Commentary & Analysis
Don’t Miss the MIS Providers, There’s A Whole Lot O’ Changin’ Goin’ On!
By Gail Nickel-
By WhatTheyThink Staff
Published: October 1, 2004
By Gail Nickel-Kailing October 1, 2004 -- Every year in the fall, WhatTheyThink.com takes the pulse of the Graphic Arts Industry in Chicago. And Graph Expo 2004 is no exception. The WTT team will be there from the opening bell to the closing announcements. For those of us doing the pulse taking, we all have to admit that this year has been especially intense with the drupa marathon that began in January. You may have heard a global sigh of relief from several hundred journalists who were immersed in all things drupa. Now that we’ve each had time to catch our breath, most of us are off and running again at Graph Expo. While change is inevitable, constant, and continuous, it seems as though the degree of change has increased. For example, Heidelberg has divested itself of all its business units except those related to sheet-fed printing, EFI finalized the acquisitions of Printcafe and T/R Systems, Prism USA and Enterprise Print Management Solutions amicably parted company, Globe-Tek has a new executive management team as does Avanti Computer Systems, Vio has a new CEO, and HIFLEX is making its debut in the US market. (Take a deep breath now…) And all the exhibiting companies have been coding, tweaking, polishing, improving, and integrating products to highlight in their respective booths and those of their myriad partners. So, here you are, a sampling of the MIS suppliers you will meet in the halls of McCormick Place. Wear your track shoes! Heidelberg: Booth #1000 (www.heidelberg.com) The “new” Heidelberg will be at Graph Expo leaner than ever – no web or digital presses this year - and with a new president for Heidelberg USA, James Dunn. While Heidelberg announced more than 50 new products and solutions at drupa in prepress, press and postpress, my concentration is on Prinect and, particularly, Prinect Management Solutions. The company has stepped up support for the Prinect Management Solutions by adding staff responsible for Prinect Prinance, the print management system, and Prinect Data Control, the central pressroom server. Heidelberg is totally committed to JDF and CIM integration and will be demonstrating all its most current products and applications at Graph Expo. EFI: Booth #4613 (www.efi.com) Shortly after Graph Expo 2003, EFI closed the acquisitions of Printcafe and T/R Systems, both of which have been totally integrated into the company. That integration means EFI has been able to turn functionality from the integrated products into new modules and features. For example, EFI now offers a number of storefronts, beginning with Digital Store Front, a self-hosted product sold through channel partners to in-plants, CRDs, and facilities management service providers. PrinterSite Exchange, an ASP, is a new, enhanced version of Digital Store Front for the commercial printer and is currently integrated with Logic, but will soon be part of all the MIS systems. PrinterSite Internal, EFI’s ales force productivity tool, has an all-new interface that also looks a lot like Digital Store Front. Version 2.0 of PrintSmith Site, yet another storefront, will be demonstrated and it includes Print Messenger, the PDF-generating drivers that are currently shipped in Digital Store Front and PrinterSite Exchange. Publication printers will want to see Proteus, a layout tool for planning and paginating a publication, and Prograph, the publication production tool, integrated for the first time with Hagen OA. By adding PrinterSite Fulfillment with MAIL.DAT, publication printers will be able to manage production for carton packing, truck loading, and drop shipment. Printers will be able to track all costs, including postage costs, back to the client in a single system. Enterprise Print Management Solutions (formerly Prism USA): Booth 5222 (www.entpms.com) There have been significant changes for Carol Andersen, CEO of Enterprise Print Management Solutions since Graph Expo 2003. EPMS and the Prism Group agreed to part ways, and Carol took back the original MicroInk business she built. The separation will allow EPMS to focus on the market they have been in for the past 16 years with the product that was developed for that market, Enterprise. Prism USA: Booth 5223 (www.prism-usa.com) The separation of EPMS from the Prism Group has moved Leland Morgan into the General Manager position for Prism USA Holdings. Prism USA will be demonstrating Prism-Win, an MIS system for medium to large printing, publishing, and packaging companies, and the QTMS with IQ, the direct machine interface module. IQ connects directly to web and sheet-fed presses as well as bindery equipment to provide real-time reporting. Prism USA will be also demonstrating Prism-Win in the NGP Pavilion. Avanti Computer Systems: Booth 5425 (www.avantisystems.com) A lot happens in a year! Avanti Computer Systems has a new President and CEO, Patrick Bolan; and a new CFO, Peter Funnell; and Avanti’s founder, Dr. Richard Wallin, has assumed the role of Chief Technology Officer. With these changes comes an increased focus on customer growth, customer