Press check 101: the printer’s perspective….

Last week we covered press checks from the client point of view. This week, let’s look at the printer’s perspective…..


proof-checkI’ve done scheduling, and if there’s one thing I can tell you about scheduling a press room – it NEVER goes the way you plan. You might have a job pulled off press because the paper is wrong, or the client is there for a press check and wants major work done to the color, which cannot be adjusted on press, or a job that was going to take 6 hours is still out on proof, and you have to scramble to fit something that is ready in. These factors drive the pressroom, and subsequently, the press check time. You may have told the client that their press check was 9 AM on Thursday, when Wednesday morning you had to pull their job up, and now it’s 4 PM THAT AFTERNOON! So, from the printer’s perspective:

  • Please be flexible. We have to balance your needs with other client’s needs, and still achieve the optimum performance from our presses and our operators/crews. And if we’re running 24 hours a day, and have a backlog of work, we may have your press check at an inconvenient time. But we will do what we can to make it reasonable.
  • Time is money: PLEASE BE ON TIME. Presses ONLY make money when they’re running. And there are costs on that press (payments and labor) that we have to pay whether you’re on time or 20 minutes late.
  • If you’re late, it will impact all the other jobs behind your job, and if you have multiple press checks, that can only extend our schedule farther back.
  • With closed-loop proofing systems, we can get to color faster than before, and our goal is to have you out of there in less than 30 minutes. However, if you decided to make shifts at press, we are limited to what we can do, so it may have to be pulled and go back into prepress, which means there will be additional costs.
  • Once we get to know your preferences, and if you are consistent with those preferences, we can adjust color BEFORE YOU ARRIVE so that you can come in and sign off quickly.
  • We will do what we can to make you both comfortable and productive.

In the last decade or so, with the introduction of the closed-loop proofing methods, print services providers have been able to shave time off press checks, increasing efficiency and lowering the client’s blood pressure at the same time – I’d call that a good ROI! I’ve also been on press checks where the operator knew that the client consistently made specific shifts in color, and would have those done before the client came out to review the first sheet. Subsequently, the client would either sign off that first sheet or at the most make one color shift, and sign that sheet off. This got the client in and out quickly, and also made the client confident that we were looking out for them, anticipating their preferences and adjusting the presses accordingly. For that client, we became the preferred print provider because of that. Now, what printer would NOT want to become a client’s preferred print vendor?

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About John Prothero

John Prothero is a print professional with over 30 years experience in the print industry. Starting out as a driver delivering jobs, he worked in bindery, proofing, plating, traditional prepress (camera and stripping), scheduling, job planning, job management, account management and digital job production. His skills also run in the area of blog authorship, social media management, and lead generation and qualification of prospective clients. John is also a contributor to Rhode Island Creative Magazine, a digital publication that highlights the creative spirit of the state of Rhode Island. You can read their online issues at
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