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Buy it or Build It? - That is the Question

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  • Buy it or Build It? - That is the Question

    Share your thoughts on this industry challenge!

    Do you Buy it or do you Build It?

    (Edited to comply with [Terms of Use|] )

    Edited by: Eric Vessels on Aug 27, 2007 4:20 PM

  • #2
    Re: Buy it or Build It? - That is the Question

    In terms of workflows I guess it all depends on what you want to achieve and your budget.

    Regards, John.
    Regards, John
    Technical Manager - RR Donnelley


    • #3
      Re: Buy it or Build It? - That is the Question

      It would help if you could define what "it" is.


      • #4
        Re: Buy it or Build It? - That is the Question

        What's cheaper?

        It's not always what's the best fit but about the bottom line.


        • #5
          Re: Buy it or Build It? - That is the Question

          The best fit makes the bottom line, not the other way around. Going cheap is so short sighted that it sounds like our customers.

          For years we've collectively been complaining about how customers simply pick printers by price, price, price, but when it comes to our own purchases, we do the same thing? I don't think so.

          Use the right tool for the job, and give your employee's the tools they need to do that job. Give your customer the best product you can.

          With that, I believe that it's almost always a "build your own" type of situation, but you're still buying a Kodak/Esko/Artwork/Rampage system. You need to take what the vendors offer and tune it to your situation. The brains behind the system are what make it truly unique.



          • #6
            Re: Buy it or Build It? - That is the Question

            Apparently you've never worked for a company where money was extremely tight and the best fit was out of your price range.

            Good position to be in I suppose.

            You said it, price price price IS the holy grail, customers no longer care that you have the latest nifty new ctp, proofer , blaa, blaa, blaa etc...they want it cheap and now.

            If you are dealing with such tight margins how can you justify spending say 30 thousand cheeseburgers when you can buy a solution (although maybe not as robust and as good a fit) for 15 thousand cheesburgers? Is it short sighted to buy what you can afford?

            I personally know of several printers using only ai and a cheap rip, are they wrong because they don't have the latest offerings from Kodak/EskoArtwork (hate that name) or Rampage?

            I have been on both sides, bare bones vs. all out solutions and I'll take all out any day but not every printer has that option.


            • #7
              Re: Buy it or Build It? - That is the Question

              I totally disagree with the concept of buying a "cheap" front end solution. This is the backbone of your company. If you are going with the cheapest solution you can find you should expect to fight daily to get files into and out of your system. I'm not saying price is the determining factor, but you should not go bargain shopping with so much at stake. Test the solutions your looking at completely and compare your kind of work among them. Take the top three and find out as much as you can. If at the end of all that your happy with all three, then by all means look at price. But to limit yourself right out of the gates on price, regardless of the size and budget of your company, is doing a great disservice and will haunt you for years to come. I know there are budget restraints in smaller companies, and I have worked for places like this, but there are just some things you do right and cost must be secondary. i believe that your front end system is one of those places. Otherwise, you could very much find yourself being a casualty in the future of printing. Invest wisely and ensure your solution will work. Buying a cheap solution that doesn't work for your type of incoming files is wasting your limited budget needlessly. You would be better off saving up for the right solution.


              • #8
                Re: Buy it or Build It? - That is the Question

                All things being equal give me the right solution.

                I have dealt with owners who simply don't know how important it is and franky for all intents and purposes don't care.

                Pressroom issues they understand, prepress workflows are just a bunch of acronyms and tech talk to them.

                Some day I hope to deal with management that come from a prepress background that understand the needs of modern prepress department.

                Again, I would much rather have the correct solution, but that's not always the case for reasons stated above.

                I invite more folks to disagree with my agreement.


                • #9
                  Re: Buy it or Build It? - That is the Question

                  I had heard many owners refer to prepress as the black hole. Nothing but dollars in and, in their view little ROI. There are a few operations around my area, S Tx, that do focus on prepress as much as the rest of the operation, these are obviously doing the best, but how do you convince naysayers otherwise when they have to invest to take a peek behind curtain #3, which happens to have the biggest prize, more profit.


                  • #10
                    Re: Buy it or Build It? - That is the Question

                    I too have heard the "black hole" analogy. But, money speaks to those people. So build your case based on dollars not tech talk. Try and show the cost savings with a particular system upgrade. Use current FTE time that it takes to do certain tasks associated with your current method of prepress. Multiply that out to get a monthly or yearly figure. Now with your proposed solution, do the same thing. Where will it save you time and steps in the process? How will the owners bottom line look using your new system? How much more can you do without adding any FTE's (i.e. how much capacity increase will the new system net you)? Show the "cheeseburgers (Dollars, Euros)" and how soon you will get your ROI. This is what will speak to your "black hole" people. Show the savings and let the numbers do the talking.


                    • #11
                      Re: Buy it or Build It? - That is the Question

                      Totally agree Allen.

                      This is the way to go, don't get me wrong I haven't been totally unsucessfull in getting upgrades, my favorite was showing the owner a PS filter being run on a Quadra 950 (yea Quadra and not that long ago I might add) alongside a G3 that I had gotten in to replace another 950 which I claimed had died (it hadn't). After seeing the G3 complete the filter in about 30 seconds while the Quadra was still chugging away after 10 minutes he busted out his credit card.

                      I'm just glad I don't have to deal with that crap anymore.


                      • #12
                        Re: Buy it or Build It? - That is the Question

                        IMO, building your own is the way to go. While buying a complete system like Apogee is simple, I think it leaves the MFG in a position where they are now responsible for to much so each area only gets so much attention. Buy the most robust solutions from companies that are only supporting that product.

                        I think RAMpage is a good example of this. They make a great RIP because it's all they do. Then they tried to do the ICC profile/ proofing thing and it was/is lousy.
                        Matthew "LAMMY" Lamoureux
                        918 Printery - Ad artem artium conservatricem conservandam


                        • #13
                          Re: Buy it or Build It? - That is the Question

                          G-Town, this kinda sounds like a chicken and the egg conversation. Are the successful companies that way because they invest in their people and technology, or do they invest in their people and company because they're successful. Believe me I've been in my fair share of environments where prep was looked at as "a black hole" and through effort, logic, tons of hard work and just making things work, I've succeeded at getting to where I am.

                          Success begets success. Make a better mouse trap, and the world will beat a path to your door.



                          • #14
                            Re: Buy it or Build It? - That is the Question

                            Why do you think the icc option from rampage is so lousy?
                            I have my two epsons dialed in so close to our presses that almost all our customers that were getting
                            Fuji final proofs have switched to the epsons because the color is dead on and they are a 10th of the cost.


                            • #15
                              Re: Buy it or Build It? - That is the Question


                              I did not run or own the company, nor did I make the financial decisions.

                              I merely pointed out some people don't consider it (prepress) as important as having a shiny new press.

                              You don't need to lecture me on the need for a good workflow, after 20 years I'm well aware, I was merely trying to point out it's not always so easy, even with the right ammo, to convince certain people to purchase what's needed.

                              For that reason, among many others, I quit that place and now work for a company with the resources and understanding of what's needed.

                              Perhaps this was the wrong place to vent my frustrations with ignorant owners.


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