Trevor Haworth Discusses Hybrid Proofing, the Environment and a Xerox Alliance

Last November, Trevor Haworth was elected to the board of directors and appointed Chief Executive Officer of CGS Publishing Technologies International GmbH, Hainburg, Germany.  His appointment is part of an organizational restructuring combining the strengths of leadership of both companies in the United States and Germany. Haworth founded CGS LLC in the U.S. in January of 1999 to act as a dealer for the German company, and this most recent appointment was based on the success he has achieved with the North American operation.  CGS employs 65 people worldwide, including 17 in the U.S. and Canada and six in Mexico managing the Latin American operation. The company earned more than $25 million in revenues worldwide in 2007.

WTT:  Trevor, thanks for speaking with us.  As you look at CGS as a whole, what would you identify as your key strategic initiative globally?

TH:  The number one strategic direction for the company is what we call hybrid proofing.  That is a combination of two leading technologies, ORIS Color Tuner, our core product for hardcopy proofing, and ORIS Softproof, which is a virtual proofing solution. By combining the two together, we have created a unique position that incorporates the best of both worlds.

We have taken our traditional proofing software, which is a mature product, and leveraged it to accurately display images on monitors that contain the CMYK rendering intent.

WTT:  How does this differ from other solutions on the market?

TH:  There has been a lot of interest in virtual proofing, but adoption rates have not been borne out in actual practice because many users are reluctant to depend on a technology they believe is not yet mature—that is, the controlling of monitors to accurately reflect a CMYK image.  We have taken our traditional proofing software, which is a mature product, and leveraged it to accurately display images on monitors that contain the CMYK rendering intent.  If a monitor is kept calibrated, we can have a close match between hardcopy and soft proofs.

WTT:  What are some of the advantages CGS offers in bringing this solution to market?

TH:  A company the size of CGS can have a clearly defined focus on its core competency into a single market product, where larger companies have to balance vested interests among different divisions. By combining our solutions together, we can present them as a combined product with significant value add.  We have many examples of companies who have installed these solutions.

WTT:  Perhaps you could share a customer example.

TH:  One of the largest retailers has a hybrid proofing system running.  They are sending virtual proofs of their complete catalog to the printer. At the same time, the printer or the retailer can pull a matching hard copy proof internally for reference purposes, filing purposes or for the art director to look at on the train on the way home.  Proofing for recent issues of their catalog has been 100% virtual with a color-managed PDF workflow using ORIS Color Tuner and CS2.  Our products are also CS 3 compliant.

WTT:  Do these applications support digital as well as offset?

TH:  Yes, I would actually like to give WhatTheyThink a scoop in that regard.  We have just concluded an arrangement with Xerox where we will be part of their FreeFlow Workflow Collection, providing color management in front of their digital production presses, including the iGen and DocuColor 2xx family.  We have been working with them for nine months and they are just about to launch this capability to their sales force.  ORIS Press Matcher will sit in front of the digital presses to give them accurate color reproduction and a match to offset and GRACoL.  This is our entry into the on-demand market and variable printing, and we are very excited about that.

WTT:  IPA has conducted a Proofing RoundUP at its Technology Conference for the last several years, and recently has been placing more focus on soft proofing.  Have you been participating in that?

TH:  Yes, and we have always been featured at the top.  If you look at last year’s results, we scored in the top green category with hardcopy proof, and were comparable with the big boys—Kodak and ICS—in soft proofing, the first time we had shown the product.  As you will recall, IPA changed the way they ranked entrants last year, using a green/yellow/red paradigm instead of a numerical ranking.

A product that saves customers money and reduces costs always has growth potential, especially in a contracting market, because there is increased focus on cost control

WTT:  How do you view the market opportunity for proofing products in a period of retention?

TH:  A product that saves customers money and reduces costs always has growth potential, especially in a contracting market, because there is increased focus on cost control.  Also, there is a large installed base of legacy proofing systems that are being replaced by more cost-effective solutions.  In addition, the need for proofing is expanding upstream to agencies and in-plants, where cost reduction and the need for faster decision processes have driven the proofing cycle in house.  We are only scratching the surface of the market and will continue to grow.  The biggest opportunity lies outside of the printing industry. In the prepress world, we talk about intermediate proofs with good-enough color. That was our term, not the art director’s term.  If you ask art directors if quality of a proof is “good enough,” they will tell you they want the same quality on the desktop for first judgment that the prepress department uses for actual contract proofing. Our solution offers that.

