I have been so immersed in virtual proofing over the last several posts, that I had almost forgotten how much I still love the smell of ink in the morning. Last week I had the privilege of spending two days assisting a customer in the set-up of our software primarily for use as a pressroom monitoring tool.
The experience reminded me of #55: Just Measure It! The customer is a web offset shop and has the same problem that most of our digital printing customers have (Oh, I love the smell of toner in the morning too!). The problem is that their press product is finished product and has no trim. Color bars are not an option on production work, and changing the design to incorporate color swatches would also be impractical at this time.
The solution turned out to be the same solution we employee with our digital printing customers. A test form is put on press twice a day and the results of those measurements are used to verify conformance to density standards across the web. A second control strip can be scanned to gather other print metrics like TVI, Print Contrast, etc.
The results in a sister shop have been improved consistency from day to day and the ability to monitor changes in density and TVI from morning (cold press) to afternoon (warm press). In a perfect world I would love to see color bars on every job, but we thought outside the box and found them a solution that allowed us to measure. Once they started measuring quality and consistency improved. Profitability and productivity are never far behind quality and consistency improvements.
I raise the challenge againâ€¦today start measuring something in your color workflow that you are not measuring today. Within seven days those measurements will point the direction you need to go to improve the quality and consistency of that process.