Wallace Graphics

“Automation Spurs Unprecedented Efficiency while Boosting Employee Morale and Growth at Family-owned Printer ”

wallace-graphics-red-blkWallace Graphics has partnered with Significans Automation to take its productivity to unprecedented new levels. For example, prepress kitting tasks that used to take 1 day, now take 30 minutes. Daily throughput of 50 jobs has been reduced from over 40 hours to about 2 hours. Overall employee time savings has increased 10-fold. This remarkable transformation continues!

In discussing its recent strategic investment in highly customized workflow automation and integration solutions from Significans Automation, Anthony Guice, Director of Technical Operations at Wallace Graphics (Duluth, Georgia) said it best: “The only restraint we have is our imagination.” As a second-generation, family-owned printing company, Wallace Graphics is a compelling example of how dedication, innovation, and teamwork can yield ground-breaking new efficiencies that lead to growth and future success. Some call it ‘futureproofing.’

The company has a fascinating history that’s deeply rooted in print. It was founded as a as a one-man commercial printer by John Wallace in Atlanta, Georgia in 1987. Today, the business is owned and run by his two sons, Jonathan and Jake. The full-service commercial printer has grown by leaps and bounds since then, and now offers digital, offset, and large-format printing, direct-mail services, kitting and fulfillment, promotional products, printed apparel, and much more. This includes a Wallace exclusive: unique printed product simulations.

Growth through investments and innovation

A commercial printer for its first 20 years, Wallace Graphics then started a mailing & fulfillment business to complement its already successful print side. But its growth didn’t stop there! In 2016 it acquired a wide-format printing company, and in late 2023, added a nearby promotional products and printed-apparel firm. The result? Today, Wallace Graphics can offer almost anything in the realm of quality print to its customer base.

Of course, there were the inevitable bumps along the road that traditionally come with growth – not the least of which were the large number of manual touchpoints in their production workflow that were becoming profit-eroding bottlenecks, while also adding enormous stress to prepress staff. Still, the company forged ahead with strategic, game-changing improvements in their workflow software, guided by the Significans team.

The final integration featured Enfocus PDF Review, Switch, Pit Stop and Phoneix, and leveraged the versatility of custom scripting using both the Scripting Module and apps sourced from the Enfocus App Store. Wallace has never looked back – and started to see tangible benefits within a month. In fact, the automation recently allowed them to invest in their first HP 2200 PageWide Press. They can now save much more time and money by batching jobs, while keeping the new press running virtually non-stop.

This would not have been possible without the complex and customized automation software solutions deployed by Significans in partnership with the Wallace team. Now, instead of frowns, Guice is getting high fives and even hugs from appreciative prepress employees? Why? Well, the time they usually spend in front of their computers to perform their daily kitting tasks has gone from an entire day to about 30 minutes!

Solving the challenges of growth through automation

“We were processing jobs through customer service and prepress using mostly manual steps,” recalled Guice. “This made it almost impossible to increase our throughput, especially when a large volume of jobs arrived at the same time. It also dramatically increased the time it took to enter and process these jobs, while leaving use more vulnerable to making production errors and missing client deadlines. We needed to create an ultra-efficient workflow that could accommodate this extra capacity, while helping our employees to manage their workload without sacrificing their sanity. We also needed to reduce the likelihood of making mistakes while becoming more responsive to our customers’ needs and deadlines. The final solution would be an easy-to-use workflow that continually added value to our customer relationships.”

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.

Enter Significans Automation

Wallace Graphics chose to partner with workflow integration specialist Significans Automation to implement these much-needed changes. Significans is a leading services company that develops and integrates highly customized solutions for the printing and packaging print industries. The Significans team, led by Sean Davis, Vice President of Technology, was tasked with seamlessly integrating the best combination of workflow software on the market with Wallace’s existing software solutions, to maximize productivity and create ultra-efficient new processes that never existed before. The prepress kitting dilemma in particular, involved significant “outside the box” thinking.

