Make ready, production ready, run ready. All these terms mean exactly the same thing! Essentially a Make ready is an industry term that describes the time and costs and extra materials involved in preparing for a job prior to production. These make ready costs are normally priced in to a quote but it’s also good for the customer to understand the quoting process.
In some ways, these make ready processes can be compared to cooking. For example in the case of printing, you will need the right recipe, your design has to fit the intended media, set up for production and be prepared to properly separate into printing plate. And then the presses, ovens, have to be prepared as well. The plates have to be fitted and aligned to the press cylinders, the ink has to be prepared and inserted into the machine correctly, and the paper has to prepared as well. Then, they all have to come together and work as one working unit.
Throughout this process the print technician is making constant adjustments. Aligning the print cylinders, adjusting the amount of ink that is reaching the paper, and generally ensuring that the final product meets the right standard. But many of the necessary adjustments can’t be made without seeing how the ink and press interact with the paper. And so, where a chef might constantly taste to see how a recipe is progressing, the print technician needs a make ready to visually “taste” a printed project and see what needs adjustment. Mind you this is only the make ready for the printing process!
Further through the production line you will have make readys for the Guillotine (cutting the printed cardboard to shape), Die cutting (setting up machines to press out the cardboards in to shape, gluing and folding (if the box requires). All of these processes are equally important and have similar make ready times between 30 mins- 2 hours. How long a make ready costs and takes generally depends on how complex or the type of job.