Darmstadt, Germany (September 2, 2005) - The International Cooperation for the Integration of Processes in Prepress, Press, and Postpress (CIP4) today announced that Kraft Druck und Verlag GmbH of Ettlingen, Germany is the winner of the 2005 CIP4 International Print Production Innovation (CIPPI) award in the category of "biggest improvement in efficiency and customer responsiveness as a result of process automation." Kraft Druck und Verlag's application was selected as the result of ballots cast by CIP4's advisory board.
Kraft Druck has been using Hiflex's Management Information System (MIS) since 1995. The system manages all business processes at the full service printing facility: order management (administrative processing, estimating, costing, invoicing, production planning, and data collecting), material management, shop floor data collection and eBusiness. Since production systems from different vendors are used in prepress, press and postpress operations, multiple entries of job data was inevitable, including the risk of typing errors and having to deal with inconsistent data. Communication of job information and status also required several steps and several people, which was both time consuming and costly.
In order to implement seamless cross-vendor communication, Kraft Druck upgraded and replaced several systems in 2003:
* In prepress, the Creo Prinergy PDF Workflow replaced Kraft Druck's older Brisque workflow system.
* Kraft Druck replaced an older Lotum 800V with a fully-automatic Lotum 800 Quantum thermal platesetter for digital platemaking.
* The company's three MAN Roland 700 sheet-fed offset presses were updated with the PECOM system. "These upgrades were not coincidental," said Kraft Druck General Manager Werner Kraft, "but a consequence of our strategic orientation towards networked production. We aim to provide the greatest possible customer value, optimizing our cost structure and ensuring the highest possible efficiency in our internal workflow. We realize this by using the highest degree possible of fully integrated and computer aided production and business processes ."
The resulting implementation uses JDF (Job Messaging Format) and JMF (Job Messaging Format) to create the interconnection between Hiflex MIS and the Creo Prinergy Workflow System, as well as between the Hiflex MIS and the PECOM System for the MAN Roland sheet-fed offset presses. Hiflex uses the JDF interface to forward customer details and printing instructions, so that data only needs to be entered once. The Hiflex system automatically generates the complete production sequence, and the job information is then ready to be passed on to the subsequent Creo and MAN Roland systems. Furthermore, all machines events are reported back via JMF and flow into the Hiflex order book, the Hiflex Production Data Collection and the Hiflex Scheduling board. Because of the JDF connectivity in the plant, any person involved with the job can obtain up-to-the-minute data about the production process, thus enabling the maximum degree of transparency and flexibility.
"Kraft Druck offers an impressive demonstration of what can be achieved with modern integration and automation. In addition to proving that JDF integration of administration, prepress, pressroom and finishing can be effectively implemented, the company has also managed to improve customer service and add real value", says Ursula Voss-Eiden, Marketing Manager Germany/Alps, Creo Deutschland GmbH, a subsidiary of Kodak. "At the same time, Kraft Druck has succeeded in deriving significant economic benefits by creating digital connectivity between systems from several Networked Graphic Production partners."
The direct effect of the JDF connectivity project was an increase in productive hours (print run hours) of +9.6% in the first period (2004 compared to 2003). In prepress alone, Kraft Druck estimates that they saved 24 man-hours per day in job creation. "We definitely profit from the link between Creo Prinergy and Hiflex, said IT Manager Thomas Brickwedde. "Take, for instance, the automatic tracking of authors' corrections and material consumption. Our invoicing has become more precise and much faster, since all chargeable and non-chargeable processes are automatically entered into the MIS and monthly investigations on lost plates are no longer necessary."
The company was able to eliminate a full-time scheduler's position and customer approvals are instantly communicated to the CSR and the planning board; allowing for optimal production planning. Overall the Return On Investment (ROI) of the JDF implementation at Kraft Druck is 446% within five years (which means that the investment is paid back 5.46 times). The Net Present Value (NPV) is EUR 579,826 - or US $759,777 - which equals an Internal Rate of Return (IRR) of 168%.
An honorable mention was awarded to Lavigne Inc. of Worcester, Massachusetts. According to Lavigne's application, they operated a 'print on demand' business, which was basically a web site that emailed job tickets. It was nothing more than an electronic means of job submission and the internal workflow was very much similar to a conventional job. Lavigne used JDF to connect Printable's PrintOne Customer Center to the Indigo ProductionFlow digital front-end to automate their process. Since implementation, they have gone from 25 orders processed per month to over 700 while maintaining an 85% reduction in print costs and a 92% reduction in customer processing costs.
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