Firehouse Blog

Technology

FASTER, BETTER, FIREHOUSE!

paulnewpicComing off of a strong 2016, Firehouse is foreseeing fantastic growth opportunities for 2017! To meet that demand we are installing a new EFI Vutek HS125 printer in early May. This new machine is a hybrid system that can print both boards and roll goods. But the most exciting aspect of the HS125 is its print quality coupled with blazing speed.

Speed is everything now. For clients, print quality is a given. They want to know who can turn jobs the fastest since their turn times are always getting tighter. The HS125 will meet that demand.

In addition to faster production for existing work, the HS125 can handle print runs that are beyond the reach of other digital devices. Our clients now have options for those larger print runs that, traditionally, could only be produced by the offset shop.

Since jobs will be flying through the shop faster than ever now, clients will appreciate the ability to instantly check job status and tracking through our Spark software. Spark is free to all Firehouse clients and the intuitive browser interface allows 24/7 access to your Firehouse projects. We are continuously developing this application to build out the feature set. We recently added the ability to view and download invoices for any completed job.

To sum up our hardware and software, it’s Faster, it’s Better, it’s Firehouse!

Paul Meek
Vice President of Operations

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