WTT:  Do you have any comments about the environmental impact such a hybrid solution might have?

TH:  Reduction of paper and ink is a good thing, so virtual proofing benefits the environment in that regard.  It also reduces the use of transportation—the carbon footprint of FedEx planes jetting all over the place.  That is another obvious positive impact of virtual proofing.

WTT:  What about the economic impact?

TH:  One aspect of virtual proofing that is not fully presented by various vendors is its effect on the decision process within the company.  Most people think of virtual proofing as sending digital files to the printing press, and that is certainly an application that a couple of our competitors have concentrated on. We take a different view. Within a design group or retail organization, there needs to be faster, more accurate representation of color within the building.  Traffic flow with virtual proofing at a retailer would be the designer sitting next to the retoucher at a calibrated monitor watching her comments being executed in real time.  That is much faster than pulling a hard copy proof and waiting for a review cycle. We feel that is the primary market for virtual proofing, and it is a huge, untapped market that is not being attacked yet.  It is a relatively flexible market, and to succeed, you need to use common tools that designers are used to using.  We base our virtual proofing mark-up tools on Acrobat 8 and all the collaborative tools Adobe offers, which are tremendous. We don’t see a need to recreate the wheel here like a lot of other people do.

WTT:  You have a product called ORIS Ink Saver. Tell us a little about that.

TH:  ORIS Ink Saver is a color managed grey component and under-color removal software package that reduces ink content by 15% to 20% on the press.  Ink saving is only part of the solution.  We find that some very large print groups spend $50 million a year on ink, and that reduction can be a significant savings.  But far more significant are the other savings in wastage, because makeready time is reduced considerably.  One of the benefits of ink reduction of the three primary colors and a subset of black is that it is much easier and faster to get the press up to color with less paper wastage.  It also affects drying time, reduces energy used in the drying process, and reduces the amount of offset powder they must use. When you combine ORIS Hybrid Proofing and ORIS Ink Saver, you can really ring the "Green" bell.  Less paper for proofing, less ink for proofing, less ink at the printing press, less paper waste with faster makeready, etc.  It all adds up to sustainability from design to production.

WTT:  Again, how do you differentiate yourself from others that claim these same benefits?

TH:  We apply our algorithms to the whole page, and our software intelligently analyzes individual components on the page so that items that have GCR applied in earlier in the process don’t get as much applied downstream, so the page is more homogenous. We generally find that in a shoot-out, we perform better.

WTT:  How involved is CGS with industry standards?

TH:  We just hired Heath Leutkens, formerly with Time and Quad/Graphics.  He is very well respected in the industry, and was the Quality Manager at Time, Inc.  Heath joined us six months ago and is very, very active in all of the industry standards committees and bodies, including ICC, the Ghent Workgroup, the Print Properties Committee, GRACoL, FOGRA, ERA, etc.  Our products are designed to comply with those standards.  It is essential from our point of view.  And his sitting on these committees is our way of giving back to the industry to promulgate those standards throughout the world.

WTT:  Aside from taking your solutions upstream, what other market opportunities do you see?

TH:  As we look to market growth in the future, China represents a big growth opportunity for any company, and especially for us because of our multinational capabilities. Plus the fact that this year with the Beijing Olympics, there will be a lot of focus on the Chinese market.  Although there is a feeling that standards are somewhat lower there, that is not our feeling at all.  Packaging in China is a big opportunity for us and that is where virtual and remote proofing come in.

WTT:  What about drupa?  What can we expect to see from CGS there?

TH:  I will give you a little taste.  One of the ways to further the acceptance of color management, proofing, ink saving and press matching is to make the software go to the client, making it a real web-based environment for all of our products. So we will be showing a web-based client/server kind of structure for our product line.  There will be more details as we get closer to drupa, but that will be our general direction.  We will have a double decker booth, an amazing presence, and will be in Hall 8bA40.