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Jim Tomblinson of Modern-Litho Print talks about using EFI for a unified end to end workflow

Published on May 12, 2011

Jim Tomblinson Director of Operations at Modern-Litho Print goes over the company background and how they utilize EFI's toolset to unify their workflow from end to end.

Cary Sherburne:  Hi, I’m Cary Sherburne, Senior Editor at WhatTheyThink.com and I'm here with Jim Tomblinson who's Director of Operations at Modern Litho. Welcome.

Jim Tomblinson: Thank you; nice to be here.

Cary:  Can you tell us just a little bit about Modern Litho, about how many employees you have and what kind of work you do and that kind of thing just as background

Jim:  Sure, Modern Litho is a commercial printer that has 90 plus employees. We are in Jefferson City, Missouri and we have about 55% of our production is publication and 45% of that is commercial work and we have been in business for about 74 years.

Cary: Wow, that’s great.  And over the last two or three years, you’ve done some major transformation of the business.  Maybe you can talk to us a little bit about what you’ve done to get to more of a digital workflow and what that’s meant for your company and your customers.

Jim:  Yeah, about three years ago we decided that it was time for us to look really hard at a unified workflow and so we were very automated on the Printergy side with Kodak and have been for years and World Beta Site.  So we came to Connect looking for the partnership with EFI to bring that automated workflow into pre-press up through to our MIS.  And we sat down and came to an agreement of a plan and from that point we started a Beta with them as well and that’s been two years ago we started really implementing and we are now running the full Monarch suite and I’m happy to say that it’s bidirectional and unified and we are now just starting to reap the benefits of that work.

Cary: And particularly I was you know we’ve talked before obviously about this, and I was particularly fascinated with your publication clients and what that’s meant for them in terms of cycle time.  So maybe you can talk about that a little bit.

Jim:  Sure this is a whole new concept for us and I believe probably for many printers that once they realize how big this is.  But we no longer have to wait until a job comes into the plant on the publication side.  We’re going to do this publication, we know that, so we are now able to clone our publications out two and three months and we will then be able to push those to Printergy, creating a Printergy job so we no longer create Printergy jobs whatsoever.  And so you can take that number, multiply that times 10 minutes and there’s some ROI for you right out of the gate.  And at that point we push those.

Cary: So you’re saving 10 minutes per job?

Jim: That’s right.  Just in that one process. And so we then push that out into Printergy and Printergy then takes it to Insight.  And what that does for us is allow us to have the job created, and now we’re sitting and waiting for the customer to upload.  And upon that upload, it triggers the automation that Printergy has and between Printergy and Planner Now and Scheduling, we have created a very intelligent automated workflow that allows to, you know, I use the analogy we get ahead of the ball instead of playing caught up.  And so we are now able to have that job ready.  And so now when the upload happens, Printergy will then push the thumbnails back up to our Planner folks and they are able then to look at what we were just given, so now we have that connectivity and then that creates a much more streamlined workflow and it is really enabling us to take days off our jobs.

Cary:  So I’m the owner of the publication and I’ve uploaded my files and as I understand the process, within 10 or 15 minutes I can get a proof back.

Jim: Absolutely.

Cary: Instead of days or more.

Jim: That’s correct, and it looks like a – it’s a flipper page proof with Insight which gives you the capability of looking at it as it’s a book. 

Cary:  And then once they approve it, they ship it back down and so it’s cut weeks probably off the cycle.

Jim: Yeah, well, yeah we are able to eliminate the proofing process of having to overnight, saving our customers the overnight charges and then saving a two day step right there alone.  And then getting a quick approval, we get the job on plates, of course, and are getting it to plates much faster and then getting it on press and we are shipping our jobs at a much, much faster rate.

Cary: And then, of course, the other piece is all of the data is there in Monarch and you’re able to manage your business real time.

Jim:  That’s correct.  There’s many places to pull reports with this system and we are able then to analyze what we’ve done and look at that and to help us hone our skills and get better to be more competitive.

Cary: So what’s next at Modern Litho?

Jim:  We are really right now, we have all the pieces in place and we are just now trying to really dig deep, fine tune, and make sure that everything is working correctly and at its best.  And so we feel really good though today about what we’ve done in the last two years and we know that, I use the analogy we have dug the road, we have paved the road, we now have now striped the road and now we’re going down the highway at a pretty good rate.

Cary: That is terrific.  It’s a great story.  Thanks for sharing it.

Jim: Thank you.

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