Want Less Work, Better Quality and Lower Costs?
There should be at least five levels of quality control—formal quality control—in every step of the production process. Call it what you like: editorial review, preflight, final check, but call it something and make sure it gets done— every job, every time.
"Don't be locked into traditional thinking, as the paper market is evolving," says Tauber. "There is now a plethora of SCA+ [supercalendar] grades that are virtually identical to a traditional No. 5 coated groundwood. If you, your readers and advertisers can't tell the difference, why pay up to 15 percent more for No. 5? There are even SCA++ stocks that rival No. 4 coated groundwood."
Tauber is right, but be aware that many printers charge an additional "wash up" fee after running SCA stocks, so check with your printer first.
Additionally, when buying paper, shop around. Keep in mind, however, that not all papers (or vendors) are created equal. Homework is necessary to be sure you are not getting the deal of the century only to find out that the paper can't be hung or fed through the press. A recent entry into web papers is Chinese paper, which is finding mixed results with U.S. printers.
Ken Higgins, quality control manager at the Quebecor World Lincoln, Neb., plant, recommends checking first with your printer before jumping on any "deals," particularly with lightweight, uncoated stocks. A mill often will offer a test roll, and the printer will test it at no charge to you. Mill reps also will be present to monitor runnability. Ask about testing before buying any paper with which both you and your printer are unfamiliar.
When a new paper stock is introduced to a printer, the printer has to set its equipment to optimize output. Higgins recommends tracking paper and ink performance during these tests.