World Association of News Publishers

INCQC 2014-2016: Interview with Aaron Phipps, Advance Central Services Michigan

INCQC 2014-2016: Interview with Aaron Phipps, Advance Central Services Michigan

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Advance Central Services Michigan, publisher of The Grand Rapids Press, is the only U.S. member of WAN-IFRA's International Newspaper Color Quality Club (INCQC) for 2014-2016. In this e-mail interview, Aaron Phipps, Advance's manufacturing plant manager, discusses why his company entered the contest, the challenges it faced, and the benefits it sees from INCQC membership.

WAN-IFRA: There are a number of good reasons to participate in this contest. What was your strongest motivation?

Aaron Phipps: Improve the quality of our printed products and have confirmation from an independent organisation that we print to high quality standards.

How did you prepare for the contest?

We needed to improve the quality of products that have low copy counts where the press run speeds are slow. Normally newspapers print large quantities of papers very quickly and we were faced with needing to print products of 2,000 to 7,000 copies and do so with very good quality. We had to adjust the press ink and water curves at low press speeds to achieve results that would meet the ISO standards for newspaper reproduction.

What was the biggest challenge?

The biggest challenge was achieving ISO print quality standards that would be acceptable to submit to the INCQC in just a few thousand copies into a press run and not generate excessive waste. We learned that it is possible to have high scoring samples at 2,000 copies into the press run.

Did you use the self-check possibility?


What were your experiences?

We used the self-check as a means to verify that our measurements and calculations were in agreement with the calculations used by WAN-IFRA. The usage of self-check is very quick, but it would be nice to be able to upload more than one set of data at a time. This is why we use our own formulas to calculate differences in densitometer readings from ISO standards.

Every copy evaluation is followed by an individual and detailed report. Did these reports help you in your quality optimisation process?

Absolutely. They were confirmation that our measurements were correct and allowed us to make adjustments as necessary for any given element in the competition.

What does it mean to your company (thinking about your employees and your customers) to be internationally recognised for belonging to the world's best in newspaper print quality?

It provides independent organisation verification that we print well. It is validation for the staff that they are performing well and the competition provides a means to keep the quality level high. It also helps us demonstrate to our print customers that we can consistently produce a high quality product.

Will you actively announce your success?


Do you plan to participate next time?



Charlotte Janischewski's picture

Charlotte Janischewski


2014-07-16 09:24

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The International Color Quality Club is the only worldwide printing quality competition for newspapers and magazines. Its goal is to improve the quality of reproduction and printing in production, while also increasing competitiveness as well as training and motivating all personnel. Read more ...

Publishers and printers around the world have come to expect WAN-IFRA to provide the most up-to-date know-how about production processes, whether it be in prepress, printing, workflow or postpress. Its range of advisory services, trainings, reports and events are unparalleled. Read more ...