TKM Print Solutions

“Significans Automation revolutionizes the way things are done at TKM”

tkm-logo-200x75TKM Print Solutions, a wide-format print provider founded in 2008, specialize in graphics production, kit packaging, fulfillment and advanced fabrication services. Their primary market is the retail sector. TKM President, Luke Messner has a mission to increase the business. To accomplish this, he has invested in automation technology to speed up the workflow. “The target,” says Messner, “is to double our production without increasing the pre-press headcount.” The man he charged with this responsibility is TKM’s I.T. and Production Solutions Manager, Chris Copeland.

The target is to double our production without increasing the pre-press headcount.”
– Luke Messner President, TKM

According to Copeland, growth requires an organized business logic. “We are developing the system to relieve pre-press bottlenecks; this allows us to feed more finished files to our existing printers.” With the help of Significans Automation, TKM has integrated a streamlined pre-press workflow that is interfaced with TKM’s order entry system. The workflow uses Enfocus Switch with Pitstop pre-flighting and Tilia Labs Phoenix for imposition. Using the meta-data from TKM’s MIS system eliminates errors by reducing the human interface, allowing the prepress operators to concentrate their efforts on value-added work as opposed to data entry.

Printing has become about people and process, it is better to discover issues with files early in the process than later.”
– Luke Messner President, TKM

According to Messner, “Printing has become about people and process, it is better to discover issues with files early in the process than later.” Pitstop has simplified the pre-press process by identifying potential file issues early in the workflow process. TKM’s pre-press technicians are better equipped to fix problem files ahead of the print process, reducing print errors and increasing production efficiencies.

We are now able to better handle complex jobs, those with multiple files and large volumes.”
– Chris Copeland Manager I.T. and Pre-Press, TKM

Under Copeland’s direction, TKM has achieved remarkable improvements in many areas of the business from these endeavors. The project has automated their imposition and provided accurate estimates of production requirements and the automated pre-press has increased production without increasing pre-press head count. “We are now able to better handle complex jobs, those with multiple files and large volumes” states Copeland, he added, ” “with the addition of Tilia Phoenix, imposition tasks that used to take us most of the day are now accomplished in under an hour.

With the addition of Phoenix, imposition tasks that used to take us most of the day are now accomplished in under an hour.

Both Luke Messner and Chris Copeland agree that having Significans Automation involved has reduced the time to evolve TKM’s production initiatives. “Working with Significans’ Workflow Specialists is like working with kindred spirits” according to Copeland, “their knowledge and experience with both software and print production provides a valuable resource to develop new ideas and concepts. Luke Messner adds, “Significans Automation is revolutionizing the way things are done at TKM.”

Working with Significans’ Workflow Specialists is like working with kindred spirits. Their knowledge and experience with both software and print production provides a valuable resource to develop new ideas and concept.”
– Luke Messner President, TKM

About TKM:
TKM is a commercial print shop focused exclusively on providing retail graphics to three types of customers:
(1) retailers with 10-600 locations,
(2) brand and product companies (including distributors) that sell products in brick-and-mortar stores, and
(3) point-of-purchase (POP) display companies.

We are “digital first” and can print and cut “just one,” even with complex files, making us a go-to provider for fast-moving line reviews, customer prototypes, and planogram mock-ups.

TKM’s work can be found in major retail stores throughout the country. And we have printed graphics for some of the most recognizable brands in the world — including right here in Northeast Ohio.

The benefits to Wright Global Graphics have been significant. Communication has improved because staff has ready access to the information they need, and everyone involved with a job works from the same specs. Mistakes are declining, fewer reruns of products have to be done, information getting to production is clearer and more accurate, repeat work is easier, and fewer steps are needed to generate an order and get the work out the door.

Significans streamlines label production and increases efficiency

Wright Global Graphics operates a sprawling branding and labelling communications business that traces its roots to the furniture-making industry in North Carolina. Greg’s father and uncle founded the company in 1961 and it has steadily grown to encompass four U.S. manufacturing facilities that ship products internationally. Its market segments include home furnishings, alcoholic beverages, food packaging, apparel, floor coverings and outdoor retailers.

