VOLUME 16 ISSUE 3 Fall 2000

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Output-Ready PDF Brings Stability to the Workflow

W e have been promoting the PDF format for nearly two years now. As our experience grows, we are convinced that this format is the most reliable for text copy sub-mission. We are also changing our processes here to allow PDF files to expedite through the production process. We feel so strongly about this that we offer lower prepress costs to customers that provide Output-Ready PDF files consistent with our guidelines. When we refer to Output-Ready, we mean a PDF file that doesn’t need any further conversion or processing. The final art is in the files and the fonts are embedded in such a way that the imagesetter cannot mistake what font to use. We are so determined to use this format that we internally convert the majority of files to PDF even if they are provided as PostScript or Application files. 

Converting to PDF allows us to softproof the files before we send them into production. The softproofing is done by our planning department. If lasers are provided, we check the first and last lines to ensure no page breaks are changing. We can measure the files to check for margin discrepancies, backup issues and bouncing page elements such as runningheads and folios. 

We would like to encourage you to also introduce PDF into your workflow. There are extreme advantages to using an electronic format for the editorial departments. 

Adobe Acrobat 4 provides many tools for electronic markup of corrections. These are referred to as an notations. You can transmit PDF files electronically between the author, editors, and back to the compositor. The authors and editorial staff don’t need knowledge of all the layout applications on the market today. Just use Adobe Acrobat to view the PDF files. Acrobat offers digital signatures for electronic signoff of final proofs. We have customers that have implemented this proofing process into their environment with great success. 

Once you have confidence in your ability to provide solid Output-Ready PDF files, you can also eliminate the need for laser proofs. This saves paper, toner, and costs associated with shipping these proofs. But as stated previously, it takes a good working relationship between the compositor and the customer to ensure the success of the PDF files. It is crucial that the PDF files are checked for accuracy before they are sent to the printer. 

Within Acrobat there are tools for verifying fonts and creator information. These are found under File/ Document Info. The general section allows you to verify what version of Acrobat created the file. You do not want to see PDF Writer in the dialog. PDF Writer is not intended for high-resolution output. 

Under the font section, the best case scenario is to have Embedded Subsets under the used font column. This ensures the intended font will be used for output. 

Enfocus Pitstop or Adobe InProduction are stand alone applications available to preflight PDF files as well. A good website to monitor for useful plug-ins and tips is www.pdfzone.com. 

Don’t hesitate to try using PDF.

 -Sue Campbell, Prepress 

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Thomson-Shore Dominates AAUP Awards . . . Again! 

The Association of American University Presses Annual Book Show was held this past June in Denver. For the 13th consecutive year, T-S print and bound more award winning titles than any of our competitors. 

Of course, the book design is the single most important factor in determining winning entries in the AAUP Book Show, but the production has to be at the highest level as well. We are grateful for the relationships we have with so many university presses who are also concerned with a quality product. 

We look forward to continuing to be the leader in printing award winning titles by producing afford-able, quality books for our customers. If we haven’t had the opportunity to produce a book for you, why don’t you give us a chance to show you why so many quality-conscious university presses choose T-S. To get started, request a quote for your next job by filling out the attached quote request form or by going to www.tshore.com and requesting a quote on-line. 

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Should I See A Proof . . . ??????

Thomson-Shore has a variety of proofs we can supply to our Customers at various stages of the Prepress and Postpress process. The question is, what should these proofs be used to verify and when is it recommended that you see one? 

First lets define Prepress proofs. When proofing the internal text portion of a job, there are generally just two types of proofs we supply: a dylux proof or a digital blueline (DBL). A dylux proof is made directly from the final imposed film; therefore, in a CRC workflow this is the only proof available. A DBL is made from a digital file so it is not necessary to image film first to produce a DBL. In a digital workflow we can provide either a DBL or a dylux proof. However, in order to provide a dylux proof, there would have to be imposed film imaged from the file first. Due to the labor and material cost to produce a dylux proof, it is more expensive then a DBL. Since a dylux is made from the film, it is representative of the same resolution and line screen that your job will print as. A DBL on the other hand is printed on a 600dpi laserwriter. Therefore these proofs are not representative of the actual resolution and line screen that your job will print. Neither of these proofs can simulate things like dot gain that occur at press. Thomson-Shore will typically provide a DBL on a job that is a digital workflow unless the customer specifically requests a dylux. 

