With the goal in mind of continuously evolving operations to offer exceptional value to its customers, Freedom Graphic Systems, one of the largest family-owned direct mail marketing providers in the United States, has revealed their key to success: investing in technology that bolsters its one-to-one direct mail printing, mailing, and logistics solutions.
Boasting six campuses nationwide, Freedom Graphic Systems continues to build on its mission, which started with its founding in 1986, to become a one-stop shop for integrated marketing solutions. After entering the digital print business in 2011, Freedom continued to innovate using Canon technology.
Recently, Freedom started incorporating two of Canon’s landmark inkjet web presses that contribute to Canon’s inkjet market share leadership, including the ColorStream 6000 series inkjet web press and the ProStream 1800 inkjet web press that can print up to speeds of 436 feet-per-minute.
Eric Blohm, president of Freedom, said the pandemic encouraged the company to embody a stronger solution-focused approach while quickly and mindfully adapting to changing needs for its clients. Blohm explained a major selling point for customers is the capability for personalization, which makes aligning direct marketing applications to technology an important goal. However, Freedom was in need of a production run solution for digital clients, which was solved with the acquisition of the Canon ColorStream 6900; part of a series of versatile inkjet web presses that offers flexibility for high-speed color and monochrome production that can be used for direct mail and other data driven applications.
“We started with the ColorStream 6900, which enabled us to take older offset presses and laser printers out of production and convert two processes into one,” said Blohm, who added that Freedom did not want to replace an aging press and laser platform with the same type of older technology. “The addition of the 6900 enabled us to offer even stronger solutions for clients. We were able to reduce labor costs along with reducing paper waste, which played a major role during the pandemic, and allowed us to be more agile.”
“Converting laser and litho production to digital was an easier sell to customers thanks to the incorporation of the ProStream 1800,” said Bill Sloyan, vice president of sales and technical services for Freedom. “Clients benefit from increased quality compared to what they were receiving from the traditional laser-and-litho environment, with digital also providing cycle time reduction and greater productivity,” according to Blohm.
While running quality comparison tests, Blohm confirmed nine out of 10 clients were unable to distinguish litho versus digital inkjet production output, but were able to discern if print quality did not meet expectations. The factors used to determine if Canon presses were the right fit included the abilities to provide consistent color quality, reduce overall costs, and increase productivity and run speed.
“It is crucial that we produce the same, if not better, high-quality output that our customers are used to and expect from Freedom,” said Sloyan. “The color quality and accuracy of the ProStream 1800 is very impressive. We understand the quality and consistency that come with reproducing a client’s logo, and the ProStream 1800 was one of the major advances in being able to get the gamut correct. There’s only one way it can look and the ProStream gets it right every single time.”
“A hallmark of Freedom’s operation has been its willingness to invest in technology and draw on its experience to develop digital applications to offer customizable solutions for customers’ workflows. By developing more than 250 different formats per year, the varying templates for litho and digital production, aided by Canon presses, can help clients feel comfortable in choosing a path that best fits their goals,” Blohm said.
Javier Gibert, SVP of Operations at Freedom, said Canon Solutions America’s ability to provide instruction—both in the classroom and on the floor for practical demonstrations—was extremely beneficial. “Canon Solutions America did a really great job with classroom training and on-the-floor training,” Gibert said.
By incorporating Canon’s technology with decades of experience and expertise, Freedom is ready to move into a future completely driven by production inkjet presses. “Our mission is to accelerate the replacement of litho presses with inkjet presses,” Blohm said. “We feel we are in a really great position as a company and thanks to Canon Solutions America, we feel ready and prepared for anything that comes our way.”
“There are many benefits to digital production, and we are very happy to hear that Canon Solutions America has helped provide Freedom with the ability to offer increased personalization options for its customers,” said Francis McMahon, executive vice president, Production Print Solutions, Canon Solutions America, Inc. “It is very heartening to know that Canon has been able to help Freedom fulfill its goal of providing high-quality production while at the same time increasing productivity and run speed.”
The views and opinions expressed here are based on the actual experiences of the customer. Testimonials are not claimed to represent typical results, and various factors can impact different customers’ results.