November 28, 2007 - Ampersand Printing, from Guelph, (Toronto) Canada, achieved second place in the world-wide 2007 CIP4/JDF "CIPPI Award" in the category "Biggest improvement in efficiency and customer responsiveness as a result of process automation."
With regard to Ampersand's explicit strategy, Vice President and Production Manager Damian McDonald explains the objectives for implementing automation technologies as follows: "With both foreign market influences as well as our current domestic capacities, anyone in this industry knows that pricing is sharp and our market is extremely competitive. Our stance is that if we are to continue to provide our customers with the level of quality we are currently achieving, as well as remain competitive, we must automate the process, make it as streamlined as possible and minimize errors." His crystal clear conclusion: "The only way to achieve this goal is through process automation with systems that allow best possible JDF connectivity."
Retrospectively, Damian describes: "We began our search for an adequate system with no specific criteria in mind. We did, however, know that we wanted to adopt an 'enter once - use many' means of managing information." After a period of thorough investigation Ampersand finally decided on Hiflex Management Information System (Hiflex MIS) at Graph Expo 2005. They introduced Hiflex for order management, production planning and shop floor data collection beginning of November 2005. The JDF implementation began in April 2006 and today includes a seamless integration between business processes, prepress and postpress (cutting machine) production processes.
Their award-winning implementation includes the Hiflex MIS with high level JDF connectivity to Kodak Prinergy and their Heidelberg Polar Cutter. In this advanced and cutting edge workflow, prepress receives JDF job and customer data as well as "JDF StrippingParams" directly from Hiflex MIS that is generated from each estimate. Additionally, the cutting parameters are extracted from prepress into a separate file containing JDF for postpress. The bottom line of this integration is the significantly improved automation over traditional methods, key to Ampersand's success and to their winning the highly sought after CIP4 CIPPI Award.
Improvements in efficiency include:
- Automatic Job Create in Prinergy
- Automatic load of Preps imposition schemas based on "JDF StrippingParams" from Hiflex
- Automatic cost booking (material consumption)
- Tight integration of the customer into the prepress workflow
- Automatic processing of received files
- No unnecessary correction cycles / clear job content
- Up-to-the-minute plate status for the scheduler
- Increase of sold productivity on the presses due to ameliorated transparency and flexibility
- Automatic, accurate creation of cutting program (dramatic reduction in make-ready)
In the first period after implementation (2006 compared to 2005) Ampersand realized a turnover increase of 34.78%. The Net Present Value (NPV) is CAD 1,527,940.39, and the ROI is 1815.8% in five years (investment is paid back nearly 20 times).
Damian McDonald, Vice President and Production Manager at Ampersand states: "The automation benefits utilized from both Hiflex and Prinergy, paired with the ability to integrate the two systems has placed us light years from where we were prior to our process efficiency enhancements. Moreover, efficiency enhancements we already reached had a positive impact on customer responsiveness." And he adds "The truly exciting part is the fact that we have only scratched the surface and are just beginning to realize the true benefits of this level of integrated automation."
CIP4 reported that according to the Review Panel's summary, Ampersand, "had the best understanding of where the hidden costs were with the workflow and how they were recovering costs for authors alterations, other chargeable changes, time looking for tickets and so on. Ampersand provided an excellent explanation of the pains prior to implementation and of how JDF helped to stop them."
The CIPPI Award Presentation for Ampersand took place on Monday, 12th November 2007 New Jersey, USA in presence of James E. Harvey, Executive Director of CIP4 Organization.
The CIP4 CIPPI Award is done annually where companies can submit their case studies to the CIP4 organization that essentially explain where they were prior, what investments they made in technology and systems and then what the consequences of these investments were and how they benefited. The CIPPI awards are determined by an independent and international group of experts, the "CIPPI Award Review Panel" of judges without affiliation to any vendor, printer, prepress service or publisher. As the contest is world-wide so the competition can be pretty stiff.
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