By Olivia Cahoon
Part 2 of 2
Short runs, fast turnaround, and the ability to produce variable runs entice print providers to invest in digital label printing equipment. Clients from brand owners to manufacturing plants benefit from a variety of size, color, and shape options, as well as customization.
Decades of Experience
Swift Printing & Communications, Inc. started in 1950 as a letterpress print shop in Rapids, MI. With two employees in a 2,000 square foot workspace, the business originally scouted for jobs in its local newspaper—responding to newlywed announcement advertisements and offering invitation printing services.
The company since grew to offer digital, offset, letterpress, large format, and variety of finishing options from soft touch to layflat bindery services. “With strategic and sustainable growth in mind we have matured a little every year,” comments Jes Gutowski Slaydon, third-generation owner/sustainability leader, Swift Printing & Communications, Inc.
From its 21,000 square foot facility, Swift Printing & Communications is one of two certified B corporation commercial print shops in the world. “We want to be everyone’s printer, but most importantly, we want to do the work for our neighbors and friends,” says Slaydon. “And because we do the work for our neighbors, we’re held to a higher standard. We want them to be proud to show their printed products to the world.”
Swift Printing & Communications offers a variety of digitally printed products, including banners, brochures, business cards, CD cases, envelopes, flyers, guitar picks, letterhead, menus, posters, rack cards, short-run books, and t-shirts. The print provider also produces a range of labels for restaurant and retail clients to the automobile industry.
It started to use digital printing technology in 2006 with the Xerox iGen3 90. “As our customers started ordering in shorter runs, we finally found a brand of digital equipment that connected with our culture and the quality was to a caliber that would meet our customers’ expectations,” says Slaydon.
For label printing, the print provider users a Xerox iGen4 and MGI Meteor DP8700 S—both selected for the ability to cost-effectively produce smaller quantities. Currently, 20 percent of its entire work is digitally printed labels.
According to Slaydon, the largest benefit the business experiences from digitally printing labels is the ability to produce short-runs and variable data—enabling savings that passes onto customers. “The time it would take us to print the plates and setup a job for a short-run label would be a waste of money for our customers compared to the quality we can deliver from digital.”
Swift Printing & Communications’ label stock includes a variety of suppliers based on customer needs. It also utilizes a majority of synthetic stock for outdoor and long-term work, but selects an array of different adhesions based on the label’s use.
Labels for Manufacturing
In 2018, a repeat customer in the manufacturing industry approached Swift Printing & Communications for labels. The customer needed labels to help with the manufacturing plant’s day-to-day operations and to ensure procedures are properly followed.
The print provider created the design files in Adobe InDesign and printed on 7 mm PPG TESLIN label stock with the Xerox iGen4 using matte dry ink. “This is the most cost-effective way to print these labels for our customers,” comments Slaydon.
The Xerox iGen4 is a production color printer with speeds up to 120 impressions per minute. It handles media up to 14.33×22.5 inches, including coated, uncoated, textured, recycled, and specialty stocks.
From job submittal to finished product, it took Swift Printing & Communications five to seven business days to complete the job. The print provider experienced no challenges due to its nearly automated digital printing process.
According to Slaydon, this particular job stands out from previous label printing work due to the client’s industry. “It’s fun to have a hand in the manufacturing business. These labels are not super unique, but they play an important role for our customers.”
The labels were completed on time and the customer was satisfied with the final product. “Our goal is always to deliver our products on time and done correctly; in the event an error is made we always make it right. In my opinion, that’s why we have been in business for 68 years,” offers Slaydon.
With its digital printing technology, Swift Printing & Communications offers customers cost-effective, short-run labels. “When doing variable data or if you’re doing a short run, there’s no better way to be able to pass savings on to our customers than with a digital printer,” comments Slaydon.
The print provider continues to educate customers on the benefits of digital technology for label production and works to be a source of knowledge for all types of professionals. “Educating customers on best practices and working together on our relationships to make each order more robust and streamlined is what it’s all about,” she concludes.
May2019, DPS Magazine