Running a Smooth Operation: When is the right time to repair, replace and refurbish printing equipment?

Author:Simpkins, Jerry

Repair, rebuild, buy used or buy new? Several questions come to mind when we are looking to maintain or upgrade our current printing capabilities. We all want the latest and greatest equipment. With many properties consolidating, it's now provided a glut of used equipment and opportunities for some great deals. To help us navigate the waters, I've spoken with two companies that offer a long history of in-depth experience in our industry.

The first company I spoke with was The Siebold Co., Inc. (TSC) based out of Harrisburg, Pa. Their expertise in our industry is what has impressed me most. In addition to hands-on experience, their key individuals have worked for some of the top players in our industry including Ryco Graphic Manufacturing, Goss International, Rock-Built Finishing, and Hall Contracting Services. They also have a tremendous background not only in newspaper operations but commercial printing.

The next company I spoke with was The Network, a leading provider of packaging equipment sales and service to our industry. Located in Sebastian, Fla., the company is led by Keith Hockenbery, who started The Network in 2010 after leaving Muller Martini. At the same time, many equipment vendors were going through layoffs caused by a decline in the industry and challenges in the world economy. He started his company with other displaced engineers and service techs and now employs his own staff.

In full disclosure, the companies I spoke with are ones I've done business with before, and based on my experiences, I've been pleased with them. They've provided excellent customer service and I respect the expertise they have. I've dealt with many companies who provide great services to our industry but simply can't list them all here. This is not an endorsement of these companies, but is meant to provide useful information that may help you to make a better decision as you seek to maintain, expand or upgrade.

I'll tell you up front the general consensus is that plenty of good, reliable equipment is currently available and it's a great time to buy. With that said, it's also a tough time for some newspapers to think about capital investments of any sort. But as many of our companies expand into commercial printing as a result of less profitable properties moving their printing, opportunities now exist for those in the growth mode to secure some wonderful deals on used equipment.

How has your business changed as a result of consolidations becoming more and more common in our newspaper industry?

TSC: Consolidations have created new projects for us like our recently completed Concord Monitor DGM 850 press installation, and on the other side, it opened up opportunities to purchase well-cared-for equipment which are no longer in...

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