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Blanchard Systems Installs DALiM Mistral Print Production Management System

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Press release from the issuing company

NEW ORLEANS, Louisiana – January 20, 2005 – Blanchard Systems, a computer systems integration company with expertise in digital prepress solutions, announces that it has successfully installed a DALiM MiSTRAL JDF-compliant web-based common electronic submission interface and print production management system, along with the supporting storage and communications infrastructure, for Brown Printing Company. Brown Printing Company (Brown) is a nationally recognized, high quality and high volume printer serving America’s premier magazine, catalog and insert publishers. Brown is the 4th largest printer of consumer, trade and business publications in the country. Founded in 1957, Brown is a long-term industry leader printing more than 600 titles for over 300 clients with annual sales of $380 million and 2,600 employees. A Bertelsmann & Gruner + Jahr AG Company, Brown operates three state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities in the United States, at Waseca, MN, East Greenville, PA and Woodstock, IL. In 2002, Brown Printing Company selected Blanchard Systems to install its complete Vortex SAN and Prepress solution, featuring a DALiM TWiST workflow, to streamline and accelerate prepress production. Brown was looking for a robust Intranet system that could keep up with demand from its CTP system. Understanding that automation is important for true production cost savings, Brown searched for a web front end to support its DALiM TWiST workflow. According to Lee Edberg, Brown Central PreMedia B.Direct manager, DALiM MiSTRAL had been an excellent tool for managing and laying out a magazine from a publisher’s perspective. Recently it had become more printer centric, providing billing, tracking, prepress and press values (such as trim, bleed, imposition offsets) and color separations on a printing level. DALiM MiSTRAL sits on top of workflows as a JDF-compliant web-based common electronic submission interface and print production management system for tracking, administration, assembly, correction and approval of ‘publishable material’. It can also share ODBC compliant data between the workflow and business systems on other computers. Views of project status – as color-coded page icons – are available in real time, from a web browser as well as jpg thumbnails and PDF full views of completed pages. DALiM MiSTRAL requires integration expertise to adapt it for each printer’s specific job workflow. Blanchard Systems assured that DALiM MiSTRAL was customized to Brown’s specifications. Blanchard also set up data requirements to best fit Brown’s production system. It was extremely important that the system was both systematically and culturally comfortable for Brown. For example, the web page interface was personalized so that it was Brown centric. Blanchard had influence with Dalim Software to work out system issues, or just resolved the problems themselves. In the past, Brown would receive pages and run each through a RIP. A text line would acknowledge that the page had been processed correctly. Then they would impose the job manually, proof, and contact the customer if there was a problem with the file. Now, DALiM MiSTRAL provides Brown automated imposition and job tracking. At the moment, customers deliver pages to Brown, who populates the imposed layout with the files and is able to view the entire publication layout. Brown knows page-by-page if there is a problem and, when a book is full, goes directly to plate and print. Plans for the second quarter of 2005 include greater online collaboration with the customer: Brown will create a job ticket before customer pages are delivered, and provide the customer with an easy password-protected interface with thumbnail and real time status views, of processed pages. DALiM TWiST is still an integral part of the solution, because it is robust enough to assure that every job is completed efficiently. Production capacity is greater with less labor hours. In addition to DALiM MiSTRAL software integration, Blanchard Systems was asked to assure the complete solution provided ample redundancy to protect jobs from data loss by installing a Clustered MS SQL Database along with the Vortex Shared File System (VSFS) running on a Vortex fiber channel SAN. All three Brown plants are running the same workflow and DALiM MiSTRAL server interface. Brown’s central B.Direct department controls updates, workflow customizations and standards. It is managed centrally, but each plant’s workflow runs separately. “Blanchard Systems built a Windows cluster storage system in our SAN with three servers that mimic each other. If one server fails, another picks up after it. DALiM MiSTRAL provides us the eyes and ears of all of our production for all of our plants across the country from one central location,” comments Edberg. “On a daily, weekly and monthly basis, Blanchard is our main support system.” In the future, Brown, Blanchard Systems, Dalim Software and DiMS! will be working to create a central, bidirectional MIS interface to and from a DiMS! enterprise-wide print management system. All information will be entered using a GUI interface, and will be fed to DALiM MiSTRAL dynamically. Using DiMS!, job data will be entered only once by the right person, and will be sent through DiMS! and DALiM MiSTRAL to DALiM TWiST – and ultimately, to plate. Much of the job data will be communicated with JDF and XML-specific tags. “The world is about MIS and print manufacturing with excellent customer service,” comments Charles Blanchard, President and CEO of Blanchard Systems. “We are pleased to help a printer of Brown Printing’s stature develop a state of the art prepress system, covering both workflow and infrastructure. This system truly enables Brown to automate its workflow while providing for complete client collaboration throughout the entire print production.” “It’s important to the customer and Brown Printing that we provide an efficient, automated, centrally-controlled solution. Blanchard Systems helped us implement a Dalim Software solution that allows Brown Printing to have these benefits in a homogenous solution at all of our locations,” concludes Edberg




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