CPR BEGINS its NEW BUSINESS MODEL
Announcement June 29, 2018
After 14 years working in parts reproduction for the hobby, we are pleased to announce that CPR is completely changing it's production model to something absolutely revolutionary for reproduction parts making. This takes effect immediately. This underlying foundational change will also be accompanied by some other much-needed upgrades, which will come online shortly. More on that in a minute...
First and foremost, this coming week begins the official launch of CPR's new Digital Production Suite. The biggest investment in our history. We had been building to this moment for a very long time. Literally a brand spanking new facility, completely owned and ours, for the creation of perfection-level quality reproduction parts. Featuring a giant digital press, which is now by far the largest and most expensive piece of equipment CPR has invested in, to date. We're betting our future on this beautiful baby, and it's going to change how we deliver repro parts to the hobby forever.
Since February, we explored with stringent due diligence, the trials and print tests, and considerable financial planning. Even though the investment was scary, the technology had undeniably come to the point where we could look away no longer. The time to wean ourselves off silkscreen printing tech and equipment from the 1980's was simply a reality we had to face. Digital presses were just too good, reliable, clean, and turnaround times blew oldschool screening away. So reality won, and we set in motion the path to a major upgrade. After all the freight, suite construction, installation, training, and trials... the keys to this new ride are now ours to do as we see fit. Now it's time.
With this suite, comes the complete shift of the CPR production model. Traditional silkscreening had us bootstrapped to "runs" ... meaning a SINGLE reproduction project (glass, plastics set, or playfield) had to be all batched together into one big upfront production run. Our model of 14 years was doing it this way. To bring you a single new release, a week or two had to be laid out to print 100-200 pieces of the same thing. One color at a time, with hours of drying in between. Taking advantage of precious press time - making sure to make plenty to justify the week(s) of time and expense... and all those individual press setups, runs, and teardowns... sometimes 8-14... just to create one repro project. Then that one item went up for sale. One item. Then onto the next one.
Each CPR product would sit online and sell, until it drew down to "sold out" (taking months to YEARS). Then once it was gone, and say it took two years for all 100+ items to go, we would then sit "sold out"... The hobby had seen the repro items come and go. The only way to see them again was a "re-run" - where we start all over again, and go through the same thing, to produce another big batch - and release it again. But as we all know, re-runs are rare - due to the risk of the second go-around selling to an already 90%-served market. Re-runs get sales, but it depends. Many CPR projects dating all the way back to 2004 had been mothballed - considered not worth the risk to make 100+ again... with no hope of that ever changing. The barrier? The silkscreening model.
What if we could make one at a time?
Starting now, this IS the reality at CPR. This changes everything - not only here - but for repro in the hobby at large. This is a staggering new reality here - so let this sink in - THERE IS NOW NO SUCH THING AS A MINIMUM RUN SIZE AT CPR. We can make ten. We can make fifty. We can make one. No barriers to market any longer.
So what does this mean? Going forward, CPR will be immediately moving our Plastics and Backglasses printing exclusively to this suite. Playfields will continue to be silkscreened when done in the large first-release-type batches - but here's the kicker: Once those big first batches sell out, we will be introducing Made-For-You individual playfields, which will be printed in the digital suite. That means theoretically no CPR playfield will ever go out of stock in the distant future. Nobody will ever have to wait for a re-run. CPR playfields will be perpetually "re-run" as individual one-offs, as ordered by customers... on demand ! But that's down the road a bit. The main change right now are Plastics and Backglasses.
With no "re-runs" needed anymore... we now begin the opening of the floodgates to EVERY CPR PLASTIC SET and BACKGLASS going all the way back to 2004 (all 130+ legacy products that have been sold out for years to a over a decade) to become available, perpetually, until the day we retire. These will release in waves, as we convert and re-tool our legacy art packages for the new press. This will take the next few months to see it all released. The hobby will enjoy the availability of these items at ALL TIMES. Meaning, the tricky predicting and planning while seeing our past releases come and go, will all be a thing of the past. You won't have to contemplate your future collection plans, machines you hope to buy, machines you WILL buy, etc into the future... worrying whether to buy now when available. We'll have them available until the day we retire. Huge difference. All 14 years of past product are coming back "IN STOCK" ... beginning now.
**Quality: Our digital press has print/ink quality to staggering photographic levels - meaning detail in microns. No longer will we be pushing ink through silk mesh shapes. As a 14 year silkscreener and purist, I had to concede that this tech had finally surpassed traditional spot-color screening. Not only in detail, but consistency and cleanliness of the print(s). Our 4-years of producing CMYK (photographic/watercolor painting) style backglasses, for example, have seen results both of the good and the not-so-good. There was no control with silkscreening. Your image was what the film lab separated into dots for your screens. Coarse dots, at that. Only half to a third of the resolution of the original glasses (you can't raster new dots any finer from old source). Again, we were bootstrapped and limited by the tech and realities of screening. Not anymore! CMYK type backglasses can now be produced picture-perfect, with virtually zero loss from the NOS source. Glasses with mirror will be hybrids - screened mirror, digital ink layers. Those will be the last glasses to come online. Looking deeper into the future, we have realized dozens of potential capabilities that CPR can grow into. We'll cross those bridges when we get there. But for example - there would be no reason that CPR couldn't introduce a line of playfield hard-tops for every CPR playfield we have ever done back to 2004... taking care of that price point for restorers / fixer-uppers that otherwise wouldn't justify (or couldn't afford) a $600-$800 playfield. Made one-at-a-time, on demand. We shall see.
**Boutique items and Personal Projects: Looking out further into the future, we're going to get to the point where we can finally attack those "boutique" playfields, glasses, and plastics sets that barely had 25 people signed up to buy, after 3-4 years. The ones that never had a hope in hell of ever being justified to go into (silkscreening) production. NOW THEY ARE VIABLE. Heck, now even if there was ONE signup ... it's now technically viable. Once we get the mainline/legacy products rolling for months to a year, those doors open up to taking on very small runs - serving 1-25 people. This will also eventually extend into a new CPR offering - Personal projects that YOU commission! The ground rules aren't set in stone yet, but roughly it will mean: Any talented/superfan pinballer with a dream - can make it reality ! Meaning, if you lay out the artwork, cuts (if necessary), and present CPR with your project - we CAN and WILL make you that ONE playfield/glass/plastics. If it's for an existing machine, we are thinking about doing it for FREE - IF you allow us to shelve the design materials you provided, and allow us to make/sell other copies to those that need them. If no order(s) come in, that's our risk. Just an idea. A distant idea for this model. But it's completely possible. Pet projects? Rethemes? Custom one-off games? YES - CPR will be the hobby's turnkey shop to make those playfields, glasses, plastics a reality. EVEN IF ITs ONLY ONE. Remember, we're no longer bootstrapped by minimum runs of "100" on the old silkscreen model.
**New Web Site: We FINALLY have a new CPR web site completed. Currently going through beta testing and product/data entry. It is a complete do-over that will replace the legacy web site we've had on our domain for over a decade. FINALLY it will be current to standards of the present. Auto-formatting to browser/device (PC, tablet, phone). Most Importantly (and super-duper FINALLY) CPR will have an automated online Store - with account creation, shopping cart, and Checkout. We had been long overdue to make this step - and in weeks to come, we'll announce it's release ... which will also include a WHOLE NEW (FOURTH) PRODUCT LINE for CPR. Playfields...Backglasses...Plastics Sets... ???????? Tune in to find out.
9 plastics sets and 11 backglasses just hit the site - the first wave of legacy items being brought back online. I'll announce them in a separate post.
Classic Playfield Reproductions