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Arnold Boston streamlines newspaper ad production with Quickcut workflow

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Press release from the issuing company

Boston, MA, May 9, 2007 -- With time and cost pressures greater than ever, major brand advertisers are now scrutinizing every aspect of their ad agencies' work - from their creative prowess through to billing practices. In short, they're looking for their agencies to "work smarter". In response, many full service agencies have begun to search for additional ways to cut costs and make their processes more efficient. One promising area many are beginning to address is streamlining their print production workflow to improve overall efficiency and accuracy without compromising on quality. Arnold Worldwide, a Boston-based agency with production facilities in Boston, New York, and Washington, DC found itself is this position a few years ago, facing strong pressure from a client to improve the way it handled their retail newspaper advertising. The client was looking for greater efficiencies from creative through ad production and delivery to publications across the country as well as a way to verify that what the agency was producing is what the creative department had intended. Over a three year time period, according to Joe Gliottone, SVP and Manager of Print Production in Arnold's Boston headquarters, the company researched the broad realm of software products known as "preflighting" for an appropriate solution. Preflighting is a process that checks a page make-up or PDF format file to ensure it contains no errors that would make it print incorrectly. Says Gliottone, "There are a lot of products out there that handle preflighting, but we couldn't find anything that could compare with Adstream's Quickcut workflow - it goes a step further. Adstream's solution won't let you send an ad to the publication incorrectly because it compares the ad to a comprehensive database of production specs for the specific newspaper or magazine. The database even includes information about acceptable print density, highlight and shadow values to ensure that the image is in spec." Gliottone adds, "Because we're not prepress people it's important to make the process foolproof. Whereas other products leave it to chance, Adstream's Quickcut has helped calm our staff's fears and made it idiot-proof." Arnold installed Adstream's Quickcut workflow, including Adstream's QuickPrint 5 and PageStore modules in the fall of 2005. Adstream's QuickPrint 5 module is a powerful and efficient print workflow tool for creation, validation, optional virtual proofing, and delivery "to spec" of digital files that will ultimately be printed, such as ads, brochures and related materials. The software gives users access to the comprehensive set of publication specification parameters in the QuickPrint online database and provides an expanded feature set that includes built-in Adobe Distiller and Renderer engines, and support for both the Windows and Macintosh platforms. It provides powerful validation tools that quickly identify file problems and can fix them automatically or allow operator intervention, while providing information that will help avoid errors in the future. Adstream's PageStore module is a desktop application that works as a companion to QuickPrint in the Quickcut workflow. It provides a secure hub for automated and reliable digital transmission and delivery of artwork files to any printer or publication, anywhere in the world. Every time artwork is sent to a printer or publisher, a delivery notice is generated showing the exact arrival time. In operation, QuickPrint creates an electronic job ticket which is passed to the design studio where print materials are created, preflighted, turned into PDFs. It marries the job ticket file with the ad for distribution via PageStore and the follow-up is a return receipt. Gliottone says the best thing about setting up the new software was that "the start-up costs were minimal and there was zero testing necessary. The very first ad we created in Quickcut was a live one. How do you argue with that? With most products there's a ramp-up. With Adstream the ROI started on day one." In the beginning, Gliottone was concerned about making non-prepress people assume that responsibility. His fear was when you cut out the middle man the finger comes back to the agency. However, staff members quickly became comfortable using the software. "QuickPrint makes sure the ad matches its destination spec and delivers that comfort level. An operator has to deliberately override the software to send a file out wrong so we've had few if any minor problems," he says. ""In fact, after sending around 4,000 ads out per year we've never had any redos or make-goods to the client that the agency has to absorb." Arnold Boston is currently processing and delivering to publication approximately 350-400 newspaper ads per month and plans to expand that into color ads in the near future. Additional advantages the company has gained include savings in time and overall process improvements. According to Gliottone, savings come in several forms. The biggest advantage is a more efficient workflow and no outside costs. "We already don't have enough time to finalize ads because in our business you never produce an ad until the material due date or an extension and then you send it electronically at the last minute. We used to pray the publication didn't find a problem." he says. The company is now delivering creative in verified, a directly printable format and not relying on sending out for high resolution images and other outside services. So there are no more time delays waiting for couriers. In addition, there is less paperwork and administrative redundancy involved in the process. For example company no longer has to create purchase orders for outside vendors. There is a closed loop inside the organization; the proof of delivery is the final PDF they send to publication. Gliottone concludes, "We have become more efficient and have created our own destiny for getting ads to publications. That lets us concentrate on ensuring our ads have a unique look and are well designed. Quality remains very important to us."

 

 

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