Of course we're a printing company!



  • Not long ago my employer switched to a different printing company.  They were faster and cheaper, and the samples they sent looked good.

    I won't say the actual name of the printing company, but I'll give you the acronym:  WTE.   Really.

    Now,  before the switch, a few people looked at the samples the company sent, and approved them.  That's all.  Nobody investigated their printing technology, or sent off a book for a custom sample.

    Once we sent off the first batch of books/manuals to WTE to be printed, we noticed some problems.

    Firstly, the blue-lines sent back (proofs, sent back to us by the printer before a large print run, to make sure everything is okay) had a lot of issues.  Namely, the covers of one book were on the wrong book.  The paper weights were wrong, causing spine widths to be different, which meant that covers just fell off since they didn't fit.  The company was incapable of printing a full bleed, and couldn't do gradations on books larger than 6"x9".  The wrong style of paper was used on a number of blue-lines, which made the books unusable.

    We went back to WTE, and told them about the problems.  They corrected them, and several print runs of different books went through.

    When the books got into the warehouse, however, all of the same issues happened again.  We have crates filled with books with the wrong cover, books that were falling apart, colors that were totally off, perforated paper in books, and so on.

    Eventually WTE admitted that they were just technologically incapable of printing the books to our specifications.

    Meanwhile, we have an inventory of useless books, back-orders piling up, missed shipping deadlines, and many unhappy customers.

    We had to go back to our original printing company, and pay all kinds of fees to get the late books rushed through.

    We still use WTE for printing smaller jobs; and hope that they will one day be able to take on larger ones more reliably.  Every time a book is getting sent off to WTE,  we all cross our fingers.

    I'm sure you can figure out our nickname for WTE.



  • WTE... WTE... WTE...

    "What To Expect"?  "Worst Team Ever"?  "Wolverine Tractor and Equipment"?

    Based on your description I would say "Waste To Energy" is most accurate, although they may have the order backwards.

     



  • First, why is this a compter-related WTF?

    Second,  sounds like any other standard business contract.  Contract specifies the work to be done by WTE; also specifies what damages are incurred if WTE fails to perform.  You get a lawyer, they get a lawyer, you spend some time totalling up actual expenses and damages; you convey that to their lawyer; they pay you, you throw away the useless books.  Or you sue them and essentially shut down their business.

    If they were unable to perform the required work, and knew that they were unable to perform the required work, they should not have taken the business.  If they knew and still took on the work, they deserve to be shut down.

     

     

     



  • @dogbrags said:

    First, why is this a compter-related WTF?
    I should have been more explicit on the technology component.

    One of the reasons for the issues was that there were file-format incompatibilities which no one verified beforehand.  Further, their printers weren't able to print at the higher resolutions we required, resulting in a really bad looking print (which no one at WTE bothered to notify us about - they just sent us the books without a single word regarding their technology issues).

    This is a computer-related WTF largely because everyone took the technology for granted and didn't take the time to investigate all the implications of switching to a new company.  The decision to move was made by writers, editors, and (mainly) accounting - not by people who understood the technologies involved and what needed to be done in order to ensure that the new printer could handle the work.

    In short, it's a continuation of that tired theme of people making technology related decisions that they are not qualified to make, motivated by the idea of cutting costs.



  • @KrakenLover said:

    Meanwhile, we have an inventory of useless books
     

    =( That's a lot of dead trees that could otherwise have been made into wooden tables.



  • @dogbrags said:

    If they were unable to perform the required work, and knew that they were unable to perform the required work, they should not have taken the business.  If they knew and still took on the work, they deserve to be shut down.

    That, or they bite the bullet, get the equipment that CAN do the job, finish your run at a loss, but make it back later thanks to the fact that they can now handle those types of jobs.



  • @Soviut said:

    @dogbrags said:
    If they were unable to perform the required work, and knew that they were unable to perform the required work, they should not have taken the business.  If they knew and still took on the work, they deserve to be shut down.

    That, or they bite the bullet, get the equipment that CAN do the job, finish your run at a loss, but make it back later thanks to the fact that they can now handle those types of jobs.

     

    I can hear the PHB now; "That's crazy talk! Spend money? Take a loss? And what's this "later" you keep talking about? Just take their money and send them the books, maybe they won't notice."



