machines over the years to keep up with the latest features and technology. The company initially purchased an Epson SureColor solvent-based roll-to-roll printer. And while this allowed Spectrum to do more large format work, the shop was still placing some business and prompting Zimmerman to purchase an Océ Arizona 365GT flatbed printer. “That was a game changer,” he emphasizes. “It has enabled us to work with all substrates and bring rigid work into the house.”

With continued business growth, Spectrum was upgraded to an even faster flatbed model two months ago – the Océ Arizona 2260 GT. Equipped with white and clear lacquer functions, the shop can also use the new TouchStone software, which the company can use to provide tactile printing such as ADA signage.

However, the large format presses SureColor and Arizona were not enough to meet all of Spectrum’s requirements. The company still had a great need for a roll printer to print posters, graphics, and vinyl work. This is when the Colorado 1640 came into play. Zimmerman first saw the Colorado in 2017 at an industry trade show. “I really wanted that,” he states. “I loved the quality, speed, ease of use, and the low cost per square foot of printing.”

With the help of Arizona and Colorado, Spectrum now offers custom acrylic invitations, die-bond metals, custom displays, floor graphics and wallcoverings.

Welcome challenges from Workload

There have been some “problems” for Spectrum as it has taken on all of this new large format work – but they are all welcome challenges that come with the bigger workload: storing and learning to print on new substrates.

Storage has become a major problem for Spectrum. With the need to store substrates like 4×8-ft. Boards, the company had to reconfigure its shop to make room. “For this last vacation job I ordered 540 sheets of foam core with a half-inch order – you need space for that,” he says. “When you run in bulk, space is tight.”

Large-format digital printing today also offers endless possibilities for substrates. “There’s definitely a learning curve for substrates,” explains Zimmerman, “and Canon has been very helpful. Product support staff have come here many times. “One example was printing two-sided window graphics. “I said, ‘How the hell is that done?’ You print it backwards CMYK and know … it really threw me for a loop. That sure is a learning curve, but we get there. “

Now say “yes” to the vast majority of jobs

Spectrum Print Plus can now say “yes” to many jobs that it should have turned down previously, especially with the Colorado 1640 doing so much work. For example, Spectrum now produces custom molded bar mitzvah invitations on clear acrylic. “It’s been a great success,” reveals Zimmerman. “We also offer custom boxed displays that we couldn’t before. It has helped both sides of the company. “

The financial figures speak for themselves. In the first six months of this year alone, Spectrum achieved an over-calculation in large-format business last year. “Working with Canon was a gift from God,” he says. “My customers also like to visit the plant. If you need a sample, it’s easy. What does it cost a few dollars? This is nothing. I’m going to give someone an actual proof of production of something all day to get a job. “