Quality Checks - How To Do Them Properly

Offset Printing Quality Check

A quality check, also known as a press check, is when a customer comes and wants to see his job being printed.  In my experience it is a good thing when done properly since he will be able to give input into what the final product will look like.  Let's take a look three essentials that will make your quality checks most effective.

1.  Be Present At The Quality Check

Whoever sold the job should be present for the quality check.  The sale did not finish when the customer agreed to get the job printed.  The salesman must also sell him on what the final product will look like.  So many times I have seen where the customer is at the press and the pressman is trying to convince the customer about what can and cannot be done.  That is not his job. 

2.  Knowledge Of Quality Control Standards

In addition, whoever sold the product must be knowledgeable enough of offset printing standards to explain what can and cannot be done on a printing press.  Sometimes a customer is so picky that there is no way to please him.  Someone has to control that, and again it's not the pressman.  The print buyer simply does not know enough about real life offset printing to know what he wants.  He must be educated.  He must be shown what quality control standards are realistic, perhaps showing a checklist that the pressmen use.

3.  The Procedure

In our production facility, here are the steps we follow in order to to a successful quality check.  It is done with the salesman present and discussion what is acceptable and what is not take place away from the press.  We charge a premium for doing press check since it takes extra time, so we give that time to the customer.  Here is what we do.

  • Go up and down. - After the makeready we start up the press and get color, registration and running adjustments close enough to save from a pressman's perspective.  Now we present the product to the salesman who will discuss it with the client.  The press waits.  We do minor adjustments to be closer when we go up, but nothing is done until we get the go-ahead to start again.  After all, the client is paying for it.
  • We go up again with the goal of saving.  That is of course if there were no glaring problems.  Most often the client will likely say that he just wants a couple of color adjustments before saving that's exactly what we do.  If the customer is picky and indecisive, we may start saving anyways.  From experience some customers cannot make up their mind.  Time and waste are precious so it's a judgement call.
  • Work with the client.  Follow through with the salesman and customer until both are completely satisfied.  This may be well into the run, but the pressman should do his best as quickly as possible to get to this point.

There are of course exceptions to these points, but they provide a general guideline.  One thing  is for sure though, your pressroom should implement a policy laid out as to exactly how a quality check is handled.

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