by Cassandra Balentine
Building a successful print business involves many considerations and investments for both employees and technologies. This is something TEAM Concept Printing & Thermography takes to heart. It fosters an innovative environment that encompasses the latest tools in order to stay ahead of the competition.
In 1998, TEAM Concept started out as a trade printer offering only thermography services. Over the last 23 years, the company has added to its offering with a range of items including business cards, direct mail, letterhead, envelopes, invitations, mailers, postcards and greeting cards, catalogs and manuals, brochures, posters, calendars, pocket folders, books, labels and packaging, embellishments, NCR, scratch offs, displays, point of purchase, banners, and yard signs, leading it to be the one-stop force it is today.
It completes all of this work with a strong portfolio of traditional and digital printing equipment, including a Kodak Nexpress ZX 3900, HP Indigo, Ricoh Pro 721X and 9210, Neopost Memjet Mac 6, Canon Arizona 2260 XT flatbed UV printer, Canon imagePROGRAF IPF8000s, HP Latex 365 wide format printer, Komori GL 640L, Komori Lithrone SX29W with coater and H-UV curing system, Komori Lithrone 628P, Albo AS1000 pile turner, Presstek 34DI, Ryobi 3304HA, four Ryobi 2800 CD, Ryobi 3302, AB Dick 9985, thermography lines, and an MGI JET Varnish 3DL with foil.
The print provider also operates a full bindery with solutions from Baum, Bell and Howell, C.P. Bourg, Heidelberg, Kluge, MBO, MCS, Moll, Morgana, Muller Martini, Rollem, Rosback, Stahl, Standard Finishing, TEC Lighting, and Therm-O-Type.
The company staffs 48 full-time employees and will add temporary workers as needed to fill any productivity gaps.
Tony Rouse, president/CEO, TEAM Concept, says that while it’s difficult to find skilled workers in general, it hasn’t been difficult for him to keep good employees due to the culture it has created. “I believe wholeheartedly in team mentality. Divided we have no chance, our culture is one of understanding, which has helped us. We don’t have a lot of turnover,” he offers.
Based in Carol Stream, IL, the company primarily serves the Midwest and some of the East coast. Its production happens in a 60,000 square foot facility.
Focused on Growth
TEAM Concept supports a variety of print products and continues to invest in the latest equipment.
Digital printing made up 22 percent of the company’s sales in 2020. Rouse says the quality across all platforms is impressive, and its ability to handle thicker and wider media makes it more attractive.
One of the most exciting services the company offers is digital print embellishment. In 2018, the shop invested in the MGI Jet Varnish 3DL with foil. With this machine, TEAM Concept produces a range of digital embellishments, including raised spot UV coating, raised spot foil embossing, raised UV varnish or foil emboss, and variable thickness capabilities with raised UV varnish or foil emboss.
Embellishment has proven to be a great addition for the shop’s direct mail work, but it also allows it to be more competitive in the packaging space.
The company was set to make major technology investments for digital packaging into the Summer of 2020. A global pandemic was also looming. After the first few weeks of lock down practices, TEAM Concept realized that this new way of business was here for the long run, and it could either keep its head down and try to get by, or utilize the time to invest in itself. It chose the latter and brought in new equipment that would allow it to level up its packaging and embellishment services.
“We talked about it and decided that adding new equipment as planned would be a good way to keep our employees busy and work on ourselves to come out a better company,” says Rouse. He recalls similar struggles following 9/11 as well as the recession between 2009 and 2011. While those times were tough, it grew from it and eventually came out on top.
Among the new products TEAM Concept introduced was a digital die cutter, specifically the Rollem Insignia7H. This was installed to improve its in-house finishing capabilities. The die cutter provides the ability to accommodate a range of finished products, including stickers, decals, pocket folders, specialized brochures, and folding cartons.
While the shop has always offered packaging work, it would occasionally have to ship out some of it. Now, it handles everything—including embellishments and die cutting—100 percent in house, which allows for better control over turnaround.
Since the implementation, Rouse says the shop has done projects with corrugated and shipping containers, along with retail items like cologne and candle boxes. “It’s been cool to see our packaging develop, and that leads us into opportunities for embellishment, including packaging that incorporates foil or spot UV,” he adds.
One of the best things a print provider can do is invest in its own marketing. This is especially true when offering unique services like embellishment. While many of its customers are aware of the potential and were asking for this type of work three years ago when it was first implemented, adoption has yet to reach critical mass and therefore there is still a lot of opportunity.
A savvy print provider, TEAM Concept has worked to create self-promotional items that show off its digital print and embellishment capabilities.
In one example of a self-promotional piece that included embellishment, printing was done on the Komori GL 640L five-color press and a suede laminate was added via its KOMFI SAGITTA 76 laminator. Then, using MGI JET varnish 3DL, sculpted spot UV and digital foil were featured throughout.
Another self-promotional piece included a short-run job printing on the Ricoh Pro 9210. A soft touch aqueous coating was applied using its offline TEC Lighting coater and spot UV coating was added using the MGI JET varnish 3DL.In another short-run piece, TEAM Concept utilized its Kodak Nexpress ZX 3900 and applied a matte aqueous coating using its offline TEC Lighting coater. This was followed by a spot UV coating off of the MGI JET varnish 3DL.
Ready to Roll
TEAM Concept is well adept at working through a challenge and coming out on top. When it was clear that the pandemic wasn’t going away, it decided to review its operations and take the best course of action. It went full steam ahead, positioning itself well for future success. dps
Jan2022, DPS Magazine