Data Image opted for Enfocus Switch in tandem with PitStop Connect to automate the delivery of customer-submitted files into the company's workflow from Esko. "The level of automation achieved with Enfocus' solutions at one of the most critical phases of our production workflow, allowed us to increase throughput, reduce errors, and improve our customer experience. And, all of that with Return On Investment (ROI) achieved within three to four months," states Rob Farfort, Director, Data Image.
It was Data Image's need to improve production and automate the delivery of files that prompted Rob Farfort to talk to Enfocus at Ipex 2010. He faced several issues regarding the selection and removal of specific spot color elements in PDF production files. Working with system integrator XChange UK and using Enfocus Action List technology, a solution was quickly established during the exhibition.
"The ability to provide an application to all of our customers, branded with our own identity, really appealed to me," states Farfort. "Customizing the data requested from our customers within Enfocus Switch and ensuring our customers' preflighted files can only be sent to Data Image - not a competitor - were other compelling reasons I was interested in the PitStop Connect technology."
Data Image delivers customer satisfaction
Using Enfocus Switch and PitStop Connect, Data Image reduced the time spent on customer and internal communications by 100%. This is mainly the result of customers being responsible for artwork submission and the removed need to search for files on client FTP sites.
"For us, the manual handling of files is automated; our operation runs at a fast speed and the handy email receipt notification saves time checking for delivered artwork," comments Farfort. "With Enfocus Switch and PitStop Connect, we could simplify artwork submission from our customers. Providing them with a desktop drag and drop applet, we have a continuous branded presence on their desktop. This, in turn, allowed us to offer a far more professional and productive service. We'd even call it a 'Unique Selling Proposition'."
Understanding workflow automation
Making the workflow improvements was easy, explains Farfort: "We have been working with Esko's Automation Engine for about six years, so we were quite familiar with the concept of workflow automation. I was interested in standardizing the way we receive files from our customers, and how we notify both our internal staff, and the necessary contacts at all our customer locations that the files have been successfully received. Smooth integration was very important. Enfocus Switch and PitStop Connect sit alongside our existing Esko workflow with no issues. Switch has the required functionality for the two systems to interact as needed."
Switching on powerful features
Enfocus Switch offers powerful features that let users work with job tickets and communicate directly with any data source that supports the ODBC standard. "We initially explored the option of using information from the job tickets generated by our order entry system to manage the incoming files," explains Farfort. "However, we found that the ability to generate a dynamic SQL query into our live order entry system allowed us to access more comprehensive information for any job, at any time."
The query for the incoming job workflow compares the customer-submitted quote number with the actual quote number in the system. It also validates the email information needed to confirm receipt of the production files to Data Image employees - the actual submitter of the file and any other relevant customer contact. Enfocus Switch then dynamically moves the file to a location specified by the order entry system, and provides that path information to the correct staff member at Data Image.
Making the right connection
Data Image worked with XChange UK to create a streamlined Connector - the file delivery droplet created using PitStop Connect - to accept a wide variety of file types, like Adobe InDesign and QuarkXPress native file packages, Illustrator, and Photoshop files. When a PDF file is submitted, the Connector on the customer's desktop preflights the files according to the required specifications. Virtually all popular file types can be accepted and processed with Enfocus Switch. Data Image currently processes an average of 1000+ files a week.
Automation for continued success
Since the original integration, Data Image now also automates another key component of the production and delivery process using Switch. The order entry system now generates a delivery note in PDF format, which was formerly delivered manually to the customer and took considerable time to research and confirm the correct recipients for the delivery information. Using Switch, the emails are now dynamically built to include relevant job details and the delivery note itself as an attachment.
"Enfocus solutions enable us to achieve a much higher level of end-to-end automation, including communication with our customers. With an ROI of only 3 months, we are very satisfied with what we have already achieved," concludes Farfort.