For covers and dust jackets Thomson-Shore can provide either a waterproof or a dylux. We can also contract out for a matchprint or chromalin. In fact, if your job requires 4-color separations, you would receive one of these proofs since our separator uses these proofing methods. All of these proofs are made from the final imaged film. If your job is 3-colors or more, we require a waterproof at press so that is what we would pro vide to the customer. A waterproof is a contract proof for 4-color process and is used for color matching at press. It is only representative of PMS colors. However, it is still helpful for press to have a waterproof of a multiple PMS color job to ensure that they do not have any of the plates switched or mismarked for each color. Press will match the PMS book for color. We are currently researching digital proofs and plan to have something to offer in the way of a digital proof by mid 2001. A digital proof will give pretty accurate color representation of PMS work (although it is still not 100% accurate), and is a good preliminary proof for 4-color process. 

Regardless of the proof, none should be used to check for things like spelling errors, formatting, or content accuracy. These things should be verified BEFORE sending the project on to the printer. Check these things either through your camera-ready copy or your lasers, (and/or your PDF file). Making these types of corrections after the job has been sent to your printer are not only more costly, it will likely jeopardize your schedule. 

Thomson-Shore does not recommend that you see a proof on every job, especially when it comes to the text. As long as things like typos and formatting have been checked prior to sending your job to the printer, we would suggest proofs only for jobs that you may feel have complicated instructions that may be misinterpreted, or possibly a design question that can’t be fully judged or checked without seeing a proof. If your job is heavily illustrated and you’ve left it up to the printer to make judgments about the placement and cropping of illustrations, you may feel a proof is a good idea. 

For covers and dust jackets you would also need to see a proof on any 4-color process job to approve color for matching at press. If you are furnishing scans from a source that you are not familiar with or a source that is new to scanning, we recommend seeing a Press Proof. This is where we would actually print a handful of the furnished scans on press using the paper that the job is specified to run on. This should ideally be done BEFORE the entire job is submitted, but for sure before any other prep work is done to the job. 

The postpress proofs we offer are a check copy, a sample case, and printed cover or jacket. We discourage our customers from getting either of these, especially if you’ve already seen prepress proofs. Once a job has gotten this far, it is under a pretty tight schedule and we do everything we can to keep it moving. It’s really too late to make last minute changes at this point. If you really think it is necessary to see a check copy or printed cover and jacket, we strongly recommend that you make it confirming only. This would allow us to keep everything moving and not hold the job waiting for an approval. Of the hundreds of postpress proofs we send out each week, only a very small percentage are not approved. 

One last comment about proofs. If you do get a proof, look at it carefully and do not make any assumptions around whether things you are seeing are or are not the property of the proof alone. Mark the issue in question on the proof, mention it in your proof return letter, and send it back to us to check out. However, please don’t call your Customer Service Rep and ask them to verify whether it is a real issue or not without them having the proof to look at. Also please don’t call and ask them to have it “quickly checked out and then call you right back.” Handling possible problems through either of these ways leaves too much to interpretation and can easily lead to mistakes or miscommunication. 

-Reneé Krull, Prepress 

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Thomson-Shore Management Update

Many of you may remember Ned’s updates here in Printer’s Ink regarding the changes to the company’s management that were put into place when Ned and Harry retired from the day to day guidance that they provided us for so many years. Since Ned has also retired from writing Printer’s Ink, I thought that we should continue to keep our customers aware of how those changes have evolved. Ned will also have a few words to say in his “Neds News” article.

Our original plan, when it was executed, called for the company being managed by a leadership team of dual CEO’s. For the past two and one-half years George Metzner and myself, Chuck Schiller, have had the job of leading the company into the new millennium while trying to fill Ned and Harry’s shoes. While we have made some changes to the original management team that we inherited when we took over for Ned and Harry, for the most part Thomson-Shore continues to be much flatter than most traditionally managed companies of similar size. As you would expect of an employee owned company, we have continued to manage in a highly participative manner and we are all working to hold on to the culture and spirit that has made us unique. With the help of our management team and all of our employees George and I have accomplished many things that assure our ability to remain a reliable supplier for our customers. It has proven to be an arduous task and I believe we have found it to be extremely rewarding.

In addition to enjoying their retirement, Ned and Harry also have the responsibility to provide the organization with guidance and oversight through their participation on our Board of Directors. After a good deal of consideration and consultation, the Board of Directors has recently decided that the organization and our customers will be best served with a single President/CEO to report to the Board. To ensure that the organization is able to fill this position with the best candidate available the company has formed a committee to work with the Board of Directors to determine the qualifications and personal characteristics that we would like to see in the position. The Board of Directors will be working with an executive search firm to identify, interview, and ultimately select the new President. Concurrent with the executive search, the current board members will be working to form the remainder of the Board of Directors by filling three vacant seats that are open, with the new President/CEO filling the seventh seat.

