Wide-Format Offset Printer Sets the Bar for Service
Annan & Bird sets the bar high for top quality and superior customer service.June 2013 By Jean-Marie Hershey
In the 26 years since Annan & Bird Lithographers first opened its doors to the large-format print demands of the packaging and point-of-sale (POS) marketplace, the Mississauga, Ont.-based company has held fast to its mission: providing its customers with the highest-quality printed materials, delivered in the shortest time, with the most efficient equipment available.
At no time in its history has this dual commitment to quality and speed-to-market been more important than now, as VLF offset (for display work) faces a serious competitive challenge, both from the sheer number of large-format offset presses, as well as from the proliferation of digital flatbed devices with greater capacity for longer run lengths (greater than 500 and rising). When quality is not a factor, price certainly is, and the struggle to maintain or increase volume places companies like Annan & Bird at the center of a potentially awkward tug-of-war between the two.
Annan & Bird Lithographers is one of the leading large-format printers in Canada and a high-profile, high-impact force in the North American point-of-purchase (POP) display market. Specialties include POP/POS and posters; dimensional graphics, and fine art reproduction; as well as printed lenticular and special effects, and fulfillment. Founded by the Bird family in 1987, the company was acquired by Consolidated Graphics (CGX) in 2006.
No Rest for the ambitious
Given a difficult business environment—"Our sales were down this year but our workload was up," said John Bird, co-president of the company with his brother David—the biggest competitive task faced by printers like Annan & Bird is to add value by implementing efficiencies and keeping quality relentlessly high. In order to do this, Annan & Bird recently supplemented its lineup of 6-color 64˝ and 81˝ KBA Rapida hybrid UV presses—both equipped with Densitronic S closed-loop color control—with a new, 6-color, 64˝ Heidelberg Speedmaster XL 162 with aqueous coater, in service now for just over one year. The new press replaced a pair of 18-year-old, 57˝ Mitsubishi presses.
"The market has become very crowded, competitive, and price-sensitive," Bird explained, "In order to improve our ability to compete, we had no alternative but to invest in a high-performance, ultra-productive press to support our mission."