Category: Production

From Chaos to Calm: The Power of Print MIS

Pat McGrew
Jul 20, 2017

Power of Print MIS

If you come from the transaction side of production workflow, you have an array of business systems that control how jobs are accepted for production, when they are released into production, and how reporting is managed for compliance. If you come from the graphic arts side of production workflow, you have the same need to control job onboarding, the touchpoints of a job while it is in process, and to record the relevant information about the job all of the way to the point of billing. In some shops, the process is managed using a Print Management Information System (Print MIS) that integrates all facets of accepting and producing print work using software programs, data capturing tools, and reporting dashboards to ensure that all work is tracked and reported. On the other hand, in many shops some or all of these are activities achieved using sticky notes, whiteboards, projected spreadsheets, and envelopes with job notes carried from desk to desk and machine to machine during production.

If you are in that latter camp, this is a good time to start considering some automation. Many of your competitors are already adding automation to their business software portfolio to allow them to onboard and produce jobs more efficiently. This gives them an advantage at several levels. A good Print MIS program offers insight into the jobs that are onboarded, where each job is in production, what jobs are experiencing delays, job costs, and ultimately a view of the revenue. Most can generate e-tickets for job tracking, and even track waste data. Most importantly, a Print MIS becomes the system of record for all jobs, which means if job specifications change during job execution, the information is entered into the Print MIS and available to all departments immediately.

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Bobst and Radex Announce Launch of Mouvent – a New Digital Print Focused Company

James Hanlon
Jul 18, 2017

vv1

July 6, 2017 — Bobst and inkjet technology developer Radex, officially announced the launch of Mouvent, a new joint venture company that will become the digital printing competence center and solutions provider of Bobst. Mouvent to be led by the co-founder of Radex, Piero Pierantozzi, will bring to market 3 digital devices this year, two single-pass label machines and one multi-pass textile printer, with two additional textile printers to be announced later this year.

Radex was founded by Piero Pierantozzi, Peter Brandenberger, Marcel Galliker and Walter Urech, all of whom were also the founders of Graph-Tech AG, which was sold to Domino Printing Sciences in 2012. Mouvent, co-founded with Bobst in June 2017, has headquarters in Solothurn and Wetzikon Switzerland with 80 total employees. Mouvent shares are held 50.1% by Bobst with the remainder being heled by Radex shareholders.

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Three New Videos: One Book Review and Two on CMYK+ Special Effects

Jim Hamilton
Jul 10, 2017

I recently completed three short videos on topics of interest to the print community:

  • “Postcard Marketing in an Online World” by Joy Gendusa – Joy Gendusa is the Founder and CEO of Postcardmania. Her common-sense approach, numerous examples, and years of experience provide a fascinating look at the world of targeted postcard campaigns. Highly recommended, particularly for small and medium-sized businesses. Many thanks to Konica Minolta for providing this book to all attendees of the recent PROKOM user group meeting in Vienna.
  • CMYK+ Effects on a Calendar – This 2017 calendar was printed on a Ricoh Pro C7100 series digital color printer and sports foil effects produced on a Kurz DM Liner. This calendar is a fascinating example of the use of special effects beyond four-color, specifically white toner and metallic foils. Papers used in the calendar come from Favini, Arjo Wiggins, G.F. Smith, and James Cropper. The design work was done by Silk Pearce. The symbol on the front of the calendar box is from a font called FE203 that was designed by Craig Ward. Thanks to Andy Campbell of Ricoh Europe for sending the calendar!
  • Bennett Graphics ‘Senseational’ Sample KitBennett Graphics in Tucker, Georgia sent me this sample kit highlighting digitally-applied spot gloss and foil special effects. The kit was produced on an HP Indigo 10000 and a Scodix Ultra Pro. Each sheet also received a satin aqueous coating that was applied conventionally using an offset press. The resulting designs are stunning. Thanks to David Bennett for sending the kit!

My other videos can be found on the Jim Hamilton YouTube page. I have recorded over 100 print sample videos over the past five years. Other industry-related videos are also there.

DSCOOP EMEA 2017 – setting the benchmark for user groups

Ralf Schlozer

From June 7th to 9th Dscoop EMEA went into its 6th round at the Centre de Congres in Lyon. About 1,300 attendees from more than 45 countries joined the event.

HP went to great lengths to present the latest printing technology live and running to the attendees with four Indigo B2 devices printing at the site (two 12000, one 20000 and 30000), as well as the latest label presses shown in action – including an Indigo 8000 Digital Press. In addition HP shared some installation data, with currently 6,000 Indigo presses installed worldwide in commercial print and another 1,750 presses in label and packaging printing. This includes about 570 B2 engines. Large format latex printer installations amount to about 45,000 by June 2017, outnumbered by one million large format Deskjet devices installed. HP shared some information on the uptake of PrintOS as well and reported 5,560 registered users at 2,400 companies, with 1,700 of them using PrintOS weekly.

At the event HP announced some improvements to PrintOS: notably PrintBeat has a mobile edition now, which allows monitoring and benchmarking press performance from mobile devices. High definition imaging was presented at the event again and although it is set to go into field testing later this year, with general availability planned for 2018. Available now are several new screening options that will help in photo printing and high contrast images.

While pink fluorescent ElectroInk was introduced half a year ago, fluorescent yellow just became available to Indigo users. Fluorescent green and orange were shown at the event and are currently being field tested. Another new ElectroInk just introduced is “Light Light Black”, which is especially intended for smooth gradations in photo printing, underscoring that HP Indigo remains committed to be the leader in specialty colour choice. At drupa 2016 HP showcased more than a dozen of other specialty ElectroInks to gauge user interest – at Dscoop Lyon HP Indigo previewed some of these inks again: thermochromic ink (changes colour depending on temperature), heat seal (the glue is activated at high temperature) and release inks (e.g. for scratch cards), which are apparently moving closer to commercialisation. Additionally metallic ElectroInk was shown again, which should garner the biggest interest, but is likely to get a launch not sooner than 2018.