“Our big challenge is the size of our orders. They are smaller, with fewer repeats and so we’re always looking for a solution to automate and make things flow through our shop much more quickly and easily”
– Greg Wright President, Wright Global Graphics

“Our big challenge is the size of our orders. They are smaller, with fewer repeats and so we’re always looking for a solution to automate and make things flow through our shop much more quickly and easily,” says Wright. One of the more complex operations in the company is the flexo division. At the same time, it is very self-contained with its own CSR, sales, art, and production functions all under one roof, so it made sense to start implementing a digital automated workflow there.

Hinging on a combination of digital and traditional flexo presses, the business was still run with a cumbersome manual system stitched together by Excel spreadsheets, email chains, hand-written notes, and printed spec sheets. “Things were being handwritten on sheets, and those sheets might disappear,” says Tom Sink, Workflow Manager at Wright Global Graphics. “Orders were placed into baskets waiting to be dealt with, and sometimes the back and forth between sales and art could easily add up to four to five day’s wait time to a job.” The huge cost of operating with such a taxing manual system meant a change was needed.

“One of our biggest challenges is feeding our production facility. WebCenter and Significans Automation help us process our orders more efficiently with fewer errors.”
– Greg Wright President, Wright Global Graphics

Wright Global Graphics turned to Significans Automation to digitize and customize its workflow. The company was already running Automation Engine prepress workflow system from Esko, and with Significans Automation’s assistance, added Esko WebCenter, a software system that manages all aspects of preproduction specification, approval, and project lifecycle.

Sink explains that Significans Automation took the manual spec sheets and converted them into WebCenter templates so all questions about products to be manufactured are entered once and carried throughout the span of the project. “We now enter an item in WebCenter, such a bottle label, and the system knows what relevant production specs have to be filled in. For example, CSRs don’t have to wonder about what information they need to find to put the item in production. This online customized spec sheet designed by Significans Automation, has made the task much simpler,” adds Sink.

The automated workflow sends projects into the planning department, where estimators create the job estimate; it sends projects to the art department with instructions so designers can prepare the files for production; and it manages all the back and forth consultations with CSRs in order to finalize a job. The same workflow streams jobs to the prepress department to prepare files for output.

Improved Communication

The project commissioned from Significans Automation was rolled out in two phases. The first phase consisted of establishing communication
between CSR, art, and prepress departments. A streamlined process annotates changes directly in a file and tracks information related to that file. Phase two covered planning and estimating, so those departments could build estimates and plan the job using the same details. “And we started connecting WebCenter to our MIS for existing items so that we could easily pull current data about that item. That is a huge time saver,” explains Sink.

Time saved, fewer mistakes, clear priorities and higher profitability

The benefits to Wright Global Graphics have been significant. Communication has improved, says Sink, because staff has ready access to the information they need, and everyone involved with a job works from the same specs. Mistakes are declining, fewer reruns of products have to be done, information getting to production is clearer and more accurate, repeat work is easier, and fewer steps are needed to generate an order and get the work out the door.

Every member of the team is able to work from a list that prioritizes tasks clearly, so they know the next item that needs to be handled, such as the order for outputting plates.

“The time savings are huge,” explains Sink, estimating that on average Wright Global Graphics saves about four to five days per job. Wright adds that having better management tools on the back end also makes it easy for managers to understand why jobs may not be getting through on time and to pinpoint where the logjam might exist. At times it may be due to too much back and forth with the client. Another valuable feature, he says, is the ability to record and save the specs that everyone, including the client, has agreed to regarding individual orders.

“We’ve been successful in this business for 58 years and we know it well. Along with this much experience come a lot of assumptions about how things should be done. More than any other company we’ve ever worked with, Significans Automation was very good at recommending solutions and adapting them to who we are as a company
– Greg Wright President, Wright Global Graphics

“One of our biggest challenges is feeding our production facility. WebCenter and Significans Automation help us process our orders more efficiently with fewer errors. We increased our capacity by 30% year over year. I can easily say we are more profitable,” says Wright. “We’ve been successful in this business for 58 years and we know it well. Along with this much experience come a lot of assumptions about how things should be done.” That said, Wright explains that, “More than any other company we’ve ever worked with, Significans Automation was very good at recommending solutions and adapting them to who we are as a company.”

Solving the industry’s biggest problems

As a software and process integrator, Significans Automation delivers increased profitability, improved quality control, and enhanced production efficiency, enabling Artificial Intelligence to facilitating new revenue opportunities in Web-to-print and E-commerce.