In part 1 of our coverage of SPC’s recent two-day event, we took some time to cover the open house event that SPC held with Canon and Target Marketing. In the second installment, we switch gears to focus on the new technologies that SPC is utilizing to better serve the direct mail market.
Driving Direct Mail Innovation
SPC officially unveiled its Océ ProStream 1000 Inkjet press, one of only two in the country as of this writing. SPC President Adam LeFebvre took to the stage with Senior VP of Operations, John Gaspari, as part of a Q&A with a room filled with regional and national printers, talking about SPC’s strategic partnership with Canon. As a participant in Canon’s LCP (Lead Candidate Program), SPC has invested significant resources in the latest production inkjet equipment. After utilizing an Océ VarioPrint i300 sheetfed inkjet press, SPC now has added the ProStream to better meet client print demand.
“Innovation drives us,” LeFebrve said, explaining that both Canon presses have led to brand new work for the company. But doubling down on Canon’s offerings was not a snap decision for leadership. The SPC team took nearly three years evaluating a variety of production inkjet solutions, because everyone had to be convinced that the chosen technology would be a quantum leap in quality and value for SPC and its customers.
He elaborated on this: “We were looking for a solution that could bring what we call ‘brand quality’ imagery to our market. That wasn’t available for a long time. We are very happy with the ProStream decision, and it delivers something special. We can produce pieces faster than we ever could in a sheetfed environment and really cater to our market’s needs—the things we’re really trying to do with our customers. Eventually, I think other people will catch up.”
Quality Is King
Gaspari was also thrilled with the print quality of the ProStream. He joked about the research process: “When I saw the quality, I didn’t know whether I should hug Adam or kick him.” It has been a game-changing purchase for SPC, as both machines have run solely on a diet of new work. No existing non-inkjet projects have been cannibalized for the Canon presses, and both have run nearly 24/7 since the Océ was installed earlier this year.
John Gebhardt, Prepress Manager at SPC, noted the importance of color accuracy, a huge win on the ProStream. “One of the biggest battles in offset printing is consistency with registration and color,” he said. “The battle with holding color is probably the biggest. This ProStream has eliminated that problem for us. Not only does the press sheet of this press match our Epson proofs, but once you lock in the color, it stays throughout the whole press run. The quality will be consistent through the whole printing of the job.” The press also allows SPC to hit a wider gamut of colors than an offset press.
As part of this two-day event at SPC, attendees were given the opportunity to tour SPC’s brand-new high-performance inkjet production facility—with customized walk-throughs led by Canon staff. The ProStream leaves many reasons for SPC customers to be excited. Cathy Leibrock, Director of Client Services at United Print Services, commented, “I’m very excited about the investment in technology. I look forward to leveraging variable imagery and data-driven content to test new creative formats to drive response.” Others were also impressed with SPC’s continued evolution. Jeff Rodis, Director of Marketing and Sales Operations at Mutual of Omaha, remarked: “You are putting together an awesome print and finish platform that will make SPC very competitive in the marketplace.”
When all is said and done, the latest print technology isn’t useful if it can’t bring greater effectiveness for SPC clients. That thinking informs all decisions SPC makes. Ryan LeFebvre, Executive VP of Sales, remarked, “It’s really important at SPC to partner with our clients. We need to make sure that our clients get the best ROI on all their direct mail projects. We believe the ProStream is the perfect fit for what they will want to do together with us–today and tomorrow. Maybe it’s about the expanded color gamut, the wide range of papers, or the 22-inch roll width. All of those features help us serve our clients and give them greater opportunities in the marketplace.”