Hybrid Software Inc., formerly known as Hybrid Integration LLC, a leading software developer for the commercial printing, labels & packaging, and wide format markets, announced the introduction of five major new products at the Graph Expo trade show to support their Order Lifecycle Management (OLM) strategy.
OLM is a familiar concept in supply chain and retail applications, but it is a new and much-needed concept in the printing industry. Over the years, the nature of orders for printing, packaging, and prepress has changed drastically. In addition to traditional quotations and print bidding, graphic arts companies now receive orders from numerous web-to-print portals, online search engines, computerized EDI procurement systems, and many other sources.
These ordering methods are not generally compatible with the “quote-to-order” model that is provided by traditional print MIS systems. In combination with the trends toward fast turnaround times and shorter run lengths, order management has become a critical problem for printers and prepress providers in every segment of the industry. Hybrid’s products address the entire production workflow, from online ordering to delivery, and can interface with most leading MIS systems, databases, and production systems.
“Order Lifecycle Management (OLM) is the missing link to streamline the entire production process, and Hybrid’s software products perform that function by linking directly to the pre-press equipment and workflows as well as planning, accounting, administration software and databases that printers and trade shops already operate,” says Mike Rottenborn, President & CEO. “OLM provides a completely new way to integrate a company’s existing hardware, software and workflows. By treating integration as a product, printers have, for the first time, the opportunity for low cost of ownership in this area.”
Over the years, Hybrid has changed from an integrator to a custom software developer, and finally to a product-driven enterprise software company. Five new Hybrid Software products will be demonstrated at Graph Expo next week. All of Hybrid’s products operate via web browser technology and provide vendor-independent solutions for Order Lifecycle Management based on industry standards such as JDF/JMF and SQL.
Graph Expo was the worldwide launch platform for Hybrid’s FrontDesk portal, which is the interface between the printer or tradeshop and their customers. It provides a web-to-print portal that offers customers powerful file upload and download facilities, plus comprehensive job interaction from on-line ordering through all stages of tracking, proofing and approvals to delivery of the completed work. Optional components of FrontDesk include integrated soft proofing and annotation systems from industry-leading vendors, on-line editing and variable data, and powerful campaign management and store profiling tools for high-volume retail applications. FrontDesk is a completely new product that replaces the older GoPrint portal in Hybrid’s product line.
The second product, FaceLift, provides seamless integration between production workflows, MIS/ERP systems, third-party websites, external databases and other sources of digitally held information. It enables total transparency of what is happening to the job, between the initial order and its delivery. Users can create their own templates to encompass every stage of the order’s lifecycle, regardless of the printing process or product being produced.
FaceLift provides a powerful toolset for JDF integration between production workflows, which require very specialized parameters, and MIS systems, which typically have very generic prepress instructions. FaceLift can act as an intermediary tool to quickly and seamlessly map data between these systems without the need for custom programming, while providing a customizable interface for production operators.
Hybrid Software’s third new product announcement for Graph Expo is ContentControl, which provides a powerful Content Management System that can run standalone or as an integrated component with FrontDesk and/or FaceLift. Powered by an industry-leading platform from ADAM Software, ContentControl allows printers and prepress providers to track assets, SKUs, or print items for their customers or for internal production, to organize their assets in customizable categories to easily search and retrieve items for reordering or reprints, and to track multiple versions of files and assets across multiple SKUs or print items.
The fourth product in the Hybrid portfolio is FileForce, which connects multiple production or printing sites within an enterprise environment, resulting in the ability to benefit from the enormous efficiencies that can be obtained by load balancing and file sharing between sites. FileForce does not require a centralized file server or DAM system, but instead works in conjunction with local file servers at each location. File versions can be moved, copied, harvested, scrapped, archived and tracked precisely across multiple sites as revisions occur throughout the order lifecycle. Files are managed highly effectively at every stage of their life, but they are not altered in any way.
The fifth and final product in the revised Hybrid portfolio is PipeLine, the critical backbone of Hybrid’s integration strategy. PipeLine connects directly to databases and other data sources, including web-to-print portals, prepress workflows, and MIS/ERP systems, making it easy to share data from all systems and avoiding duplicate data entry. PipeLine provides another critical function: by interfacing directly with all production systems, it ensures that a change in one system – such as a software upgrade or database schema change – is self-contained and does not affect other production systems.
Hybrid was formed in Pennsylvania in 2007 and today has around 150 customers throughout North America. European subsidiaries were opened in Kortrijk, Belgium and Freiburg, Germany in July as part of its plan to expand sales and operations globally.
“Hybrid’s Order Lifecycle Management products are designed for use in all areas of print, from commercial offset and digital to packaging, labels, inkjet and the screen/sign markets,” says Mike Rottenborn. “We will also be at Labelexpo Brussels later this month and drupa 2012, when we will no doubt be announcing further exciting developments.”