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case study alpha graphics

Case Study: AlphaGraphics San Francisco & Marin County, CA

Through targeted campaigns, AlphaGraphics used their Ricoh technology to broach new markets.

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AlphaGraphics San Francisco staff

About the customer

In a city of innovators, dreamers and risk-takers, AlphaGraphics San Francisco & Marin County, California, distinguish themselves by being effective problem-solvers for their customers. Managing Partner Manuel Torres and his staff understand that stimulating creativity is an important key to their success in this market, whether brainstorming with clients to help shape their next project or creating imaginative marketing materials for the company's own efforts.
 
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We're able to use less people,in less time to produce the same amount of work, which obviously improves our bottom line.

Manuel Torres Managing Partner AlphaGraphics San Francisco & Marin County, CA

 
 

Challenge

 

Challenge

full color prints
  • Meeting demand for faster turnaround times, short-run work and heavy stocks
  • Building incremental capabilities without slowing production
  • Driving increased productivity at the same staffing levels
  • Managing color across both offset and digital assets
  • A desire to pursue opportunities in high-end real estate, healthcare and other vertical markets that require printing on specialty media, including synthetics

With multiple locations and mix of existing offset and digital equipment, the business was at a strategic crossroads, with choices that would impact their current performance and shape it for years to come. After acquiring another business within the city, Torres knew that upgrading its existing equipment would provide higher quality, and improve productivity. In addition, customers were asking for faster turnaround times and overall run lengths were growing shorter.

 

Results

 

Results

75% reduction in production time  Achieved faster job turnaround
  • Higher productivity with the redundancy of two RICOH Pro C9110 Digital Presses
  • A new ability to produce short-run books on the RICOH Pro C7100X Digital Press
  • Inline punching capabilities reduced production time by 75% for a particular product
  • Printing on stickers, synthetics, thick and textured stocks opened new business opportunities in real estate and healthcare
  • Improved color management with G7 processes to provide accurate color matching between offset and digital devices

In evaluating Ricoh's solutions, the 13" × 27.5" oversized sheet capabilities on the RICOH Pro C9110 and support for media up to 400 gsm stood out for Torres. By providing the ability to keep previously outsourced work in-house and meet tightening customer deadline requests comfortably, the system was a win-win. Adding the redundancy of a second RICOH Pro C9110 after acquiring another print shop improved productivity even more.

“We bought our first 9110 a couple of years ago, and then we picked up another one earlier this year. Because of the speed, because of its ability to not slow down on jobs, specifically with in-line punching, we're able to run one specific job about 75% faster than before," says Torres. “Behind the curtains we're able to use less people, in less time to produce the same amount of work, which, obviously, improves our bottom line."

Using the 5th Color Station on their Pro C7100X Series Digital Press, AlphaGraphics has also been able to produce noteworthy marketing efforts for their business, particularly using white toner on dark substrates for impactful direct mail campaigns to existing customers and prospects.

Using targeted marketing campaigns and a dynamic sales team, the franchise has leveraged their Ricoh technology investments to broach new markets, including high-end real estate and healthcare. Taking advantage of the ability to print on durable synthetic media, they have found success producing healthcare training binders, among other wins. Looking to the future, Torres is optimistic about the prospects for the company based on his ability to accept new and different work, without the fear of compromising on quality or his ability to meet stringent deadlines.

“I give a lot of credit to Ricoh, because what it allows me to do is say yes, more often. 'Can you do this? Yes. Can I get it by such and such a time. Yes,'" explains Torres. “It's really me being able to say yes to as many requests as possible, because our turnaround times…the runs don't slow down based on oversized sheets or 400 gsm. We can run very fast, and we can meet their quality requirements."

 

How We Did It

 

How We Did It

“The investment in new technology in our business is typically about being able to do what you can't do. But it also has to do with productivity. We have grown our business while keeping our staffing the same over a long history."

Manuel Torres Managing Partner AlphaGraphics San Francisco & Marin County, CA 

  • Installed a second RICOH Pro C9110 Digital Press
  • Installed a RICOH Pro C7100X in Marin County location for high-quality,short-run work requiring quick turnarounds, special substrates and 5th color
  • Increased productivity with inline Plockmatic booklet finishers
  • Added capability to produce short-run books more efficiently
  • Increased substrates capabilities, including 13" × 27.5" oversized sheets for trifold brochures
  • Utilized Trained Customer Replaceable Units (TCRU) to help make preventative maintenance more predictable and easier to manage

To begin, Ricoh provided assistance with space planning and workflow as part of the hardware evaluation process. The goal was to help ensure AlphaGraphics would not only had the right technologies in place, but the capability to maximize their ROI across the operation based on the types of work they produced.

Based on volume demands and the company's satisfaction with their initial system, a second RICOH Pro C9110 Digital Press was installed. In addition to providing familiar operation, the system added a level of redundancy to ensure challenging client deadlines could always be met.

The company also added a RICOH Pro C7100X Series Digital Press featuring the 5th Color Station. “We have an industrial manufacturer in the Bay Area who used to print 20,000 — 50,000 run books. Based on the quality that the RICOH 7100X provides, they're able to run shorter runs. And so they've tailored some of their channel marketing programs to use that to their advantage. Instead of having a one-size-fits-all book, they can customize it and tailor it to their distribution channels, possibly co-branding maybe a few different products that they do on the bigger run. They really liked that, and they're not making a tradeoff as far as quality. So, that's kind of fun for us."

Ricoh's Color Management services have helped the business maintain consistency on jobs that are proofed digitally and produced on offset technology in the company's Marin County location. By training staff on G7 protocols and putting processes in place to ensure consistent color on high-volume direct mail projects, the company can produce proofs faster and more efficiently with the confidence that the final print run will match their clients' expectations.