How long does it take? When will they be ready? Can I have them for Friday?
One of the most common questions on a similar theme we’re asked at PrintHouse – and the answer is not always the same …
I remember several years ago we printed a “mock” calendar deliberately omitting Friday as this tended to be the day almost every project was asked for. It didn’t catch on although from a social angle I understand Thursday evening has evolved into the “new” Friday. A possible shift in attitude towards what used to be viewed as the end of the working week wind down for many …
Now, the technological advances in our industry sector, especially in the “pre-press” area involved with planning up jobs to print, proof and output plates, means larger projects are being handled/completed with even greater speed, to benefit all.
As a general rule, we suggest allowing 7 workings days from proof approval to cover majority of “standard” LITHO projects; by standard I mean a finished quantity of up to circa 20,000 – 30,000 copies (could be much higher for leaflets or cards) and finishing elements that may include lamination, creasing/folding and binding/stitching.
DIGITAL jobs are usually faster, as tend to be shorter runs with less set up.
We operate 6am – midnight printing shifts and similar finishing, so it’s often possible to work within these time frames if required, especially with minimal finishing. If any item has an immoveable deadline, as long as we know at the outset, or even better in advance, we’ll make a plan to ensure it happens or advise at the time if not possible.
OK, so which types of project can take longer than this standard time guideline?
Very long print runs, quite simply due to the press and finishing time needed; also, may involve a “special making” of paper/card to a specific sheet size to eliminate wastage and reduce material cost.
Hard back or case bound books take longer to finish, sometimes alleviated by a part supply of advance copies. If there are several bespoke finishing elements required within the same project, certainly needs bearing in mind. In these cases, it’s always preferable to put together a full production schedule working back from any deadline, so all parties know when artwork/approval is required and are therefore singing from the same laminated, UV varnished, foil blocked, die cut and embossed hymn sheet.
There are seasonal fluctuations, too. No surprise to learn wire binding for calendars peaks in October-December, but much quieter in February; Annual & Interim Reports are usually completed for April and September; graduate recruitment brochures are on press August and September.
Advance warning for upcoming projects can make the difference between a deadline being achievable, or otherwise – with this advance knowledge, we can schedule with repro for proofing (if required), reserve the press slots and check material availability with mill to ensure no delay.
Optimum months for those “forgotten about” projects (for example, exhibitions stands requiring brochures and display materials) are over the summer period & December.
“I thought xxx had discussed this with you before going away …”
As mentioned above, we’ve the flexibility to make a plan to meet most demands but will be 100% upfront if we feel requirement is not achievable. Please do get in touch by calling 020 8963 0123 or visit the PrintHouse website.