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Continental Web Press moves press checks from the plant floor to the home, with the help of DALIM ES6

There are many stories about how COVID has changed the way companies work as they adapt to the new normal. One example is Continental Web Press, which has implemented CWP Virtual Press OK, a very successful method eliminating the need to conduct in-house color press-checks. How? They have put in place a technical online process with the help of DALIM ES6. In doing so, they have found that it’s a growth model—perhaps not only for the near term, but well into the future.


Founded by Diane and Ken Field, Continental Web Press (CWP) is a privately held, woman-owned company with a dedicated and unwavering commitment to quality, consistency and customer service. CWP has been providing premier printing and print marketing services working with some of the world’s most successful brands, publishers, and agencies since 1973.


CWP offers customers a truly comprehensive and integrated range of print communication options. The company’s state- of-the-art web offset and digital presses are fitted with the most modern press equipment, and they print to certified G7 color standards. Coupled with a dedicated binding facility, integrated mailing solutions and fast distribution networks, CWP guarantees the most effective solution for jobs, along with quick turnaround. In North America CWP was one of the first to install DALIM DIALOGUE and DALIM MISTRAL— the forerunners to ES.


Press checks during a pandemic?

As a company with many major print buyers with criti- cal print projects, press check visits are always a vital part of the print process. But what do you do when the world is impacted by COVID? People were sent home, customers were furloughed, and everyone had illness concerns.


In the magazine world you have to assure an advertiser that a printed product will look like their proof—no excuses or variations. With the current COVID crisis, if color is not OK, what do you do? “We could have decided to ride the storm and do nothing,” comments Ed Zepernick, CWP CIO and CTO/EVP. “But, you sit and think of possible solutions to the problem. We thought, ‘is it possible to deliver an online press proof?’”


“We decided to create CWP Virtual Press OK, using ES with DIALOGUE to provide accurate online press proofs. But, there were a lot of technical hurdles to go through,” remembers Zepernick. “We had to over- come color concerns—which took the most time to resolve—and determine the best way to show the client the color OK, just as they would see it on press. If you don’t control color during the entire process, then it’s an even bigger challenge.”


Ken and Diane Field have always been on the cutting edge of technology, so putting CWP Virtual Press OK into the hands of sales was expedited. Ken Field says, “Anything to help our clients—and helps CWP weather this pandemic—is beneficial.” The solution consisted of two important components: using ES with DIALOGUE as both a color management tool and collaboration delivery system, and a high-end scanner. CWP has been using the color management capability of DIALOGUE for more than 15 years. They even have placed color accurate monitors on their presses, where their operators refer to approved proofs to unders- tand the customer’s expectations and what to match to during a print run.


Making virtual press proofs work

It was a novel approach. “We always make a virtual color proof, which the customer approves before going on press. So, now we produce a second set of color proofs. When we get to color, printed press sheets are scanned into our system to compare to the virtual proof. One advan- tage we have is that we still own and operate a high-end scanner. A $200 scanner will not work. You’ll lose the color space immediately,” explains Zepernick. “Then we use the DIALOGUE compare tool so we can show the original proof and press sheet side by side. With a slider, inch by inch, the customer can see if there are any variations, color conflicts, or anything else. If the customer wishes, we will re-impose the job and show any press sheet crossovers to assure color quality throughout.”


Mike Sye, prepress manager, figured out the many ways to show the imposition through ES with DIALOGUE, to offer customers their preferred view. Some clients have page-by-page expectations, while others want to see the sheet as it appears on press. Some want to see the front and back of forms, while others want to see inline conflicts and crossovers. Building the system to meet the imposition challenges was a major hurdle.


Although this process gave them challenges to over- come, CWP was well ahead of its timetable—and any competitive efforts—when they launched CWP Virtual Press OK in April. “One of the important facets was maintaining diligence in color control. To assure accura- cy, unlike some companies, we still calibrate our monitors every day,” notes Zepernick. “You have to be engaged during the entire color process—and manage it, on-site with the presses. Other companies, unless they offer full prepress services and have a high-end scanner—a rarity, now—really are not equipped do this.


