Nancy Thomsen, President, featured in Repro
Salinas, Calif. - July 11, 2003:
A Closer Look - Digital Slowly But Surely
When Andrew's Blueprint Inc. went digital in 1999 with
a Kip 2900, it seemed like a bold move. But in retrospect,
owner Nancy Thomsen believes that her Salinas, CA-based
company didn't operate digitally in the true sense of
the word until January of 2002.
"A couple of years ago, we visited a vendor in
Livermore that also has a small repro business and saw
it run a state-ofthe- art machine, and I suddenly realized
that we had digital technology, but we didn't really
know how to use it. So despite what ended up being a
costly investment, I came back and made a very easy
That fateful decision was for Andrew's Blueprint to
get its foot in the digital door in a serious way, a
goal Thomsen and her six-member staff strive for to
this day. The challenge is this: Salinas is an agricultural
area an hour away from the San Jose, and local architects
are rather set in their ways.
"We've really been pushing digital for a year
now, and while it's beginning to catch on, we've had
to work very hard to convince people to follow us,"
Thomsen says. "There are all kinds of contradictions.
For example, there are some folks who draw in AutoCAD
but insist on blueprints rather than bond. They don't
understand that they're going to get a cleaner, faster
print with the ability to make changes on the fly rather
than dealing with velums."
As evidenced in a company news release issued last
fall, Thomsen harps on the speed, ease and accuracy
of digital prepress and output. Many customers are still
hesitant to send files via email or work with blueprints
that aren't actually blue.
"Every [digital] print looks exactly like the
original because it is an original," the release
states. "This process takes a fraction of the time
that the older blueline process demands. Andrews also
accepts files for plotting by CD, zip disk or floppy
disk at no extra charge. The new digital technology
also scans large documents and prints them with the
same quality benefits."
Occasionally, customers will surprise Thomsen. "They
sometimes change in spite of their fears. I remember
asking people if they were interested in having their
archives scanned and stored digitally, and they said,
'No.' Well, the Monterey County planning department
has given us 4,000 maps to scan. You don't expect local
governments to beat the private sector on technology,
but I was impressed with what the county has planned.
They're setting up what amounts to a basic plan room
that makes the maps viewable. It's funny, because I
had promoted plan rooms to the county awhile ago.
Thomsen knows the fine line between encouraging customers
to modernize and pushing them too far too fast. In fact,
Andrew's once landed a job precisely because it respected
a customer's limitations when the competition did not.
"A local school district was doing a massive modernization
project, and the firm handling it was headquartered
30 minutes away," Thomsen says. "They had
received some quotes from another repro shop, but the
trouble was that there was a requirement to be trained
on the shop's plan room. The customer just wanted printing
and didn't really need plan room capabilities, so we
became the preferred option."
It was a gargantuan project that obligated Thomsen
and her husband to work nights and weekends in order
to produce several hundred thousand pages and a large
number of spec books in a six-week period. But this
huge undertaking also served as a big wakeup call.
"We were forced into digital, but in a pleasant
sort of way. Our customer wanted everything done in
bond, and there was no way our little machine, which
did something like three pages a minute, could handle
the job. We knew we were headed that way eventually,
but it was definitely some extra incentive."
Thomsen, President, (831) 424-0331
About Andrews Blueprint, Inc.
Since it was developed in the 1840's, blueprinting has
been an invaluable aid to the technology, development
and growth of our nation. Engineering firms, architects,
surveyors and construction companies in the area have
learned to rely on Andrews Blueprint
for our blueprinting and drafting needs.
Established in 1962 and located in Salinas California,
our family owned and operated business is one of the
foremost blueprinting firms throughout the Monterey
Peninsula. President Nancy Thomsen has consistently
been a leader in the printing and reprographics market
by adding new technology and up-to-date services including
pick-up and delivery in Salinas and the Monterey Peninsula.
Our dedication to detail, accuracy and customer support
has earned us a reputation that is unequaled in the