Mellow Colour PrintSpec

Describe your business

We are a third-generation family business, established in 1920. We employ about 70 people in Auckland. We offer a mixture of offset and digital and produce a lot of point-of-sale, packaging and marketing material. We take our environmental credentials very seriously. We are carbon neutral, we have ISO 14001 and are FSC- and PEFC-certified. At the recent sustainable business awards, we came second after Westpac.

What have you bought?

We have installed Mellow Colour’s PrintSpec software as part of our push to get certified to ISO 12647. PrintSpec is a management system to control your colour accuracy and consistency. It was installed through Fujifilm NZ, which supplies us with TrueFlow software and plates. As part of their contract, they helped us attain the colour standard. They have also installed a new Epson proofer, which has an inline spectrophotometer.

What does it do?

It is a combination of system and training. At the end of it, you get a certification plus they continue to monitor you. They come in and show you how to fingerprint your press to proof to check everything is within ISO rules.

Why did you choose this product?

Last year, I did the top technology tour with Heidelberg in the lead-up to Ipex. We went and saw best-practice printing plants in the UK and Europe. The two things that jumped out were that all the printers were doing lean manufacturing – which we are doing – and that they also all had ISO 12647-2. They called it ‘print by numbers’. I saw Mellow Colour presented at Ipex and I already knew it was used at a lot of Australia printers. The benefit of running a colour management system like this is that you can say with surety that you are printing to a standard. You don’t get in to arguments with your clients. It also speeds up your workflow and standardises your makereadies.

Did you consider any other products?

Not really. We already had a Heidelberg system called Colour Toolbox, which is similar. Colour Toolbox does a number of different things, including colour management. Print Spec has replaced
the Heidelberg product for colour management but we will continue to use other features of Colour Toolbox.

What features do you particularly like?

One of the features we quite like is that the system gives you a reference of what direction you need to go in order to get a 100% score. For instance, it will tell you
if need to drop cyan by 3% or lift magenta by 2% and that will get you a little bit closer so you don’t need to think about it. It means less trial or error.

Is there anything you wish it had that it doesn’t?

It is all so new to us that, at this stage, we don’t know what else we would like. Ask us again in a year’s time.

How easy is it to use?

Four of us took part in the training over three days. It was a lot to take onboard: it is a pretty intense piece of software. But like anything, the more you use it, the easier it becomes. It becomes second nature. You don’t need to be rocket scientist. We already had the Heidelberg system here, which is along similar lines so that gave us a bit of a head start.

Has it saved time and money?

Absolutely. It has sped up makereadies and reduced our set-up waste. There is less trial and error. Some of our customers now use us as the colour standard for all their print work.

Has it won you any new business?

It has helped us win more work from existing clients. We were already doing poster work for Estée Lauder, and they are now using us to run some of their large-format work. We picked up the contract to do their backlits because we had the colour management system.

Were there any difficulties surrounding the install?

No. It all happened pretty quickly. There was very little disruption to production, which was a good thing.

How has the service been?

Fantastic. Fujifilm NZ and David Crowther were really great. They
speak the right language as our guys.

Who is this product right for?

Print-by-numbers is a must for any printing company that is producing lots of four-colour process work. It removes the argument from clients about different presses running differently.

Supplier’s response

Soar Printing required a method of ISO 12647 certification so that they could close the loop on the correct procedures, process control and colour quality assurance. The specialised colour measurement and control training received, together with the Mellow Colour PrintSpec report software, set them up with a colour quality system that enables predictable colour, reduces makeready times, reduces materials wastage, improves customer satisfaction and improves communi­cation with their broad customer base.

David Crowther, Colour Graphic Services

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