These activities could likely take a number of months to conclude since it is important that we do this right, not quick. In addition to any outside candidates, there are a couple of internal candidates. I will be filling the role of President/CEO during the interim period, while George Metzner will be acting as interim Director of Customer Care. I will continue to update you as we have progress to report, but please feel free to contact me in the meantime if necessary. 

-Chuck Schiller

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Employees Tour Glatfelter Paper Plant 

Thomson-Shore was presented with the opportunity for a group of our employees to travel to a Glatfelter paper plant. Seven employees chosen from various areas within the plant were given the opportunity to visit the plant in Neeha, Wisconsin. The Glatfelter company in turn sent over seven of their employees to tour Thomson-Shore. They wanted to get better acquainted with our needs and the needs of our customers. 

The Glatfelter paper mill in Neeha only produces recycled paper. They recycle old envelopes, books, and various other forms of used paper. From there, they boil it in a water and chemical solution to remove the impurities. The impurities then become what they like to call “sludge” which can also be recycled. The sludge is heated in a separate plant next door and when it cools, it turns into glass. The glass is shattered and used for road fillers and roofing shingles. Just imagine, the envelopes you used to mail your bills in could now be on top of your house! 

After all the impurities are removed, the water and paper mixture is poured onto a wire. The wire filters the water out and holds the paper fibers in. The wire shakes the fibers to get them going in the same direction. This is how grain direction of the paper is created and controlled. Paper grain is very important when the paper is being folded. 

The paper fibers are then flatted into a sheet, heated to remove excess water, and put on a 135 foot roll. The large roll of paper is cut and transferred to smaller rolls for delivery. Some of the paper rolls will be sent to the sheeting facility where six rolls of paper are loaded onto one machine that cuts it into sheets and stacks it on a skid. From there the paper is wrapped and sent to the customer. 

Glatfelter takes great pride in their recycling plant. They still look for new ways to recycle all the post consumer products they can. It was nice to see they cared about the environment and the future of our forests. It was also a great experience for those of us who were able to attend. Coming from various areas in the plant, we were able to share how what we had learned could help us in the various functions we perform. 

-April Briegel

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New Equipment Update

Thomson-Shore has always had the philosophy of having the best equipment available to make books and to replace equipment as needed to give our employees the opportunity to produce top quality work for our customers. As you read this article, we will be in the process of installing some replacement equipment in the Bindery and Press departments during September. 

We will be replacing our shrink wrapping line in the case bindery with a new line that is more automated and is capable of going in-line with our dust jacketing machine. Our old line is getting a little long in the tooth and our crack maintenance staff, along with the operators are nursing the line along until the new one arrives. By going in-line with the jacketing and shrink wrap operations we will be able to shorten the timeframe needed for those operations and will need less staff to operate the system. 

We will also be adding two new book stacking machines; one at the end of the case binding line and the other at the end of the dust jacketing line. These stackers are being added to relieve strain on the operators and allow the books to be handled more efficiently as they come off the lines. At the same time two portable carton erecting machines will be added to the finishing lines. The carton erectors allow the operators to open and fold the flaps of the cartons as they are filling them at the end of the line. Then, they simply push the filled carton through an automatic taping and labeling station and it’s ready to load on the pallet. Sandy Douglas, one of our bindery operators, recommended that we purchase these carton erectors after seeing them demonstrated at a local print show. They look like a great addition to our binderies, and I’ll bet we will be purchasing more of them for the other finishing lines soon. 

We have purchased, and are awaiting the arrival of a used Heidelberg 2-color ZP press in September. This press will replace one of our oldest ZP presses and bring all 4 of our Heidelberg text presses up to the same level of technology. This move will give us more flexibility in scheduling work through the text presses. 

We are looking forward to these additions to our equipment list. We believe that they will help meet and exceed our goals of continuous process improvement and to serve our customers needs! 

-Jim Johnston, Manufacturing

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Materially Speaking

In the last P.I. we told you that we had begun stocking Glatfelter Writers Natural offset in a small number of items. The original reason why we began to stock Writers was to offer our customers a high quality natural alternative that was also more economical. We felt that our customers deserved more choice. Offering Writers has been a great success, and one with unexpected benefits! 

We print the vast majority of our books on quality high speed 40" Heidelberg perfecting presses that print both sides of the sheet in one pass. This is where the unexpected benefit of Writers Natural comes in. Writers offset has now proven to be the superior running natural paper on all of our presses! It gets through our presses with outstanding reliability and speed. The print quality of Writers is also superior to our other natural papers as well. A less expensive, more productive paper that also prints a superior image is quite a find! This is helping us to achieve more reliable schedules for our customers. 

