How to Start and Operate an Offset Printing Press
By BusinessCoach Inc.

An offset printing press properly run can be your passport to wealth, but if you do not know what you are doing it is a fast way to lose money. An offset printing press’ output is far more than that of digital, tarpaulin or screen printers. Presently, it is the only cost effective printing process to produce thousands or millions of copies.

There are two main types of offset press. The most common is the sheet-fed type, so called because the paper stock it uses is in the form of cut sheets. For the largest jobs, companies usually use the web press; here the paper stock comes in the form of huge rolls of paper. Some of the products an offset press can produce are packaging, posters, forms, books and newspapers.

Putting up a printing press is capital intensive; you will need at least a million pesos to start. This will enable you to buy a small second hand press and paper cutter. Set aside capital too for supplies and other working capital needs. However, this is just the smallest set-up and there are many jobs you cannot handle. Fortunately, you can rent other printer’s equipment if your machine is not capable.

Below are some of the most important things to know if you will be starting an offset printing business:

• Look for a suitable location:
o Make sure the area is properly zoned for a printing press. A printing press is considered as a manufacturing facility and so may not be allowed in many locations.
o Make sure there is a three phase electrical supply. Printing press equipment usually need three phase electrical supply, although you can use a converter, this is more costly and may damage your machine.
o Check if a location has termites or is prone to flooding. Since paper is the main material used, care must be taken to protect against damage.
o The ceiling should be high for better air circulation. The big machines generate a lot of heat and if you cannot afford air conditioning the press floor then, at least, have sufficient air flowing.
o Besides the area for the printing press and other equipment, there must be a space for the bindery, prepress, supply room, finished products room and office.

• Get the right equipment.
o Choose the machine that can best produce your primary products.
o If your budget permits, it is best if you get brand new equipment not only to avoid breakdowns but also to offer better quality.
o It is usually better to buy a two color or four color machine rather than a single color press. Although a one color machine can produce all the colors of a four color machine, the two color or four color press’ output is many times faster.
o Be careful in buying cheap brands. They may not be capable of giving quality output. Another potential problem with this is the availability of spare parts.

• Study costing and pricing. It is strongly suggested that you know how to cost and price your printing service so that you can find out how much you should be earning. Being the one to cost also forces you to know about the printing process. This knowledge will enable you to save on costs.

Starting a printing press needs careful study since you will be investing a substantial amount of capital. It is highly suggested that you attend a seminar on the topic before proceeding. BusinessCoach, Inc., a leading business seminar provider, conducts seminars on Starting an Offset Printing Press. You may contact them at 727-5628/727-8860, or visit their website www.businesscoachphil.com for details.

By: Ruben Anlacan Jr.

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