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Commentary & Analysis

It's All About Workflow

By Frank J.

By WhatTheyThink Staff
Published: November 17, 2003

By Frank J. Romano November 17 , 2003 -- At the recent Seybold Future of Print Conference, Nicky Milner of Quebecor World talked about a future where technology impacted the way in which print customers would work. She said there were short-term developments that were changing the way print is produced or purchased. These included JDF/JMF collaboration and communication tools, network enablers, distributed processing, context-driven dynamic publishing, variable printing with offset speed and quality, and mobile printing. All of these would combine in some manner to address five areas of the relationship between print buyer and print producer: “I'm at the beach, where is my job?” With JDF/JMF + collaboration + wireless, print customers could track jobs from their cell phones or PDAs or laptops. Evolving workflows would automatically track jobs through production and feed this information back through a browser. One third of all communication between print buyers and producers involves the status of the job. “I know it's late, you can still do it, right?” With distributed processing + networks, printers could move jobs to multiple facilities to optimize workloads. We may see more “last minute” jobs with tighter schedules. The ability to move jobs to a production location with available capacity will be an important attribute of automated workflows. In the future, a majority of print jobs will be “distributed”—printed in multiple locations to minimize postal costs. “I don't have time to approve it. Just run the job!” With JDF + color tools + mobile printing + networks, customers and printers could be assured of color accuracy. Proofing may finally be screen-based. We may eventually move to RGB workflows to truly print color by the numbers. “Why do I need a designer, anyway?” With dynamic publishing + mobile printing + collaboration, content can be repurposed for any cross-media dissemination channel from one flexible file format. There is much effort being expended in the development of XML and templates to “automate” some of the design process. This may apply more to “structured” content such as periodicals, books, etc. than promotional materials. “Can I change it while it's on press?” With JDF/JMF + dynamic publishing + digital offset, jobs can be changed on-the-fly. In the future, every press may be a variable press with the ability to change every impression. This would reduce make-ready to virtually zero and allow almost instantaneous changeover from one job to another.



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