The company’s XML (Extensible Markup Language) Toolkit also played a key role in its drive to maximum efficiency. XML Toolkit is a collection of apps or tools used to create, manipulate, and convert XML documents for ease of use within Enfocus Switch. The technology lets users define and store data in a shareable manner while supporting information exchange between computer systems such as websites, databases, and third-party applications. In the end, the highly customized solution created by Significans resulted in unprecedented time and cost savings that greatly boosted production efficiency, overall profitability, and in particular, employee morale.

Key productivity gains and measurable results

“Once you travel a certain distance, you can see much further,” Guice added. “We now have a clearer vision of what’s possible – and it’s invigorating. We’ve built a lot together by partnering with Significans, but I believe we are just getting started.” -Anthony Guice, Director of Operations

For example, Wallace has now fully automated its:

  • Direct-mail order entry:
    by taking client-supplied files and pushing them directly into the proofing workflow and creating the jobs in its MIS on the fly.
  • Data processing:
    by pushing customer-supplied mailing lists into its BCC (Blind Carbon Copy) system, then picking it back up into the workflow when it’s been processed.
  • Print-file production and proofing:
    including integrated status changes within its MIS system. The software takes customer-supplied files and processes them totally hands-free through job creation, pre-flighting, and proofing.
  • Email intake and parsing:
    to extract order data by having clients target a specific input email account to send orders to. The workflow has been ‘trained’ on what to look for in the emails, which automates file processing and order entry.
  • WIP (Work in Progress) folder creation:
    When a job is created in its MIS, an xml file is output to a workflow that parses the xml and creates the correct work-in-process folders for that specific job, and subsequently places a copy of the job ticket inside.
  • Material planning.
    With the input of a simple csv file detailing the planned product specs, Wallace can determine the most cost-efficient way to gang jobs and sheet sizes.

Some never-before-realized achievements have included:

  • Prepress computer time for kitting (required to convert detailed information from client Excel spreadsheets into printable PDFs) reduced from 1 day to 30 minutes.
  • Daily throughput of around 50 jobs reduced from over 40 hours to about 2 hours.
  • A ten-fold increase in time savings throughout the company by reducing mundane repetitive work, allowing employees to concentrate on higher-value tasks.

Fast ROI

“We started to see tangible, measurable results in about a month or two,” Guice pointed out. “Plus, we can do so much more with the staff and equipment we already have. I’m estimating that we’ll recover our original investment in about 90 days – and the future looks bright. For us, the Significans Automation team has been instrumental in our success. Today, we see them as an extension of Team Wallace, and look forward to working together in the future.” -Anthony Guice, Director of Operations

About Significans Automation (www.significans.com)

Significans Automation Inc. specializes in delivering next-generation automation to the printing and package print industry. The company offers programming and expertise in custom workflow development, communication and project management, color management, prepress training, and end-to-end business integration. It’s driven by the conviction that customized automation is the only path forward. For an assessment of your workflow software systems, please call Significans Automation at 1-877-463-4465. You’ll be directed not to a salesperson or a third party, but to a regional workflow automation and integration expert who has years of production-floor experience. “We Are Integration.” For more information please contact Marc Raad at marc.raad@significans.com or call 1-877-463-4465.

About Wallace Graphics

Wallace Graphics (Duluth, Georgia) was founded as a as a one-man commercial printer by John Wallace in Atlanta, Georgia in 1987. Today, the growing business is owned and run by his two sons, Jonathan and Jake. The full-service commercial printer now offers digital, offset, and large-format printing, direct-mail services, kitting and fulfillment, promotional products, printed apparel, and much more – including a Wallace exclusive: unique printed product simulations. However, even with all this expansion, the company has never lost sight of its founder’s guiding principle to always be a “people first” printer. Today, Wallace Graphics combines the latest technology with customer-focused solutions to deliver vastly superior printing services that cover the widest spectrum of printed products.

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.