APN Print New Zealand has become the first Kiwi offset newspaper printer to gain membership in the exclusive WAN-IFRA International Newspaper Colour Quality Club for 2014-2016, and West Australian Newspapers has returned to the fold for the third time.
The two are among a number of global mastheads to be accepted into the club, recognised as one of the most prestigious quality competitions in the world.
APN Print NZ general manager Dan Blackbourn said that while it took time to reach world class ranking, the experience provided invaluable lessons for everyone involved.
“This achievement, along with the various other quality awards that APN Print Ellerslie has collected over the years, is testimony of the pursuit of excellence demonstrated by our team,” Mr Blackbourn said.
“Our commitment to quality and service is at the forefront of everything we do, and we believe that quality print is still a viable carrier of advertising and news.
“Standards of entry to WAN-IFRA are exceptionally demanding, so securing this membership is a tremendous achievement and recognises an ongoing commitment from both staff and the management team,” he said.
Regarded as the worldwide benchmark for quality newspaper printing operations, the WAN IFRA International Newspaper Colour Quality Club is the only global quality benchmarking test for newspaper printing.
Membership is contested every two years, with the testing process divided in two parts: measurement of the printed IFRA Cuboid test element over the three month competition period, and a general print quality analysis of two copies of each publication by an international panel of experts, sampled at random during the three month competition period.
A highly detailed scientific feedback report is then provided to each entrant, evaluating all aspects influencing colour quality from reproduction and print production, to paper and inks used.
APN Print’s membership was secured for product printed on a 19-year-old Goss HT70 double-width press “with a team of skilled craftsmen.”
WAN general manager, group operations and information technology, Liam Roche described the company’s printing as world class. “This result is a tribute to our production team who have the printing plant operating at a high level of excellence,” Mr Roche said.
“For our readers, the print quality enhances the visual impact of our award-winning photography. Similarly, the reproduction quality of advertisements in the publications generates excellent results for our advertisers.”
Mr Roche described the four to five month WAN-INFRA examination as “a long haul”.
“It’s about optimising all your processes and making sure everything’s operating at a technically excellent level, at a consistency benchmarked against other papers.”
The achievement was also good for the motivation of the people at the plant, recognising their professionalism, he said.
“The staff take pride in their work, and it’s easy to align with them on safety and quality.
“We’re tickled pink, delighted to have been operating at a level of excellence for six years.”
Both companies will be presented with their memberships at the 2014 World Publishing Expo in Amsterdam in October.
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