While Mullan knew that there would surely be a challenge or two in growing their reputation and bottom line under the new Allegra branding, having a crucial 5-color offset press rendered inoperable put increased pressure on the business. Choosing a replacement that would not only serve Allegra's immediate needs, but provide the bandwidth for future customer expansion was essential.
As client deadlines continued to grow shorter, finding greater productivity and reliability was critical for the long-term growth of the business.
After researching and evaluating equipment and meeting with a variety of companies, Mullan found the right combination of technology and trust with Ricoh. While there were multiple factors in determining the right fit for his Allegra locations, Mullan cites Ricoh's approach as a key ingredient.
“We partnered with Ricoh for the trust and the relationship we established. They are a forward-looking organization and we can build relationships that matter, long-term," he says in explaining his choice. “We have six designers. They're very talented people. They love experimenting with colors, shapes…that's just who they are. So I wanted people who approached printing that way. The case for us was made convincingly by Ricoh."
As a result of their Ricoh digital investments, Allegra has been able to speed turnarounds, reduce outsourcing and focus on their mission of serving as their clients' extended marketing team. Like sales for 2018 have increased dramatically, and the technology has driven greater productivity across Mullan's talented team.
“The nice thing about it is, pretty much anybody in the shop, once they get some training, they can run the 9100. That flexibility is a cost-savings, and it also puts out as good a quality of product as the offset," says Mullan.
In accommodating the large volume of fast-turnaround, short-run work, their RICOH Pro C7100 has more than stood up to the challenge.
“The 7100 is a perfect match for the Boulder clients. Very reliable. It puts out good quality, and we do a lot of great short-turn runs. That thing is just humming most days...and that's about as simple as it gets."
Customers have also been impressed. “The first thing people tell us is, boy you guys are a lot faster, and we really like your color output," adds Mullan. And that, in turn, has Allegra positioned for continued growth and success.
After discussing the challenges Allegra, Aurora and Boulder, were facing and evaluating the different types of jobs and turnarounds the business dealt with on a daily basis, Ricoh provided strategic recommendations. To streamline operations and improve operating efficiency, these included digital sheet-fed equipment and finishing options that could measurably speed their workflows and reduce outsourcing.
With the implementation of a new RICOH Pro C9100 Sheet-fed Digital Color Press, the Aurora location was able to handle their former offset volume. In addition, longer runs from the Boulder location could now be run on the press, eliminating their previous need to outsource the work due to offset turnaround times.
To serve the demand for high-quality, short-run color work in the Boulder location, a RICOH Pro C7100 was installed and operators were trained on the platform.
Strategic finishing investments were made in both locations, including equipment to make end-to-end book production possible in-house. While this is not a new revenue stream for Allegra, it is now a more profitable one.