Due to the many benefits of printing books on Writers we have decided to make it our primary natural book paper. We now stock Writers in every sheet size, roll width, and weight combination that we have historically offered in Supple Opaque. Writers is also offered in a new roll width for our web press, 23" rolls for longer runs of 5 1/2 x 8 1/2 trim sizes. 

Concurrent with increasing Writers usage we are working to greatly reduce Supple Opaque usage. Supple is a great quality recycled sheet. However, the inherent qualities of any book paper with a high recycled fiber content do not lend themselves well to high speed, high quality sheet feed presses. Press speeds are slower and much less predictable when printing on Supple. However, highly recycled sheets perform consistently well on web presses, as Supple does on our web press. Over time we will begin to drop Supple Opaque items from our stocked sheets. We will continue to offer Supple Opaque in a few items that have the highest demand from our customers. The transition to Writers Natural Offset will save our customers money and enable us to provide a higher level of service and quality. For samples contact your Customer Care Team. 

I would like to comment that the P.H. Glatfelter Paper Company has been a fantastic paper supplier to Thomson-Shore. Glatfelter has been actively supportive in providing the high quality natural papers that we need to best serve our customers. 

The paper market has been fairly strong and consistent the last year, as a result, all papers had a price increase earlier this year. A few white offset mills have announced an increase to take effect in September, we’re waiting to see if it sticks, I suspect it will. It’s quite likely that natural book papers will be going up market wide this fall. For 2001, depending on market fluctuations and paper type, increases could vary from 5%-10% for the year. That would be in addition to any increases that may go through this fall.

-Bill Thomas, Purchasing 

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Important PDF Information 

Since Thomson-Shore does not offer OPI scans any longer, we recommend that you turn off the ‘Preserve OPI Comments” in the job options of Distiller. We had a couple of customers inadvertently supply files with low-resolution graphics and we could not catch this due to these OPI comments in the files. 

Adobe Acrobat 5.0 is being developed. Do not upgrade to this version until you verify that your service providers can accept it. Printers have to wait for the imposition software to upgrade and this usually takes several months to happen. 

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PDF Seminar Update 

We have scheduled the next seminar to take place April 5&6, 2001, with a basic file preparation seminar for those with less experience on April 4th. The seminar is aimed at covering copy submission in the PDF format; but also includes a plant tour, Q&A with our manufacturing supervisors and managers, and a session on scanning techniques. 

If you’re interested in learning more about this amazing PDF technology use the attached quote request card to provide a name and address, check the box on the back, and drop it in the mail. 

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Ned’s News 

Retired life continues to be acceptable. And the time seems to actually go by faster than ever. Our Michigan lawn looks somewhat better than before, and I have more time available for building furniture. 

However, probably the most surprising thing that has happened to me is my involvement as a board member of Thomson-Shore. For 27 years being on the T-S board meant very little. We never really had meetings. And, since Harry Shore and I and our wives were the only board members, if we had any “board decisions” to discuss, we just did it at work or during dinners. 

However, since our retirement two years ago, and the subsequent sale of 98% of the company stock to the 300 T-S employees, the role of the Board of Directors has changed. Now there really is an oversight role to be played. 

The current company challenge, which Chuck eluded to earlier in this issue, is that there have been suggestions that the T-S management structure, which utilizes dual CEOs is, perhaps, not practical any longer. It worked when Harry and I were here, but with the company founders no longer active, there seems to be no good reason to continue that practice. There is precedent for this since there aren’t really many (if any) existing examples of dual CEOs working any place else. 

So, after much conversation with employees and “outside observers”, the current T-S board has concluded that the company and its customers will be best served if T-S adopts a more traditional management structure. 

Accordingly, in our usual manner, the company has formed a committee (that included Harry and I) to conduct an executive search for a single CEO for Thomson-Shore. 

This ten-person group is now meeting with a consultant to determine the qualifications and personal characteristics the employees would like to see in their leader. I personally believe the most important of those characteristics are a belief in the importance of employee participation and a recognition that it is the company’s responsibility to provide a stimulating and rewarding place to work, to provide an environment where everyone realizes they are part of a team, and to provide a place where all team members and company customers are treated with respect and compassion. If one of us wins, we all win and to achieve that, this place should continue to be like the employee’s extended family. 

Maybe someday this company will be run more like other companies; but for now, I believe our people want it to continue down the road where we try our best to live our working life by the Golden Rule. 

-Ned Thomson

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