Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff: A Small-Format Laminating Time-Saver

Laminating small stuff, like menu boards and table tents, can be a real pain. Just ask Chuck Black, print shop manager for the Coors Distribution Center (CDC) in Denver.

I recently caught up with Black while he was laminating a run of about 1,500 11×17 signs for CDC accounts. The signs, printed on an OKI laser printer, are troubleshooting procedures for each account to follow regarding kegs and whatnot, and what to do if there are problems before calling in for service.

It’s not the most exciting project to come through the print shop, but it has to be done and they all have to be laminated. Fortunately, what would have previously taken a full day or two to run through the CDC’s larger laminator now takes relatively no time at all.

Earlier this year the CDC purchased a small-format GBC laminator, the HeatSeal Sprint 950, which eliminates the hassle of trimming out each piece individually: you feed the printed sheets (usually up to 30, depending on the thickness of the media) and, voila, a laminated piece with a nice 1/8″ border encapsulating each one.

“We got the laminator to save time trimming everything down. All the small-format media we laminated was going through our 38” laminator, and especially when we were doing hundreds of sheets at a time it would just take forever,” says Black. “Since we got the laminator we’ve easily saved 40 to 50 hours of labor time. You just load your paper and you can pretty much walk away from it.”

Black estimates that about 10 percent of the work that goes through the OKI is laminated. Though it’s a relatively small percentage of the small-format printing, it really adds up and was a real time-killer before the acquisition of the laminator.

Black normally uses the 3 mil laminate designed for the GBC laminator, which comes in various roll sizes and is 11″ wide. He switches to the 5 mil version for signs that need a little more substance to them, either for a higher-end look or so they can stand on their own in a tabletop holder.

“You can set the laminator to 11 inches wide and however long you want each piece to be laminated; we usually set it at 11×17. But if you had a roll of 11-inch paper you could laminate a length up to 200 feet,” explains Black. “We’ve printed two per sheet so afterwards I can use my industrial cutter, line everything up and do two or three chops at once and go through the entire stack.”

For more information about GBC laminates and laminators available at LexJet, contact a customer service specialist at 800-453-9538. To find out more about the laminator and how it works, check out the video embedded below…

Gaining Market Share with Quantity and Quality at Carolina Premium Beverage

Large format inkjet printers for point of saleYou would be hard-pressed to find someone who loves their job more than Sandy Woods, who runs the sign shop – make that “art department” – at Carolina Premium Beverage in Concord, N.C., which is near Charlotte.

“I prefer to call it the art department because I have a degree in art  and we really focus on design as opposed to just mass producing signs,” explains Woods. “I love what I do. I have been here at Carolina Premium Beverage for five years, and have been in design my entire career. I know in my heart that I will retire here. This is home to me; I love this company.”

Using typography for point of sale designThat attitude alone is worth its weight in ink, a.k.a. liquid gold, and the art department has been instrumental in making Carolina Premium Beverage’s brands, chief among them MillerCoors, tops in the distributor’s market, which includes Charlotte and about six surrounding counties.

As you can see by the samples pictured here, design takes precedence over everything else. It is that foundation which secures valuable, premium space for Carolina’s Premium Beverage’s point-of-sale graphics.

The second piece that builds on that foundation, and which ensures the quality and timeliness of the finished prints, is the right equipment and the personal support to go along with it. “I would never want to do my job without LexJet and Kelly [Price, Woods’ customer specialist],” says Woods. “Kelly is a life saver. Most of the time, I order materials a week out, but they’re usually here the next day. When there are occasions when I need to order something right away, she’s right on top of it; she’s awesome to work with. I have two Canon iPF8000S printers that I got from LexJet as well and I love them. They’re super fast and you can’t beat the quality. Those are my babies; I can’t live without them.”

Cooler wraps at the point of saleThe “Siamese Twins,” as Woods calls them, help ensure fast turnaround times for Carolina Premium Beverage’s accounts, which is another way in which the distributor beats its competitors to the punch at the point of sale. Woods, who runs the art department by herself, also has an OKI laser printer for cooler tags, table tents and other small format point of sale.

