Cliché Size and How It Can Affect Your Bottom Line

Recently it came to my attention that not all of my customers are aware of some hidden expenses.

For example, the cliché size vs. your business expenses is directly analogous with an electric/hybrid vehicle vs. a gas guzzler’s effect on gas costs. The hybrid costs more up front but the gas guzzler costs more at the pump.

I was visiting a customer in Miami a couple of weeks back and we walked over to a bunch of inexpensive-looking pad printing machines with 90mm cups. The client asked me to quote clichés for these machines. Their business uses about 6,000 clichés per year and the cliché size for these machines is 100x300mm. This is a full 100mm longer then the clichés our “expensive” “hybrid” pad printer uses.

The cost differential on the larger clichés: a full 30% more (in dollar terms about $1.80 more per cliché) than the smaller 100x200mm. This translates into about $10,800 cost per year more for their clichés  than for our machine!

“Why is the cliché on your machine only 200mm long while these are 300mm long?” asked the client.

“The answer is simple,” I replied. “Our machine uses a separate pad drive and cliché drive, while this manufacturer uses only one drive for both the pad and cup. When you use a single drive, the cup and the pad bars are connected together. To reach a comfortable distance that allows a decent part size to fit in front of the machine, the stroke on the cliché has to be the same as the stroke on the pad. So the cliché also is longer to accommodate the longer stroke. My friend, the machine is cheaper but the plates are making you ‘drive to the gas station’ more frequently.”

Sometimes we think that because a machine or product is cheaper we are saving money. But this example is evidence to the contrary.

Lesson: Shop well and buy from a company  you can trust.

This customer is now replacing all these machines with a more expensive – but better quality – machine that will cost less to operate and rescue his bottom line in the long run.