Lindsay Yates feeding Indigo beast

Lindsay Yates is aiming to double print job numbers with its new HP Indigo 10000 on track to churn out 100 jobs a day in the near future.

Speaking at an LIA plant tour of the company’s Sydney factory last night, director David Shoppee says with prices falling Lindsay Yates needs to put a lot more print through the door.

“It is the Harvey Norman effect – 10 years ago it sold digital televisions for $6000. Now they cost $1000, so it has to sell a lot more to make the same profit,” he says.

“It is the same with print. Our makeready costs have gone up significantly and the price per job is on the way down, so we have to do more print to make up for that."

[Related: Switching to digital]

Shoppee says sales are on track to where he wants them to be, and they are getting new work from new clients since the Indigo was installed by Currie in May, not just shifting work from offset.

“Globally 50 per cent of work on the Indigo 10000 is new work for its owner as it opens new markets, and we are seeing that here too,” he says.

Shoppee says short run B2 carton and packaging work is a market that has opened up and one Lindsay Yates is pursuing with vigour along with other new opportunities.

The next step is to fully automate all workflow processes with new software including a Tharstern MIS and Agfa Apogee 9 file management system that comes online in two weeks and web-based proofing soon after.

“The Indigo is a very hungry machine so we need to feed the beast. The best way to do that and handle the volume of work we need is to push automation very hard,” he says.

“Automation also gives our pre-press team more time for complex bespoke jobs that need to be done manually instead of being rushed like they used to be.”

The MIS will stripping JDF data and content and push it around the whole production system, and use its estimating system to decide whether it should be printed offset or digital, and Apogee pre-flighting and delivering the files to the machine.

Shoppee says the crossover point between offset and digital is usually a run of about 2000, and that the system can also handle wide format but has not been set up to do so yet.

The bold move by Lindsay Yates followed months of soul searching by directors Shoppee and Paul Richardson after they renewed the factory lease for another seven years.

“We had to think about if we would still be around in seven years if we kept doing what we were doing, and what was needed to secure the future of the business,” he says.

“The challenge for us as baby boomers is accepting change, but we decided there was more risk in not changing.”

Change was challenging for the rest of the staff too, as many were set in their ways and had to be careful not to fall back into old habits as time went on.

[Related: Kitted up]

Shoppee says the Indigo can do 1000 A4 flyers in six minutes as opposed to 30-40 on offset, and staff were not fully prepared for the speed of the new paradigm.

“It was a big culture change, particularly in post-press, as smaller jobs are being done much faster on digital. The whole business has to be process driven to get the work in the door, pay off the machine and make money,” he says.

“We are on a digital path, but offset is not dead and still a big part of what we do. It has been a tough journey but we mapped out a plan and are executing it.”

Shoppee thanked LIA members for coming to look at the factory and said he is not concerned about competitors looking under the hood.

“All technology is just an enabler – it is what you do with it that makes the difference. We want to encourage others to learn the same lessons we did and drive their own change,” he says.

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