Consolidated Drake Press

A full service, sheet-fed, union printing company that proudly services non-profits, corporations, and academia in the Philadelphia region.

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“While print continues to enlighten and motivate and we continue to improve our technology and strategies, technology has definitely changed the way we do business,” says Maureen Dobuski as she walks us through the plant.   In the past, clients came to the press with an idea of what they wanted.  Consolidated was able to consult on the production techniques and materials that were available to get a client a product they wanted that fit their budget.  Now, clients send digital files.  They want fast turnaround and a good price.  "There can be a disconnect," says Dobuski, "people can print one up from their computer at home, so they wonder why we need planning time and time to secure materials.  Consolidated Drake Press is a sheet-fed printing company, our process takes time.”  She says, "one example of modern technology would be direct to plate - film has been eliminated”, as she points to a machine that looks like a zamboni towing a photocopier, "very large film".  That expense has been cut out by technological advances.  "We've got an attic full old film flats that we are recycling. In fact, virtually everything is recycled from front door to back."

The downside of keeping up with technology—is it can be more efficient therefore eliminating a job instead of creating one.  Technological updates are a cold reality in this industry.   As Dobuski says "it's modernize or die.  You're either moving forward or you're fading out."   This problem becomes increasingly complex in the face of city and state agencies that offer assistance based on a dollars-per-jobs created formula.  "That old rule of thumb does not work anymore.  Sometimes you have to make sure you hold on to jobs you already have," says Dobuski. 

In this scenario, the jobs/skills mismatch is expanding.  There are fewer jobs, and the jobs that remain are more technically demanding.  Dobuski explains: "The union has a hand in keeping members up to skill, yes.  On the other hand, we can’t have technical high schools teaching obsolete methods.  We need to go after these kids in junior high and teach them the basics needed to be successful in securing and keeping a job; i.e. to show up on time, make eye contact and take an interest in their job.  These are the skills that apply in any job.  You can teach a kid to use a computer in high school but, if they can't get to work on time--they're not going to keep a job."

Dobuski is quick to compliment the long relationship Consolidated Drake Press has had with Philadelphia.  "We frequently get calls from Real Estate agents, trying to get us to move to Camden.  We love Philadelphia--our client base of non-profits, corporations and academia is here. We are in a stable neighborhood with good access to the highways for deliveries.  Wages are going up in China.  The cost of shipping is going up.  Manufacturing can come back; we’ve got to be ready.  The schools have to be ready."

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