  • I wonder if there's a "Curious perversions in printing technology" forum somewhere out there that has this story told from a printer's point of view:

    "We do printing for small-scale operations like community theatre programs, school yearbooks, wedding invitations, and the like, and my exec blindly agreed to do this job for half the money one would expect using technology we don't have. I brought the issue up to my idiot boss, but he said, "Just get it done." now we have boxes and boxes of rejected books because my boss doesn't know how to tell a client no. Ugh, FML."



  • @dogbrags said:

    First, why is this a compter-related WTF?

    Why did you think it was?



  • wow, just wow.

    I think it is pretty normal for small shops to buy cheaper under-specced printers that will do the job for small print jobs.   (for instance an old boss of mine would constantly run heavier paper trough a printer that wasn't actually fit for it, but for small runs it wasn't really a problem)
    But how the hell were they planning to "fix" the problem of not being able to run full bleed? sprinkle some toner on the edges and rub it with a wet finger? 



  • @KrakenLover said:

    @dogbrags said:

    First, why is this a compter-related WTF?
    I should have been more explicit on the technology component.

    One of the reasons for the issues was that there were file-format incompatibilities which no one verified beforehand.  Further, their printers weren't able to print at the higher resolutions we required, resulting in a really bad looking print (which no one at WTE bothered to notify us about - they just sent us the books without a single word regarding their technology issues).

    This is a computer-related WTF largely because everyone took the technology for granted and didn't take the time to investigate all the implications of switching to a new company. <FONT style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #ffffff"><FONT color=#ff0000> The decision</FONT></FONT> to move<FONT color=#ff0000> was made by</FONT> writers, editors, and (mainly)<FONT color=#ff0000> accounting</FONT> - not by people who understood the technologies involved and what needed to be done in order to ensure that the new printer could handle the work.

    In short, it's a continuation of that tired theme of people making technology related decisions that they are not qualified to make, motivated by the idea of cutting costs.

    Yeah... that never leads to problems. I guess there wasn't a printing company in Bangalore (with Peggy or Steve manning the customer support phones) who'd do the job for even LESS money.



  • @SQLDave said:

    @KrakenLover said:

    This is a computer-related WTF largely because everyone took the technology for granted and didn't take the time to investigate all the implications of switching to a new company. <font style="background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255);"><font color="#ff0000"> The decision</font></font> to move<font color="#ff0000"> was made by</font> writers, editors, and (mainly)<font color="#ff0000"> accounting</font> - not by people who understood the technologies involved and what needed to be done in order to ensure that the new printer could handle the work.

    In short, it's a continuation of that tired theme of people making technology related decisions that they are not qualified to make, motivated by the idea of cutting costs.

    Yeah... that never leads to problems.

     

    Unknown unknowns lead people to overestimate their qualifitications.

    I'm sure if you brought them together in a room and asked "WHY didn't you come to me for advice?", they'd reply with a variation of "we didn't think it was so involved that we had to ask for expert guidance."



  • @RHuckster said:

    I wonder if there's a "Curious perversions in printing technology" forum somewhere out there that has this story told from a printer's point of view:

    "We do printing for small-scale operations like community theatre programs, school yearbooks, wedding invitations, and the like, and my exec blindly agreed to do this job for half the money one would expect using technology we don't have. I brought the issue up to my idiot boss, but he said, "Just get it done." now we have boxes and boxes of rejected books because my boss doesn't know how to tell a client no. Ugh, FML."

    Reverse WTF, yay !

    Now who's going to write Paula Bean's story from her own point of view ?



  • @KrakenLover said:

    We went back to WTE, and told them about the problems.  They corrected them, and several print runs of different books went through.

    When the books got into the warehouse, however, all of the same issues happened again.  We have crates filled with books with the wrong cover, books that were falling apart, colors that were totally off, perforated paper in books, and so on.

    Eventually WTE admitted that they were just technologically incapable of printing the books to our specifications.

    Wait, how did they make the initial corrections then? Did they farm them out to someone else?



  • @cconroy said:

    Wait, how did they make the initial corrections then? Did they farm them out to someone else?
    They corrected some things; others we didn't notice in the second set of proofs sent back to us (again, we were running past deadlines because of this, so I don't think the second set of proofs was checked carefully).  Further, the writers/editors tend to be the ones to do most of the proof checking, not our designers.  So our editors don't know what types of printing errors to look for, that only our designers would know about.  And so on.


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