Southern Africa print business chooses GMC Software for digital production

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Leicester UK, Boston, Massachusetts and Appenzell, Switzerland - GMC Software Technology, the standard in personalized communication, today announced that Southern Africa's largest producer of continuous and cut sheet business forms, Lithotech Afric Mail, is using software from GMC Software Technology to bring extra color, speed and flexibility to its digital print services.

A division of the Lithotech Group, Lithotech Afric Mail is a leading service provider for high-volume mail production solutions, specializing in billing, direct marketing and TransPromo applications for some of the largest companies in the retail, financial, insurance and government sectors. It operates from three facilities across Southern Africa, printing over 58 million A4 images and mailing over 26 million pieces a month.

In 2008, the company began looking for new software to help it keep up with the fast developing digital print technology. "Whilst attempting to promote the use of full color digital printing, mainly for TransPromo applications in the retail sector, we found it increasingly difficult to develop these applications due to the limitations of the existing document creation software," explained Pieter Strydom, Managing Director of Lithotech Afric Mail's Johannesburg plant. "Development time was long and functionality limited, while color consistency and the speed at which the printing files were produced proved to be problematic."

The search was on for new software with Latief Hisham, Operations Director, Lithotech Afric Mail Cape Town and Hennie Mentz, Managing Director, Lithotech Afric Mail, also involved in the selection process. The team concluded that GMC's solution was the best based on the following system characteristics:

-Its ease of use, with simple and interactive workflows.
-It is non-restrictive and has the option to script a function if one does not already exist. Most competitive products assessed had limited functionality.
-The ability to change or have multiple output formats without redeveloping the application for each specific output type. Therefore providing Lithotech with a platform that can rapidly adapt to changing production requirements.
-GMC's investment in R&D, keeping the product constantly up to date an upgraded as technology changes. New features are added in each major release.

PrintNet was first introduced at the company's Cape Town facility in 2008, with installation at Johannesburg recently completed in November 2009. The benefits have already been felt across the business.

Items are laser printed on hardware from Xerox and Océ machines (black, highlight color and full color digital) with an interface provided by Océ`s Prisma Management suite. Data is received from customers in various file formats and processed through GMC PrintNet Designer to create the output file format. The output format can be AFP, PPML, PDF or Postscript dependant on the job or printing requirements. PDF`s are also produced for customer archiving purposes from the same workflow.

"Being able to produce different output formats has allowed us to offer a document archiving solution," Strydom added. "Electronic PDF`s of the printed documents are now produced in a very simple and fast manner with little or no modification to the application. We have also benefitted from the timesavings in development and output file creation. The system's color handling capability is another great advantage which enables us to offer more intensive graphical products, such as full color TransPromo."

"It is very clear that developers are able to efficiently and easily produce applications in a far shorter time than before. Time for maintenance and amendments to applications is also reduced due to the visual aspects of the workflow and graphical user interface," he said. "Ease of use, flexibility and speed are all critical factors in our production environment where jobs require quick turnarounds. Being able to quickly and easily develop an application in a short space of time ensures that we can provide short turnaround times to our customers. Being able to adapt to our production requirements in a short space of time is also critical to ensure optimal efficiency in our production environment."

For more information on GMC Software Technology's products and services visit www.gmc.net. For more information on Lithotech Afric Mail visit www.lithotech.co.za