“Our goal was to surpass the main competitor in our market, and we’ve largely succeeded. Part of that success is the fact that we can get our point of sale out the door much quicker,” says Woods. Ultimately, it is possible, and necessary, to provide quantity and quality point of sale graphics in order to build market share.

She estimates that the art department produces about 3,600 banners and posters a year, not counting special events and venues, like the Carolina Panthers’ football stadium and the Bobcats’ basketball arena.

Point of sale design and printingWoods says her “go-to” print material is LexJet TOUGHcoat Water-Resistant Polypropylene, which she uses for both indoor and outdoor point-of-sale projects. She also uses LexJet 11 Mil Valeron Banner for outdoor projects that need extra durability, and Photo Tex adhesive fabric for cooler wraps and special events, such as a recent Sugarland concert at the Verizon Wireless Amphitheater in Charlotte.

Special event and promotional bannersCarolina Premium Beverage was created in 2010 through the merger of three companies: Rudisill Enterprises of Gastonia, N.C., Cunningham Wholesale Company of Charlotte, and the Charlotte-based division of Caffey Distributing.

Each company has a long history in the beer distribution business. The owners of each company believed that by merging their businesses into one they could bring the best portfolio of beers to consumers in the Charlotte market area, says Woods. “It is our goal to be the leading beer supplier to retail customers serving consumers in the Charlotte area,” she adds.

Super Simple Display Stands for Tabletop Point of Sale Applications

Table tents and display stands for promotionsTable tents are a staple of beverage distributors and other print shops that provide point of sale promotions to bars, restaurants and other eatery-type establishments across this great land. The typical table tent, however, is rather flimsy and small, not that there’s anything wrong with that.

So, based on demand for a larger and more rigid display stand, LexJet is now offering Promo-Point 2-Sided Display Stands.

The Display Stands are built so they can fold up into the typical table tent triangle in seconds. Then, apply 8.5″ x 11″ Promo-Point Decals for color laser printers to either side (also available in a Frosted version), and there you have it. No fuss, no muss, easy as pie.

If you’re looking for a larger tabletop display (a.k.a., the aforementioned Promo-Point 2-Sided Display Stands), the more traditional table tent templates, point-of-sale printable materials – for both small and large format, laser and inkjet – and various point of sale doodads and whatnot, call a LexJet account specialist at 800-453-9538 and they’ll find what you’re looking for. 

OKI SignDirector Simplifies Distribution and In-Store Printing of Promotional Signs

Many LexJet customers are using high-quality, LED toner-based color printers from OKI Data Americas to cost-effectively produce smaller, short-term promotional signs and banners on card stock, water-resistant paper, banner papers, and other materials.  The new SignDirector application from OKI Data Americas promises to make these OKI color printers even more appealing—particularly to those companies that need an easy way to consistently produce error-free, updated signage at multiple stores.

How to Speed Up Turnaround Times for Small-Format POS Signs

Do you have questions related to the production of POS signage? LexJet has the answers! For example, many LexJet customers are beverage wholesalers who want tips on the most efficient way to produce small-format point-of-sale signs for their customers.

Q:  Is there a better way to speed up turnaround times for small-format signs such as table tents, cooler stickers and case cards?A: Many distributors have found that installing a super-fast and easy-to-use OKI digital color printer in the sales department makes a huge difference.

United Distributors in Atlanta needed a boost with small-format point-of-sale signage to provide that additional edge in the market. Turnaround times for case cards, table tents and other similar signage was running up to two weeks.

The answer was an OKI Color Signage Printer installed in the sales department. Tim Heminger, territory manager for United Distributors C-store division, says the installation was plug-and-play, it didn’t require new and expensive software or too much special training.

“A lot of the distributors believe you have to buy an expensive program and train on that software. Microsoft Office comes with Microsoft Publisher, and it works wonderfully with these printers. We’re able to set up some different-sized papers, grab a jpeg image, pop into Publisher and print it,” says Heminger.

Still, after about a month, Heminger realized that they needed an additional printer. The first printer was so convenient and easy to use that demand was quickly outstripping supply. So, the call was placed to LexJet for a new one, meeting United’s demand for a fast and easy solution to its small-format sign needs.