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EFI PrintFlow Brings Greater Efficiency to Commercial Printer Outlook Group Corporation

Press release from the issuing company

Foster City, Calif. – Jan. 5, 2005 - EFI, the world leader in digital imaging and print management solutions for commercial and enterprise printing, today announced that commercial printer Outlook Group Corporation has been using EFI PrintFlow dynamic scheduling to increase efficiency and meet last-minute customer requests. Outlook Group is a printing, packaging and direct marketing company offering a variety of related services to clients in markets including contract packaging, collateral information management and distribution, direct marketing components and services, packaging components and materials and specialty print related services.Outlook has three facilities within six miles of each other inNeenah, Wisc., including a web plant, sheeting facility and graphics division. The company employs 500 people and generates annual sales of $75 million. Outlook decided to install PrintFlow, the award-winning scheduling software, in October 2002 after seeing the solution at the Connect users’ conference. The company was already using the scheduling module in EFI PSI for its web and graphics divisions, but they wanted to move to a complete computerized scheduling solution. “When I saw PrintFlow I was totally impressed with its capabilities,” saidGail Allen, PSI administrator. “To call PrintFlow dynamic is putting it mildly!” PrintFlow dynamic scheduling allows printers to synchronize and optimize jobs throughout the manufacturing operation by automatically identifying the optimal path for each job based on the available resources, job characteristics, current workload and delivery schedules for all jobs. Only a few weeks lapsed between the decision to purchase PrintFlow and training and installation at the graphics division. “The implementation and installation went as smoothly as can be expected, and we were impressed with the technical support we received then, and continue to receive if we have any questions,” commented Allen. “We’ve been running PrintFlow for two years, but the system has never gone down – it’s extremely efficient and reliable.” Joe Kangas, Outlooks’ scheduler, has seen the most benefits from PrintFlow. “The system has allowed me to be a lot more proactive, since I’m able to look and dig deeper into components of the schedule. For instance, if a customer calls with an urgent request, PrintFlow allows you to put that job into the schedule and quickly see how it’s going to affect every other job and where you might need to move things around to increase capacity. On our old manual board, that would have taken two to three hours!” Another time-saver has been the installation of a 10’ projection screen in one of the conference rooms, so the schedule can be projected at the daily scheduling meeting. The ability to highlight jobs and see the downstream links is extremely efficient, and has shaved at least 10 minutes off each daily meeting. Kangas has been using the color schemes within PrintFlow to group similar jobs. “By grouping work by the same type of jobs, the presses are more efficient, the workflow to finishing is more efficient, and right on down the production line.” The company has also been pleased with the data collection capabilities of PrintFlow. Said Allen, “Now with PrintFlow tables and data, we can write custom Crystal reports and publish them through PSI. This allows us to get at more of the detail than we could before, all in one software package.”