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A Workflow Solution
Workflow not only establishes ColorCentric’s unique processes, it’s what defines the company.
“Our workflow is what differentiates us,” said John Lacagnina, the company’s owner, whose facilities are Rochester, N.Y., and Portland, Ore.
“We don’t have a single printer — I mean, a printer-technology person — in our business. We have mechanical engineers, software engineers, electrical engineers. Basically, we’re an engineering company, and we think of printing as more manufacturing process than a printing process.”
ColorCentric provides private label, back-end manufacturing and fulfillment in the photo and publishing industries. It prints photobooks and publishing books (both hard cover and soft cover), calendars and greeting cards.
“We output great books. We do high volume — over 4,000 products. We produce one-off-one at a time. That’s our strength.”
“We introduced lay flat books about five or six years ago, and the market wasn’t ready for that at the time. Now they’re popular.”
The company also developed its own cloud software package and integrated it into an automated process. It licenses the software for manufacturing globally, including China, New Zealand, Australia, Canada, Brazil, France, and soon in India.
In fact, Lacagnina looks to connections he’s made at Dscoop to find customers for his software licenses.
“A lot of these visitors (to Dscoop) are good prospects,” he said.
“The best takeaways are networking and bouncing ideas off of other printers with similar problems … to make sure you’re not crazy.”
“And the parties are great at Dscoop. There are a lot of good people in the organization.”
ColorCentric is Lacagnina’s sixth company; he started his first in 1974. He urges other entrepreneurs to “take risks into areas that are not necessarily obvious benefits today.”
“Look to other industries for technology, like 3D printing. Obviously, that’s going to be a big market.”
“Quite frankly most of our ideas come from outside the industry. The integration of technology that you wouldn’t expect … turns into a high value, like what it is happening in the social networks. You wouldn’t think that would have applications in printing.”
“The web creates this ubiquitous playground and everyone knows what everyone is doing.”
On the other hand, it also makes it more challenging to meet the customer’s expectations.
“But that is good news and bad news because customers all want something unique. When you design something for one customer, another customer may like the idea and want to change it.”
Some customers come with a different product spec and some come with a pricing challenge or turn-around challenge, Lacagnina said.
“One customer wanted to give a product away as part of his marketing campaign, and he needed it to be shipped virtually the same day. The challenge is how do you make a high-quality product fast, accurately and still make money at it.”
“You have to educate the customer on how to optimize the process to give them what they want. Sometimes, they have specifications that are incongruent with manufacturing.”
“That’s our challenge in our industry today. We all have the same technology, the same software, but the question is how do you put it together?”
The answer, he said, is automation from the website to out-the-door.
“It never ceases to amaze me when someone says, ‘It can’t be done.’ You keep challenging them, and sooner or later, they’ll figure out a way.”
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