retention, and customer service/customer care. The Avanti Print Management System is a PC/Network-based system consisting of 14 modules that are fully integrated and reach from estimating to shipping and invoicing. Globe-Tek Corporation: Booth 5420 (www.globe-tekcorp.com) Globe-Tek comes to Graph Expo 2004 with an all-new executive team: Brian Brack, President/CEO; Michael Latchana, COO; and David Melbourne, Business Development Executive. With new management comes new strategies as well: a reinforcement of the company partnership with their customers; a stronger effort to partner with prepress companies, like Creo and Agfa; and development of new strategic partnerships for direct machine data exchange with companies like Genisys Systems. Globe-Tek will be highlighting its latest release of GT Enterprise, an enterprise resource management system that is part of a total end-to-end JDF-compliant production workflow. HIFLEX: Booth 4680 (www.hiflex.de) HIFLEX, a German company, will be launching into the US market at Graph Expo. While you will see the company’s MIS solution HIFLEX PRINT in a number of partner booths, you won’t find it in more than 40 as deployed at drupa. But then again, Graph Expo is only one building, not 17! The HIFLEX system offers modules from estimating and quoting, through production planning, machine interfaces, and shipment. E-business and document archive systems are also included. HIFLEX also offers a version for media services (HIFLEX MEDIA) and a version for cross-media specialists (HIFLEX CROSSMEDIA). A special note: more than 50% of the company’s annual revenues are reinvested in research and development. DiMS! Organizing Print: Booth 4417 (www.dims.net) DiMS! will be highlighting DiMS! 640, a new release that includes a number of key enhancements such as: extended enterprise functionality, robust contract invoicing features, and a streamlined estimation desktop. And you can see a seamless, bi-directional JDF-compliant interface between its MIS solution and Creo’s Synapse Link/Prinergy prepress workflow system in the DiMS! booth! (Sorry, those exclamation points got away from me!) Printable Technologies: Booth 5241 (www.printable.com) Printable Technologies will be featuring PrintFusion3 with new variable data features. Through the PrintOne Customer Centers, a corporate user will be able to select a template, upload a mailing list or database, map the data to the fields in the template, and see a proof showing merged data. The printer can then download the output data stream and go direct to press or can retrieve the mapped data and gang the job with others for a combined digital press run. Now that’s efficiency! Tailored Solutions: Booth 5320 (www.tailored.com) Tailored Solutions will be showcasing Litho Traxx Version 4.0, which has been completely updated to take advantage of the latest version of the underlying 4 th Dimension database. The new version runs native on Mac OS X and Microsoft XP Pro. Tucked into the new release is an automatic e-mail status notification function to send event-driven e-mail messages to designated parties. You can also see remote access capability for printer sales staff embedded in E-Traxx. Job data are available on a password-protected basis, 24/7, from any location, and extending office capabilities to any authorized remote staff member. LithoTechnics: Booth 5087/JDF Pavilion (www.lithotechnics.com) A new company from “down under” will be demonstrating Metrix, the first truly automatic layout calculator designed specifically for estimators, customer service reps, production planners and prepress operators. Metrix’s patent pending technology takes all necessary parameters, such as grain direction and product bleeds, into consideration to automatically create optimum press sheet layouts, even for ganging multiple products. Metrix can import JDF product intent data from MIS systems and can export JDF, CIP3, and Preps template files to eliminate the manual creation of Preps templates in prepress and to automate the setup of cutters and folders in the finishing department. The product ships with a library of over 80 common folding schemes and allows users to build custom folds simply. Pretty nifty stuff!! Vio/Markzware: Booth 4066 (www.vio.com, www.markzware.com) This summer Vio added two new executives in the company’s move to accelerate growth in the US and Europe. Richard (Rick) Dool was named CEO and Chris Friend came on board as Executive Vice President Sales & Marketing: Europe, R.O.W. (Rest-of-World, that is…) Vio and Markzware will be demonstrating their online preflight and delivery solution that is automated right through to a digitally imposed workflow in their booth and in the JDF Pavilion as well. As you make your way around the show floor, don’t miss these additional companies: CRC Information Systems: Booth 5229 (www.crcinfosys.com) Pace Systems Group: Booth 5217 ( www.pace2020.com) Parsec Corporation: Booth 5225 ( www.parsecorp.com) PRIMAC Systems: Booth 4462 (www.primacsystems.com) printLEADER Software: Booth 5236 ( www.printleader.com) PROFIT Control Systems: Booth 4937 (www.profitcontrol.com) Syskoplan Consulting: Booth 4885 ( www.syskoplanus.com)