Firehouse Blog

Technology

A Printer of a Different Color

RandyBlog2016Automation has been a focal point at Firehouse over the last few years. A decade ago, software automation at Firehouse entailed building macros in Excel, Photoshop or working with AppleScript. Fast forward, and this has evolved into true software development with a full-time team devoted to building applications that can automate the digital printing workflow like never before. CEO Terry Corman has stated many times that Firehouse is rapidly becoming a technology company that also prints. While Firehouse is first and foremost a printing company, software development has had a huge impact in how work flows through our facility.

The world has changed. It’s time for the printing industry to do the same.

Digital print clients want many things from their print vendors, but speed is always at the top of the list. As I’ve said many times, we live in an amazon.com world. Firehouse won’t be adding drone delivery any time soon, FireDronebut the on-demand speed expectation can’t be ignored. Deadlines are not just shrinking, soon they will vanish altogether with same-day shipments. Lengthy print runs are also becoming a thing of the past with variable data and a transition to an on-demand print model, which makes sense; why buy 5,000 of a piece you may or may not use when you can have us print them on the fly?

With that shift, everything changes. Printing one file 5,000 times is one thing. Printing 5,000 files one time each is an entirely different beast, and requires a new way of thinking. While many companies want to cling to the old ways of doing business, Firehouse embraces technology and loves the challenge of working differently. The leader of our team in Europe has noted “Firehouse is a chameleon; it changes to what the industry needs us to be.”

And so, Firehouse changes its colors once again, as it has many times in the past.

Randy Baer
Firehouse COO

File Creation Guidelines

JonPicFirehouse can print from most file types. But before you send us your Microsoft Publisher file (just kidding, don’t do that), know that the file format you provide can impact how fast your job moves into production. Not all file formats are created equal. In the on-demand marketplace, response time is everything.

Let’s try an analogy. Imagine a client wants a very specific food item from a caterer for an event, say a marinara sauce from an old family recipe. The client can send the caterer all the ingredients for the sauce. They would send tomatoes, garlic, onion, spices and a recipe to follow. But, what if the client forgot to send the basil? Or, the recipe isn’t clear how long to saute the onions? Substitute missing fonts, linked graphics or unclear print instructions and you get the idea.

IngredientsVSSauceNow imagine the client can simply make the sauce and send it to the caterer in a jar to serve at the event. Aside from grandmas around the world shrieking in horror about “SAUCE FROM A JAR!!”, the advantages are plain. Substitute a “High Quality Print” PDF file for the jar of sauce and my little analogy is complete.There are no questions about the content of that jar/PDF. It will be presented exactly as the client intended with no wasted effort.

Hours, or days, lost locating linked graphics or missing fonts can be a deadline killer. Sending High Quality Print PDFs (AKA print-ready PDFs) will eliminate many potential delays in the pre-production workflow. If nothing else sticks from this post, the number one take-away is to send High Quality Print PDF files.

I also asked our file prep team to list the most common problems they see with submitted files. Rather than make a simple do’s and don’t’s list, I decided to make a video to better illustrate these guidelines. This is a brief overview. I will go into more detail on specific topics in the near future. Any questions, leave a comment or send us an email at answers@fire-house.net.

Jon Heilman
Marketing Director

Firehouse Doubles Production Space!

PaulPic6-11-15-AIt’s been 12 years since Firehouse moved into our “new” building, as long-time employees refer to it. We left behind our namesake fire station in 2003 for our current facility. At the time, we thought the space was so vast, we considered leasing a portion of it to other businesses. No, really! Not long after we moved in, we filled it completely. A few more years went by and we added offsite warehouse space and storage facilities to house materials and parts. Finally, in the last couple years it was clear, we needed to expand again.

FirehouseExpansionThis week, Firehouse broke ground on a building expansion that will literally double our production space! That will allow us to close down the warehouse and storage facilities and 6-11-15-Bkeep everything under one roof. It will also shorten our response times for rush jobs and make our throughput even greater. And now we will have space to run multiple pack-outs simultaneously without the logistics challenges. Finally, it gives us the ability to add larger, specialized equipment, which again increases throughput. Construction will proceed through the summer.

Firehouse wants to be the most responsive printer for our clients. The on-demand world is constantly moving faster, and so are we.

Paul Meek
Vice President of Operations

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