Prepress for Creative and Print Pros

PRINT 13’s Prepress/Software: Workflow & Design Pavilion features more than 50 exhibitors, including names such as Avanti (Booth 4242), Dalim (Booth 4245), Esko (Booth 4231), GMC (Booth 4840), GMG (Booth 4837), and SmartSoft (Booth 4640). The prepress/software workflow and design area will provide designers and creatives with the latest information on document layout/graphic design, computer-to-plate, drawing/illustration, color management, fonts and font management, scanning, digital proofing, and workflow.

“For creative professionals, PRINT 13 is a ‘must attend’ event,” says GASC President Ralph Nappi. “Along with The MARKETING PAVILION there will be presentations and demonstrations on prepress/software/workflow and design, exhibits featuring the latest in marketing and creative technologies, The Marketing Theater, and specific marketing and creative seminar tracks.”

One such example on the exposition show floor is SpencerLab (Booth 4741), which is showing SpencerMetrics iDPA, a tool that can help commercial and in-plant print operations to improve their digital press availability. By measuring press activity on the shop floor, printers can pinpoint opportunities to increase productivity, profitability, and ROI, says Spencer. The patent-pending cloud-based system collects, stores, analyzes, and displays press activity in real-time on any browser, anytime, anywhere.

The key to iDPA is incorporating knowledge that only people on the shop floor share. The system captures human assessments, such as unacceptable print quality and incorrect media usage, allowing it to measure and provide an overview of all press activities—even print time not spent on revenue-producing output.


Data is in the cloud

SpencerMetrics iDPA is a fully integrated, standalone product with zero impact on IT systems. Touchscreen data capture connects to storage and analysis in the cloud. A personalized, secure management portal facilitates interactive analyses of current and historical data. Analytical results are presented in simple graphics and are accessible via desktop, laptop, tablet, or smartphone. Copy General, which operates one of the premier, high-tech digital printing facilities in the metro Washington, DC area, says it gained productivity by using iDPA. The print firm’s customers include some of the area’s largest associations, tech companies, and universities as well as small businesses.

To get the greatest return out of any production press, the key is to use most of its operational time producing sellable, revenue-generating prints—to convert every second into clicks and make every click count. Copy General was not meeting productivity targets for its new HP Indigo 7500 Digital Press, installed in August 2011. With only an hour of operator training by SpencerLab, the iDPA productivity system was up and running. Copy General’s press operators tracked how the time was being spent on the press during their shift. Everything from press startup, job setup, and printing to service calls and repairs was tracked. After a month of data collection, it was determined that additional operator training could reduce bottlenecks and increase productivity.

After acting on the analytical results for several more months, Copy General again reviewed the productivity data. That analysis showed the corrective actions had translated into higher productivity: an increase of 5.4% more sellable output in the same operational time with the same staff. For a press running at 110 pages per minute, seven hours per shift, two shifts per day, 250 operating days per year, with sale price of a letter/A4 printed piece of 25 cents, additional productivity of 5% could mean up to $315,000 per year in additional revenue with associated profit—without added resources—using the same staff and time, SpencerLab points out.

“Our goal was to eliminate as much anecdotal production data as possible and get real numbers, but they had to be in a format that was easy to interpret and use,” notes Ken Chaletzky, CEO of Copy General.” SpencerMetrics iDPA really cut to the chase and displayed detailed data in real-time in a clear and concise report.”

PRINT 13 also marks the debut of iDPA PLUS, which allows management to compare multiple presses, multiple shifts, and workflow periods. The data empowers strategic decision making and resource allocation, according to its developer.