Commentary & Analysis
FREE Graph Expo Preview - Workflow/MIS/Print Management Systems
by Gail Nickel-
By WhatTheyThink Staff
Published: September 17, 2003
by Gail Nickel-Kailing September 17, 2003 -- Whatever you want to call it, these are solutions that provide some or all of the following: estimating, invoicing, job scheduling, job tracking, workflow, shop floor data collection and management, accounts receivable, general ledger, accounts payable, purchasing, vendor and inventory management, reporting, and CRM functionality. That's a big list! And these are robust solutions! Here's a "sneak preview" of selected new products and services from some of the companies who will be exhibiting. Remember, since this is an early show preview it's likely not every company who will be exhibiting in this category is included. We urge you to check WhatTheyThink.com often for the latest breaking news and new product announcements. Companies covered in this preview: Creo (Booth 4008) DiMS! Organizing Print (Booth 4607) EFI/Printcafe Software (Booth 5027/5030) Printable Technologies (Booth 5432) Prism USA (Booth 5237) Radius Solutions (Booth 4754) SAP America/syskoplan (Booth 5056) Creo (Booth 4008 – www.creo.com) Not satisfied with just an ordinary booth, Creo will have a fully functional print shop on the show floor. A tour will begin in a graphic designer's studio displaying the new Leaf Valeo 22 digital camera, an IQSmart scanner, and Integris proofing. Then, from the point of creation, Synapse Prepare and Synapse InSite will show how printers can work efficiently with the resulting files. The next step is estimating and job planning, and visitors will see how UpFront works as the missing link to automate printing facilities and plan print production from estimating to production and finishing. Creo will also be showing MIS applications from NGP partners such as Printcafe and Prism; demonstrating automated data exchange between prepress and business systems. By using Synapse Link to track customer changes, material usage, and other chargeable items, printers can eliminate manual processes and become more efficient and more profitable. In the proofing area will be Creo's proofing solutions: the Veris proofer, the Spectrum digital-halftone proofing system, and a new Integris to be announced at the show. Finally, as part of the Network Graphic Production (NGP) workflow, a Spire Color Server will drive a Xerox DocuColor digital press. The tour will conclude at the Staccato Showcase where visitors will find hundreds of samples of commercial printing, packaging, publications, and more, all produced by Creo customers using Staccato screening. Visitors can pick up a loupe, take a close look, and talk to the experts. At the show, Creo will have a number of product announcements including a new digital printing product, a new Integris proofer, enhancements in Flexo workflow, and new developments in one of the CTP systems. It's been two years since Creo announced the NGP initiative, a strategy for an efficient, seamlessly integrated production environment. In that time NGP has changed and expanded. It is no longer a Creo initiative, but an industry-wide partnership initiative. NGP will have its own web site showing partners ranging from pre-press and MIS to press and finishing vendors and more. Many new partners will be announced at the show. Creo Remanufacturing (Booth 4753 – www.creo.com) Creo has an additional booth displaying remanufactured equipment, pre-owned CTP devices, scanners, image setters, even workflow. In this booth, visitors will be able to see the inside of a Lotum 400 and see what it looks like and how much has been renewed. The remanufacturing takes place on the same production line where the product was originally manufactured. The product is cleaned up, worn out parts are replaced, and the chassis painted bringing the product back up to Creo's standard. Remanufactured equipment can be a good solution for someone who doesn't need or want a new machine with a higher cost or features they don't require. This is a good entry level for someone moving into CTP for the first time. DiMS! Organizing Print (Booth 4607 – www.dims.net) DiMS! Organizing Print will be presenting a new release: DiMS! 6.2, a complete re-write of the previous version and a “next generation” product, offering: · Direct machine interface (DMI) · JDF compliant open system · Enhanced enterprise model for mid-sized to larger companies needing multi-client capabilities · Inventory models enhancements based on suggestions from the company's customer base I-DiMS! Today is a new proactive messaging workflow component, offering: · Proactive messaging · Desktop or external outgoing messaging · Reduced customer service administrative time · Remote notification based on triggers in the management system that can report on whatever system management wants to monitor. · Notification based on business rules: events, elapsed time, message to be sent, and recipients. DiMS! will be highlighting two JDF partnerships: · NGP initiative – In the DiMS! booth - next to the Creo booth – visitors will see the JDF workflow solution in action. · HP Indigo Preferred Partner - HP has chosen DiMS! as the sole provider of MIS systems for the Indigo for the label printing market and e-commerce, pricing, and inventory requirements have been built into the DiMS! application. Visitors will see DiMS! “talking to” Indigo in “real time.” EFI (Booth 5027/5030 – www.efi.com) This year, Electronics for Imaging (EFI) will be highlighting: · The next generation Fiery servers powered by award winning Fiery software · The Velocity workflow productivity software · A suite of EFI's latest Best proofing solutions · JDF-enabled workflows from both EFI and Printcafe Visitors will see · Velocity Software including Velocity OneFlow and job submission using Velocity Exchange · Best color proof solutions · Controller solutions such as Splash and Fiery, including three different platforms S300, S500, and Q4500 platforms · Every EFI stand-alone product has been updated and all will be coming out with new system software. · Fiery System 5.5 will be launched supporting variable data imposition and improved command work station · Fiery Driver 2 has a new update and interface, for ease of use and simplicity, bi-directional capability, greater command and control for mixed media. · A complete JDF workflow integrated with Printcafe's products demonstrating workflow from Velocity Exchange through to final output, whether digital or offset. EFI is totally focused on open systems – any in, any out – and trying to integrate and adopt as many standards as appropriate, demonstrated by the company's involvement with CIP4 and EFI's adoption of PODI's PPML variable data standard. EFI will be