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Sells Printing: embracing new technology

Apr 1, 2001 12:00 AM

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American printer recently spent a day at Sells Printing (New Berlin, WI). Don Schroeder, president and CEO; John Moebius, vice president, sales; Craig Beedy, vice president, technology; and Eric Lacey, vice president, manufacturing, showed us their new double-web Sunday 2000 installation, in-house digital photography studio, digital asset publishing capabilities, softproofing and wireless phone system. We will take a closer look at this innovative operation in an upcoming issue. In the meantime, here's a sneak preview.

How has your company coped with changing technology?

We take a proactive approach — Sells usually adopts change early, from computer-to-plate, stochastic screening, digital photography, website hosting and CD publishing to the first U.S. installation of a Heidelberg Sunday 2000 heatset web press. We frequently beta test software for vendors, such as Adobe, Quark, Apple and Heidelberg. We believe this enhances our leadership position in the marketplace and builds confidence with our customers.

How are you staying state-of-the-art?

We were early advocates of an all PDF-based workflow and are currently developing a softproofing process for manufacturing. We hope to expand our online workflow with Prinergy InSight and expanded online business processes.

What is your growth strategy?

We coordinate digital and print services to position ourselves as a communications solutions provider. We emphasize our ability to produce quality printed products that others can't. Currently, we are the only heatset web printer in the U.S. certified by Pantone to print hexachrome-branded materials.

Tell us about your marketing efforts.

We established our Desktop Technical Center (DTC) seven years ago for customer consultation and education. We offer our customers individual, customized training on current desktop publishing applications and practices at no charge. The DTC also conducts a monthly customer user group meeting and periodically offers seminars in Chicago, Madison, WI, and other cities.

We've produced educational materials, such as “how-to” books, and have an ongoing series of software-specific quick tips that can be downloaded from Sells also operates an educational list-serv and provides customers with CDs of software upgrades.

What are your growth projections for 2001 and beyond?

For 2001: $52 million; for 2002: $60 million; 2003: $70 million; and 2004: $80 million. The new press more than doubles our capacity.

What service/equipment would you most like to add?

We now have small, medium and large eight-color web presses. An eight-color sheetfed press would be a good fit for short runs. And a 40-inch DI press would give us a leg up on the competition.

How can we get more young people to consider a career in the graphic arts?

We work with the Printing Industry of Wisconsin (PIW) to promote the industry. We also have in-house training and internship programs.

Describe the company's greatest accomplishment.

Stochastic hexachrome on a heatset web and producing an integrated communication package of products and services are some of our corporate highlights.

Are you ready to step into the spotlight? If your company has an interesting story to tell and you have some words of wisdom to share with fellow graphic arts professionals, we want to hear from you. E-mail us at:, and give us a brief description of yourself and your printing firm.