“There was no training involved because we have used a DALIM SOFTWARE workflow for years. I drive the pro- cess on my computer to expedite the experience. As our client views the press OK, our press operators in the press room are also in, on the client call. I am just the facilitator,” comments Zepernick. “I’ve conducted press proofs at 6am and 3am—and I don’t have to leave my house.”


Deriving business benefits from an original customer service idea This has become a revenue stream. CWP charges a set-up fee per page to offset the time. Some customers have chosen to implement this process as their ‘new normal’, particularly because the cost is less than travel expenses. In fact, it’s much less, because now more people—for example, the art director, print production and their client—can participate in the color approval/ press OK without extra travel expenses. “As one of our customers says, ‘having their client see the final piece sells the product’,” reports Zepernick.


Without CWP Virtual Press OK, if two people from a client visit CWP for a two-day press OK, travel costs can reach $3,000. Now, if they conduct an online press check, it costs the customer nothing for travel and just a minimal charge for the setup time, the scans of the imposition, and the extra proofs they generate.


The results? “We jumped in offering something our cus- tomers did not expect. We are gaining new clients and satisfying old ones. We added new work because of this service. It also gave us the opportunity to show our customers that CWP has many more capabilities under our roof,” comments Zepernick.


“As a rule, we would attend press runs to assure color was accurate especially with crossovers, and particu- larly for important and sensitive advertisers, like paint companies,” explains Michael Fielding, Creative Director, Marketing Solutions at Hearst, who oversees production of Food Network, Pioneer Woman and HGTV magazines. “Of course, after COVID we had to be more careful about travel. With CWP’s virtual press proofs, we could successfully compare, with a sliding tool, the color we had already approved, against the printed piece. It was the next best thing to seeing the job on press, and the final product was amazing.


“For functional issues like glue tabs, and extremely color-sensitive clients, press visits are still necessary— but moving forward we would utilize CWP virtual press proofs for color. If we have a proof that we can compare to a printed piece online, we feel comfortable approving the job. Virtual press proofs also give us the option to save on travel time and costs. We can look at each project and decide if we can stay and review it from our offices,” adds Fielding.


As CWP continues to acquire new clients and satisfy their existing customer base, they are conducting more and more press OK’s online. “Our clients are thank- ful that they can see the results immediately, without waiting for a mailed package a few days later to see the final press sheets,” comments Zepernick. “There are no surprises. We’re successfully eliminating color nightmares.”



CWP clients are wondering if CWP Virtual Press OK is available through other print providers. DALIM SOFTWARE can provide the solution. It can be accessed through an existing DALIM SOFTWARE sys- tem or through a DALIM SOFTWARE AWS installation. Anyone can talk with their DALIM SOFTWARE sales representative for more information. The only other tool needed is a good scanner.


DALIM SOFTWARE has been providing production workflow tools to printers for twenty-five years. We pride ourselves in offering a very flexible system, which has found itself in many different types of companies—and situations,” notes Carol Werlé, DALIM SOFTWARE CEO. “It’s terrific that CWP, one of our more dedicated customers, has been able to modify their workflow to provide such a unique and, in these tough times, useful proofing solution.”


Will other customers conduct CWP Virtual Press OK permanently? Perhaps. “Necessity is the mother of invention. We have opened up conversations with a few of our clients on other processes and workflows we can offer to help them while they have a reduced work staff,” adds Zepernick. “We thank DALIM SOFTWARE for making the technology ready for us. This has been very rewarding. Our clients are breathing comfortably, knowing that what they see in print will be what they expected. And, our new catch phrase is ‘Powered by DALIM SOFTWARE.”

About the author
As a content manager with a multicultural background, I am dedicated to creating impactful content that extends my reach globally. I seek meaningful opportunities and challenges that engage my passion for helping others and solving problems through innovative content creation.