From a printing shop to a full-service printing agency
Robert Berlanda works at LONGO as the "Technical Manager for Print & Services." We talked with him about why service is now so important in the printing sector and why LONGO regards itself as a fullservice agency in the area of printing.
You are the "Technical Manager for Print & Services." Just how important is the combination of print and services in the age of online printing shops?
For us, it is fundamental! After all, our customers are usually unfamiliar with the machinery we use and the possibilities our technologies offer. We view ourselves as a full-service agency capable of providing our customers with consulting and support. Ideally, we offer 100% support from the initial conceptual phase all the way down to the finished product. This allows us to make sure that everything is optimally matched, and guarantees perfect results for the customer. Even after production, we are there for him and can assist in marketing and distribution.
The worldwide trend is towards specialization. Is that true for the printing sector, too?
Yes. Here, too, it is important that one find one's niche. That is because it is an extremely competitive market, with many competitors defining themselves exclusively on the basis of volume and price. We here at LONGO have taken a completely different approach. We have specialized in the production of high-quality printed products for which we employ a number of special techniques – which we have, in part, developed in-house. We are heavily invested in the area of UV printing, and our Spectra7 ® technology allows us to produce extremely vivid colors. We achieve stunning results by means of the extraordinarily good integration of marketing, sales, prepressing, color management, and printing.
Since we are a full-service agency, our customers have to deal with only a single contact-person for all of their questions and concerns. That saves time and money. But it also means that none of us here at Longo can view himself as only a specialist for his own narrow field, since we would then be unable to fulfill our role as consultants. Rather, in the framework of the LONGO Academy, we ensure that all of our employees familiarize themselves with adjacent fields. They understand what their colleagues are doing. In this way, we get multi-specialists who are aware of what is happening in previous and subsequent work steps. This has proven to be a great help to us in planning projects in an optimal fashion.
You mentioned UV printing. Can you explain that to us?
The unique thing about this is the use of photoactive inks in the printing process which, after coming into contact with the paper, are immediately (within a fraction of a second) dried using ultraviolet light. A separate drying process can thus be dispensed with, and the product can be immediately subjected to further processing. Additionally, surface sealing agents or varnishes can be dispensed with, and even very absorbent materials can be printed on.
The drawback – if you will – is the high demands it makes of prepressing and color management, who have to precisely know what inks are to be used and how. Only then can perfect end results be achieved.
What can we expect in the future?
It is quite clear that the trend is towards individualization. Especially print products, merged with technology, in small jobs. And of course: It will become increasingly necessary to produce extremely quickly, on demand. Nevertheless, the requirement for high quality will not diminish.
LONGO is perfectly poised to fulfill all of these demands in these areas. Furthermore, the Marketing Toolbox offers our customers the opportunity to obtain standard printed products in extremely short times.
For us, therefore, the future clearly means: 360° print!