This article is sponsored by Kodak as part of WhatTheyThink's Print Software Product Spotlight series. In preparing this article, the WhatTheyThink Print Software Section editors conducted original, in-depth research on Kodak's software product. This Product Spotlight describes what the editors feel are the product suite’s strengths in the marketplace. Kodak reviewed the final article for accuracy but had no editorial control over the content.
There are two major workflows that a job travels through in your print business. The production workflow which results in a printed product and the business workflow which results in an accurate invoice. The job must travel through both workflows; often in parallel and frequently requires some collaboration and/or communication between the workflows to reach both desired results - high-quality print product(s) delivered on-time and an error free invoice.
For many printers, people manage these workflows in a hands-on manner; meaning when you take away the key people; the workflow slows, miss-fires, or stops all together. When printers have “software systems” in place to manage these workflows, employees can move in and out of the daily processing because the system is running the business and the people are running the system(s). Employees leave, get sick, get promoted, and most importantly are needed for the more mission critical thinking and customer relationship tasks involved in your business. Let computers and software do what they are best at like; performing repeatable tasks, enabling automation, keeping track of all activity and essentially doing exactly what they have been programmed to do by your staff.
Scale, profitability, non-chaotic growth, and the ability to make data-driven decisions requires that you have a trusted system of record for your business and production workflows. Kodak’s Prinergy Workflow software focuses on managing and streamlining the production workflow path while communicating with the business workflow that is typically managed by your Print ERP/MIS.
One System – Multiple Manufacturing Workflows
Diversification is the name of the game in the print industry. Printers are moving into different product areas, different manufacturing processes, and even into digital products that are “shipped” over the web vs. analog products off the loading dock. As diversification trends continue, it’s important that printers invest in solutions that continue to evolve so diversification does not mean multiple systems of record, complex integrations, or the dreaded option of unconnected point solutions to support new revenue streams. Prinergy Workflow 8 is the latest release of the Prinergy Suite of products, which includes expanding and improving its support for a wider range of print production workflows including offset, digital, and packaging.
Prinergy Workflow was originally released in the late 1990’s when offset printing was dominate; as digital printing continues to grow, a trusted system of record for your production workflow needs to seamlessly handle both offset and digital in the same workflow. With Prinergy Workflow 8, Kodak has brought these workflows together, allowing Prinergy Workflow operators to direct jobs to different manufacturing workflows without re-working files. Printers are diversifying and print manufacturing methods continue to evolve, Prinergy Workflow 8 allows you to keep one trusted system of record for your production workflow.
With Prinergy Workflow 8, Kodak has made a significant investment in evolving the Prinergy Workflow packaging workflow. As packaging printers know, waste can be a huge concern due to high material costs. Optimization in this area adds directly to your bottom line. Prinergy Workflow 8 can now identify waste areas during die cutting and most importantly auto gang jobs while optimizing for non-rectangle shapes to minimize waste in the first place. The net result is a reduction in your material costs to give you the option of passing on the savings to your customers are capturing more margin on every order.
Digital Press Management
With the proliferation of digital presses for specific applications, your product workflow system must be able to easily connect to digital presses and help you manage the routing of high volume digital work to the right press efficiently. With Prinergy Workflow 8 digital press management just got a whole lot easier and more flexible. Digital device capabilities are available to the operator in real-time to assist with production routing. With Rules Prinergy Based Automation (RBA), you can enable automation of job creation, file processing, imposition and output to a digital press.
When your volumes warrant even further automation, you can filter, sort and queue jobs to a digital process with a single screen view of job status and progress. When you connect to a press using JMF, you can configure an unlimited number of hot folders and open up the press to an unlimited number of clients for direct submission.
Prinergy Workflow 8 continues to expand on the ways you can automate your production workflow, shaving off manual touches, and increasing your overall production efficiency. As turnaround times continue to shrink and digital order volumes grow, you need a full automation toolset to grow your digital business profitably without chaos.
Universal Job Ticket Editor
When Prinergy Workflow is acting as your trusted system of record for your productional workflow, you want to keep your people in the system of record as much as possible to improve efficiencies. With Prinergy Workflow 8, Kodak has introduced the universal Digital (Device) Job Ticket Editor which allows your digital press operators to configure all your digital front ends (DFEs) in one place inside Prinergy Workflow.
Prinergy Workflow 8 can connect to all your DFEs and present all the options (e.g. all inline finishing, stock, etc.) for each of your digital devices for configuration within Prinergy Workflow. You have one operational control center rather than forcing your operators to configure in several different places. Prinergy Workflow has bi-directional communication with your DFEs.
As printing presses continue to evolve and specialize, potentially causing you to have many presses as you diversify your business. You are no longer forcing your press operators to learn lots of different DFE interfaces or physically walking to where different DFE servers are placed in your facility. With the introduction of the universal Digital (Device) Job Ticket Editor, Prinergy Workflow 8 gives your operators centralized control.
Rules Based Automation
One of the key factors to evaluating the return on investment of a production workflow system is the level of automation you can create so your staff can spend their time generating revenue instead of doing repetitive tasks. Automation has always been a foundational element to the Prinergy Platform. The key toolset that makes production automation possible in Prinergy Workflow is Rules Based Automation (RBA), which isn’t so much a feature as a toolset that you can deploy to meet the specific needs of your production workflow challenges. It is impossible to predict every workflow, every scenario, every permutation of steps a print job might need to take in order to traverse a manufacturing plant. With RBA, you don’t have a one-size fits all solution, you have a toolset that you can configure to build optimized workflows that meet your needs.
Automation is not a one-size-fits-all for printers or across your customers. With RBA, you can create rules that can be applied at the customer level. For some customers, it is easy to see where automation can be applied. For other customers, their work is so diversified and inconsistent imagining a rule to automate can be quite challenging. The key to is to assess the tasks you do on a customer by customer basis, find the repetition and then delegate the repetitive tasks to Prinergy Workflow. The best way to think about Rules Based Automation is to consider it a member of your staff (who doesn’t take vacations, get sick, or make mistakes because they are tired). What parts of your workflow are better suited to a programmatic approach? It’s a mindset shift, where you and your staff are looking for patterns in the way you work and then implementing the patterns as RBA rules, testing, and refining, then moving to the next area of potential automation.
Automation with Prinergy’s RBA is limited only by your imagination.
A production workflow solution cannot work in isolation. Your production workflow is just one part of your business, the other major part is your business workflow (estimating, pricing, cost collection, inventory management, invoicing, etc.), all aspects typically covered by the Print ERP/MIS. A production workflow system must seamlessly communicate with your Print MIS so each “system of record” is informed about the activities in the other. Prinergy solves this challenge with Business Link.
When systems are truly integrated, users should feel like they are using a single system. Because production workflow and business workflow are so intertwined, it is vital that the two systems can freely exchange data so each functional area of your print business has access to the right information at the right time to make the optimal data-driven decisions. With Prinergy’s Business Link and JDF capabilities, Prinergy Workflow and your Print MIS speak the same language (the critical information about your business).
A single system of record for all your production management needs that can be configured to optimize automation and seamlessly talks with your Print MIS is the recipe for a data-driven print business that can scale profitably. Software is one of the key resources to deploy in a market that is increasingly competitive (both in price, diversity of products, and delivery speed). Your success in this market will be highly dependent on your ability to maximize the ROI of your software investments to build efficient workflows and be able to adapt to changing market conditions. With Prinergy Workflow 8 Kodak continues to evolve the platform to meet the needs of the shifting market conditions.
To learn more about WhatTheyThink.com’s Print Software Product Spotlights, please contact Jennifer Matt, Print Software Section Editor at [email protected].