Steven Bonoff is president of IPA, The Association of Graphic Solutions Providers, which is located in Edina, MN. For more information, visit the association’s website at www.ipa.org or contact him at email@example.com. Bonoff was interviewed by QP managing editor Karen Lowery Hall.
Q: What is the mission of the IPA?
A: IPA is an international trade association representing creative, premedia, and print service providers and professionals who specialize in delivering the highest quality digital and print media services through the utilization of state-of-the-art digital production workflows.
IPA is dedicated to the professional development of its members in the realm of digital workflow. The intent of our technical products and services is to ensure that our members have the right people, technologies, and processes to operate efficient and effective digital workflows. IPA management resources are designed to assure our members business leaders make proper strategic choices based on their market needs, available resources and workflow competencies.
Q: Who are its members?
A: IPA members are thought leaders in marketing execution and media production, using both business intelligence and technical expertise to produce much of the world’s leading marketing and brand communications materials and messages.
We feel that it is the best scenario for the CEO of the business to join the association, but then to take an assessment of the resources that we have to offer and feed them down to different levels of their staff to make them aware of those resources and to say, “I authorize and encourage you to participate.”
Q: Exactly what is a digital workflow?
A: A digital workflow is a production process that integrates the technical components from multiple vendors to improve quality and speed of delivery of digital and print media content. IPA resources help our members deliver content at the highest possible quality, at the fastest speeds; lowering costs of production and reducing production time from content creation to market delivery.
Q: Where does the prepress department fit in?
A: Prepress, or premedia, sits in the middle. This team must be able to manage the expectations and deliverables of the creative community and in some cases provide creative consultation or execute creative content development for customers, to assure their marketing objectives are fully realized. On the other side of the equation is the manufacturing facility that actually produces the final content carrier. Traditionally, we would have called this the pressroom and finishing areas, but in today’s graphic communications market, the manufacturing process includes not only these departments, but also wide- or grand-format output, content installation, online deliverables, and business/campaign analysis services.
Q: Do you see a PDF workflow as the industry standard?
A: PDF workflow is the de facto industry standard for premedia digital workflows today.
Q: Are there published PDF workflow standards that printers could use to help train their customers to submit properly created PDF files?
A: Yes, The Ghent PDF Workgroup has published PDF standards—they created the PDF-X, which is now part of most premedia software.
We have offered webinars dealing with those standards in the past, but don’t have one available right now. However, we have two webinars dealing with G7 standards, which are also quite helpful when working with color management issues.
Q: What about JDF, especially for small commercial print shops?
A: JDF and systems that leverage JDF are the most likely systems to enable the future of workflow automation and integration of manufacturing systems with MIS and other data driven systems of content delivery. IPA is actively developing educational programs and seminars for our members in the area of process automation. We feel that automation is a key to success in the marketplace and that self service job origination, submission, and tracking will account for well over 50% of content delivery business revenues in the future.