HP Technology Fair - with new EletroInk types

HP Technology Fair – with new EletroInk types

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Tuning up at GMC Analyst Day

Pat McGrew
Jun 30, 2017
Matt Swain and Pat McGrew

As analysts, we are often invited to meet with vendors for analyst events where we often don’t know what the announcements or focus will be. That was the case when we travelled to Nashville, Tennessee’s Sound Kitchen Studio last week for a GMC Software event billed as “Not Your Typical Analyst Summit!”

ScottDraeger

Scott Draeger opening the GMC Analyst Day!

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Interacting with Ricoh Customers!

Pat McGrew
Jun 28, 2017

When vendors decide to host user meetings they have two obligations: provide value for the time spent and help customers build a network. The Ricoh INTERACT meeting in Boulder last week met both requirements. The agenda was the best mix of technical education, market education, motivation, and fun for the attendees.

2017 Interact Template

It is a big request when vendors reach out to customers and ask them to leave their businesses for several days on the promise that they will learn things they can take back and use to grow their business. It requires a delicate balance between presentations and discussions. The INTERACT meeting hit the right balance by including several of their customers as featured presenters.

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For workflow, to scale or not to scale? That is the question!

Pat McGrew
Jun 19, 2017

It’s time to ask the question that is often missed in discussions about workflow – is the current workflow scalable? Scalable isn’t only a question of getting bigger; it is also a question of complexity. If your workflow was built to handle one type of job, like books or bills or bingo cards, and today you are handling magazines, direct marketing mailers, and posters, there may be a mismatch between your work and your workflow.

The mismatches often begin with how jobs are sold and onboarded. A common change in sales is the addition of a web-to-print solution to open your doors to a wider audience. When that addition happens, your scale of operation generally changes. Instead of sales coming in via relationships with your sales people, who know your capabilities, there are jobs coming in from customers who may not have paid attention to your website, and may not have followed your instructions. While most web-to-print solutions allow for rules-based interrogation of the incoming job, in many cases, contrary to how the systems are intended to work, someone in the shop is assigned to look at the jobs and determine if they can move into production. When you think about scalability, the more jobs that come in through a web-to-print application that require physical review, the less scalable that process becomes.

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HP Inc. – Positioned for Growth

Jeff Hayes

HP Inc. held its Power of Print analyst briefing on June 15th at its headquarters in Palo Alto, CA to update the printing industry on its strategy and key initiatives. While there was essentially no new news, what was clear is that HP is building momentum as a leaner and more focused company nearly a year after its separation. Read more »

Beyond CMYK: The Digital Print Enhancement Opportunity

Jim Hamilton
May 30, 2017

I love print. I particularly love it when it knocks my socks off. I’m a fool for gloss varnishes, metallic foils, velvet finishes, neon colors, and lenticular images. You get the picture. I’m also a huge digital print advocate. Yet much of production color digital print is process color only. Cyan, magenta, yellow, and black are great, and they are perfect for a lot of work, but sometimes I yearn for more. Maybe it’s that I’ve been spoiled by all the fantastic capabilities of offset print.

CMYKplus collage

InfoTrends estimates that 30% of offset printed color pages have some type of enhancement beyond the four process colors. I often refer to this as “CMYK+.” CMYK+ may be a spot or flood coat, a Pantone color, a metallic gold or silver ink, opaque white, or a range of other value-add special effects. Sometimes print will even use a combination of two or more special effects. All in all, this amounts to more than a trillion color offset pages that have some type of an enhancement beyond process color in promotional document applications. How many digital pages have such special effects? Read more »

Why Was ESKOWorld 2017 Worth My Time?

Pat McGrew
May 25, 2017

Pat McGrew
Director, Production Workflow Services
Keypoint Intelligence

Most vendors have learned the value of user group meetings. They bring together their customers and their product teams, open the door to learn more about customer requirements, and build a sense of community that leads to customer loyalty. The team behind ESKOWorld, the North American user conference for users of ESKO (www.esko.com) packaging, printing and finishing solutions, accepted their mission and, with the help of their customer advisory council, created a well thought out agenda that addressed the needs of over 500 users and 100 brand owners and agencies.

One of the harder things to do at these conferences is to provide guidance on the product roadmaps. A company like Esko is managing more than a dozen products, each with enthusiastic customers looking for guidance, and a passionate product team wanting to share. At ESKOWorld the solution to sharing the roadmaps for the large product set came in two shots: an innovative set of short presentations by the product managers during the opening and dedicated roadmap sessions. For customers not familiar with the range of offerings, that overview from the product managers was an excellent way to bring everyone up to speed. Whether it was a 20year-old product like ArtiosCAD or a newer set of products like Studio or Keyshot, everyone gave you a reason to want to learn more. How can you resist wanting to know more about Studio, a product that allows you to see things that do not currently exist and to create variations before deciding on the final execution? Even the Automation Engine has had a makeover with a new browser-based user interface.

Another hard thing to program is the keynote, but this was not an issue. Dr. Alan Beaulieu of ITR Economics brought one of the best overviews of the economics of the market we live in, with a good dose of which things to pay attention to and why. One of his more interesting points was that organizations must drive efficiencies to grow –a key element of the workflow story – but also that marketing is an essential element due to the competition.

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2016 InfoTrends, Inc.

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