Next up in our profiles in quarantine is the lady who spends much of her time profiling. Not the psycho criminal kind, the ink, paper, press kind. Mary, the inkjet genie, is based in Indiana USA – but normally spends a lot of her time flying to different sites to work on presses for OEMs, print operations or paper mills. Like the rest of us, she’s been grounded. Unlike most of us, she has a complete lab set up on her property so she can still “commute.”
What can you tell us about this picture?
This is my lab and my constant companion, Max. In the lower corner is a picture of a piece of equipment used for measuring the temperature of non-porous stock when evaluating ink compatibility issues and wet out. I spiked a fever and didn’t have a regular thermometer so I used this. (So far, I’m okay!)
How much do work from home when there’s not a pandemic?
Technically, I don’t work from home at all. I commute about 100 yards. We built a 60×80 foot building on our property in 2014 with a finished studio/lab. It took us 2.5 years to complete doing most of the work ourselves. I am very lucky to have this and to do what I do.
Days at home since March 1?
All of them!
What are you doing to keep your spirits up?
Still trying to do everything I can for customers without going on-site. My son has been bringing me lunch from the house and we sit and talk. He is 22 and home from college and missing his girlfriend. Since I am here in my lab all day with Max, my dog, the music has been cranked listening to Beastie Boys and Metallica. I love what I do so being in my office working I don’t feel quarantined. For now that is. If it was mid- winter and I couldn’t go outside, I might be crazier than usual. It’s still cold enough that my cross trainer and I are getting reacquainted.
What can you still work on remotely?
I have a Canon wide format aqueous dye system, test bed inkjet printers, color spectros, QEA and a ColorGate Rapid Spectro Cube in my lab to keep me busy. There are updates and testing I was not able to get around to that I can now.
A big part of my day is helping customers remotely with Team Viewer. I use Viewer in my day to day work, but now more than ever I really depend on it. I’m working remotely developing RIP configurations for customers who need to simulate their single pass or scan inkjet devices. I’m also doing research for customers who need options to improve their print processes. A lot of work can be done with Team Viewer, but some still needs to be on site and that work is on hold.
What are your favorite stories of people/companies helping others during the pandemic?
Hats off to companies that are paying their employees while operations are shut down and I hope to hear more companies helping with hardships. There have been a few printers who have been sharing work with other companies as their staffing is limited. Keep this up, we need to support each other.
What are your top tips for printing companies in managing through the pandemic?
#1 Stay safe! Your health and your employees’ health is the most important thing. If you still have staff on location, have lunch/meals delivered each day while they are working. This will help avoid exposure and show your appreciation (don’t forget to spray the packages when they come in.)
To make employees productive at home, consider documenting and updating Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) and color workflow processes and see if there are ways to increase production throughput, color or print quality. This can help you keep your team productive while driving down future costs.
I’m getting a lot of fun emails from customers with their dogs acting goofy, kids tied up (jokingly), and their bourbon collections. Keep sending the fun emails and remember your employees need motivation too.
What do you think OEMs can/should do to help their customers?
Help them find other solutions for any consumable which would normally come from overseas locations that are locked down in quarantine. Print heads, paper, ink are all things which we manufacturer overseas and in the USA. Your contingency plan for your existing customers should be your first thought. This will be hard, but take off the sales hat and remember that keeping these printers going is the core of your business, not new sales.
Thanks for sharing Mary. Beastie Boys say “No Sleep Till Brooklyn” is out of quarantine. Stay safe my friends.