participating as co-sponsor in two additional partner events on Sunday, September 28: · The launch of the Print Council ad campaign to promote print. · Xerox's Innovation Celebration and announcement of the 2003 Printing Innovation with Xerox Imaging Awards. Printable Technologies (Booth 5432 – www.printable.com) Printable Technologies will be launching Print Fusion 3 with new variable data technology incorporated into the Printable catalog and the whole workflow. The company contracted with DataLogics to make the move from version printing to variable printing and the enhancements have been integrated. While the Printable applications are useful for offset printers, they are especially good digital printing solutions. Printable will be demonstrating how the Print Fusion 3 interface works and how it folds into the catalog. Visitors will see client data uploaded and merged to make multi-record products, and to see the merged information change on the screen in real time. Two partnerships are highlighted this year: · A JDF-compliant interface with Prism USA. The two companies serve a common client base. · An HP partnership connecting Printable and the HP Indigo. Printable has quadrupled the number of HP Indigo users since last year. Printable is again hosting the PrintPlanet Mingle on Tuesday, September 30. For more information, contact Joe Fedor at PrintableTechnologies: email@example.com. Printcafe Software (Booth 5027/5030 –www.printcafe.com) Printcafe Software is pulling all its many pieces together into something that is much more than just a print management system, but a true Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) package. The system combines online ordering capabilities for print sales people, dynamic scheduling and shop floor data collection with AutoCount and PaperMonitor, and links into other areas of a printers' business in an integrated workflow through existing industry standards such as JDF. Of particular interest to visitors will be: · The next generation of Printcafe's PrintFlow dynamic scheduling solution with an entirely new user interface. · PrintFlow integrated across all of Printcafe's management systems. · Enhancements to Printcafe's PrintSmith, PSI, PSI Flexo, Logic SQL and Hagen OA software · Printcafe Integrated Fulfillment integrated with PSI · A web front end that will strengthen the relationship with the buyer in a more one-to-one relationship. · PSI V. 11.1 – a significant improvement · Printersite internal, which was already integrated with Hagen, is now a front end to Logic and PSI Prism USA (Booth 5237 – www.prism-usa.com) Integration is the word for Prism USA this year. The company will be demonstrating a number of integrated solutions: · Participation in the NGP partnership. · A JDF-compliant integration with Printable. · Integration with its own newly developed accounting suite · Integration with NAPL's Profit XL program. Prism has a one-year exclusive marketing agreement with NAPL to offer the Profit XL program. Other new products and enhancements: · Prism V. 6 with 84 functional enhancements including a new graphical user interface that is easier to use, condenses the number of screens, and offers user configurability to change way reports are formatted · Prism WIN, Prism's high end system, has been connected via JDF to Creo Prinergy and will be demonstrated in Creo's booth as part of the NGP partnership. · Prism QTMS and Prism GEM – direct machine data collection and paper management systems. Radius Solutions (Booth 4754 – www.radiussolutions.com) Radius Solutions will be highlighting: · A totally re-written Pecas Vision II. · X-Link - an integration tool. · Improvements in scheduling and shop floor management. · End to end integration in new technology. · Partnership in the NGP initiative. · Moore/Wallace implementation of Pecas Vision II The latest version of Pecas Vision II includes: · A complete re-write of the core application in a new, scalable N-tier architecture supported by the Progress database. · A very graphical and user-friendly environment. · Estimating, scheduling, and shop floor management modules that now enable load balancing, not just with Radius' software applications, but across an environment that has a number of different MIS systems to feed into the scheduling application and do capacity planning across multiple plants. X-Link provides the means to integrate with more products through a “window” or view into and out of the Vision database thus facilitating the link with other products such as SAP Financials, Pivotal CRM applications, and supply chain products such as those offered by I1. A set of interim database tables - defined in the Vision II database structure - allow transfer of data between Vision II and another proprietary computer systems. These tables will be populated either by Radius-supplied routines extracting data from Vision II, or by customer- (or Radius-) supplied routines extracting data from their own existing systems. Radius believes this is a huge functional differentiator as the cost of point-to-point integration is phenomenal. To reduce those costs, Radius makes the integration points more generic by defining the interface “touch points” and building on those. Tuesday, September 30, Radius Solutions is hosting an Open House, where Craig Peterson of the Moore/Wallace Corporation will provide a first-hand account of Radius Solutions' PECAS Vision II, including its past, present, and future with Moore/Wallace. Stop by the Radius Solution's booth for invitations and more information. SAP America/syskoplan (Booth 5056 – www.sap.com, www.syskoplan.com) Graph Expo is the site of syskoplan and SAP America's “coming out party” where the companies are highlighting their offering for print and packaging – Print.IT and Pack.IT. These are fully integrated solutions in “all in one” offerings based on mySAP Business Suite. On Sunday afternoon and Monday morning, to introduce show attendees to these comprehensive solutions and to relate advancements in several different areas aligned with the printing and packaging industries, syskoplan is featuring a “customer day.” Clients will be in the booth to give visitors their perspective on the technology and their strategies for selecting the SAP platform and the Print and/or Pack solutions for their companies. Because the syskoplan/SAP solution is unique in its promotion of Activity-Based Costing (ABC), a special book-signing event is being held on Tuesday. David Dodd and Bill Lavelle of Point Balance Consulting will be signing copies of their ABC primer: Activity-Based Costing for Printers. Visitors will be able to discuss Point Balance's findings and find out why ABC is so important. It is also an opportunity to see an application that supports ABC in action.