The BPIF has revamped its quality colour standards qualification to take into account the wider options for standardising and controlling colour beyond ISO 12647-2. It is being able to print consistently to an agreed and recognised standard that is important rather than adherence to the four-colour litho standard per se, though ISO 12647-2 will remain the dominant choice.
At the same time, the BPIF is promoting diagnostic days where consultants help businesses identify colour issues and to implement the first stage of a process controlled system rather than imposing a full third-party audit. This can be followed by more detailed workshops and Gap Analysis before a company feels prepared to seek formal assessment. How this will work will be rolled out in seminars across the country later this year.
“We know that the need for a colour standard is greater than ever,” says BPIF chief executive Charles Jarrold. “We are using more processes, litho, gravure, digital, flexo than ever before and getting colour consistency across products and substrates is more important than ever.”
The BPIF qualification retains its link to Ukas, representing independent third-party auditing of the system and, through its close link to ISO 9001, remains the only system where monitoring is continuous. With others requiring printing to a test chart every six months, the link to every job is broken.
However, the challenge lies in making Version 3.0 more appealing than the previous iterations where fewer than a dozen companies have the full BPIF colour quality system and fewer still have the Technical Compliance certificate meant as a part way to a full certificate. The two-step qualification ion is retained in the new version with Professional and Elite levels.
Now the emphasis is very much on the ROI through reductions in time, waste and rework that inconsistent quality is associated with. While unable to put a figure on this both Dax Britton, colour champion for DG3, and Nigel Lyon, managing director of Pinstripe, both endorsed this aspect. “There are big savings,” says Lyons. For Britton, key is that DG3 now has a process to control colour not just across digital technologies, but also across print sites in Dagenham and Gillingham, Kent.
More importantly, with the change in ISO 9001 to stress removal of risk, the BPIF’s colour quality standard has a natural home. “If a company claims to print to ISO 12647-2, an ISO 9001 auditor will be entitled to ask the company to prove this. At best this means machine time to run test jobs, at worst a printer cannot prove the claim, while the BPIF certificate will be proof that the company prints to the ISO standard,” says Paul Sherfield, managing director of the Missing horse consultancy, and involved in creating the standard.
And the risk is real. The most frequent reason for failing an audit, says Sherfield, comes down to the print test.
Chris Selby, BPIF director of special projects, says that nevertheless interest in certification is increasing, not diminishing. This is driven by customers who make compliance to a colour standard part of a tender form or an SLA. The Gap Analysis programme that the BPIF uses will identify what a company needs to do to bring itself in line. “In most cases people than ask for help rather than try to do it themselves,” he says.
Colour qualifications will be more important as customers demand evidence that a printer does indeed print to an agreed standard or where being able to do this become critical to achieving an ISO 9001 audit under the latest version of the management certificate.