Kodak’s Graphic Communications Magazine
May 2008 v 3 no 2
Kodak’s Graphic Communications Magazine
Workfl ow: The Silent Engine of Opportunity
Unifi ed workfl ow that unites all aspects of a company’s business
can bring dramatic benefi ts.
There is always plenty of noise when you enter the giant halls of drupa. The whir of presses and clicking and clacking of fi nishing systems, at times, can actually drown out the buzz of the thousands of conversations happening at once. The big hardware is pretty exciting and the printed output can be staggering. It’s like a wonderland of communication possibilities.
I think some of the really powerful energy being generated at this year’s drupa, though, will be coming from the silent engines of successful graphic communications businesses: unifi ed workfl ow software. It doesn’t make any noise; but it creates something a whole lot more valuable: opportunity.
At Kodak, we’ve been driving the evolution of “unifi ed workfl ow” for years. At one level, unifi ed means software solutions that can address digital, traditional and blended production environments. At a higher level, a truly unifi ed workfl ow means a lot more. Unifi ed means bringing together all of the aspects of the operation: sales and business offi ce services; production planning and manufacturing; color coordination and control; and data management. The payoffs are big.
A powerful workfl ow solution that unites all aspects of your business can dramatically improve your effi ciency. You can save time, cut overhead costs, and reduce errors. Those are direct contributions to bottom line profi t. If, however, you look at workfl ow only through the lens of how it can improve productivity, you will be passing up opportunities to reshape your business and grow revenue in a digital world.
One new measure of workfl ow must be how well it integrates with e-commerce. Online portals are beginning to change the way customers order print by enabling them to customize the content, and control how and when they receive print. The service providers who leverage this technology will be able to capture new business, often from sources outside of the traditional prospects.
Thanks to the Internet, you can create a market virtually anywhere in the world. As long as you have value to provide to a customer, you can fi nd customers across the street or across the country, eliminating geographic borders. But not without the right workfl ow.
The next frontier for workfl ow is whether it has the ability to create new business opportunities at the enterprise level – with brand owners and corporate marketing departments. As print service providers evolve to become marketing service providers, they will need to fi nd more opportunity upstream, at the wellhead of marketing communications.
Unifi ed workfl ow solutions need to enable collaboration and communication among all of the people creating integrated communications campaigns: clients, designers, agencies, production, and manufacturing. The new technologies in workfl ow need to sync up with campaign management tools, analytical tools, and storefronts so that users can understand the results of a given campaign, whether it is delivered on the web, in print or a combination of the two. Having the right workfl ow tools can put your business at the hub of the graphic lifecycle instead of having to scrounge for business at the outer ring.
drupa is a technology show, and some of the most important developments in our industry are happening in workfl ow. When you consider workfl ow solutions for your business, ask the right questions, listen carefully for the answers and you’ll be able to make the right investments to capture new revenue in a digital world.
Chief Marketing Offi cer, Graphic Communications Group Vice President, Eastman Kodak Company
Digital and Dynamic
New technology and a focus on process improvements help
short-run book manufacturer King Printing increase effi ciency.
By Darin Painter
Photos: Brian Wilder
The traditional gift for a 30th anniversary is pearl jewelry. Last year, just before King Printing’s 30th year in business, the company rewarded itself with something even more valuable: equipment that further solidifi ed the company’s integrated solutions strategy.
For three decades, savvy investment in new technology has enabled the short-run book manufacturer to increase effi ciency and win business from domestic and international publishers. That was the fi rm’s goal last year, when it began operating a KODAKMAGNUS 800 Platesetter.
It was a weighty decision for Lowell, Massachusetts-based King Printing, which has been an industry leader in computer-to-plate technology since installing a platesetter from the former CREO in 1995. The full-service production facility, which also operates web and sheet-fed presses, offers digital printing, along with a broad range of fi nishing options such as case binding, perfect binding, saddle-stitching and spiral binding. (See “Spotlight on King Printing.” )
King Printing has achieved what many graphic communications fi rms aim to accomplish—becoming a value-added services provider. A
key component of the company’s success is KODAK Unifi ed Workfl ow Solutions, which enable King Printing to operate streamlined digital and conventional environments.
“Kodak’s production systems address the numerous tasks that go into delivering products to our customers,” says Adi Chinai, joint managing director of King Printing Co., Inc. Those production tools manage, control and produce everything from proofs to short-run printing with variable data, split jobs and reprints. “A seamless production workfl ow enables work to route easily between offset and digital,” he says. “That’s critical to our growth.”
Since Chinai’s father, Sid, launched the family-run company in 1978, King Printing has consistently added equipment that “could create
Spotlight on King Printing
Name:King Printing Co., Inc.
Location:Lowell, Massachusetts, USA Employees:100-plus
Business in Brief:The printer specializes in short-run printing and binding for self-published authors, individuals, small busi-nesses and book publishers. Its Digital Print Center includes a wide array of monochrome and multicolor digital production presses. The fi rm, which also operates web and sheet-fed presses and offers assembly services, caters to clients worldwide including Europe, Asia and Africa.
King Printing Co., Inc. is a value-added services provider that operates a KODAK MAGNUS 800 Platesetter and other new technologies that increase effi ciency. KODAK Uniﬁ ed Workﬂ ow Solutions enable King Printing to operate streamlined digital and traditional print environments.
better economies of scale for our customers,” Adi says, including digital prepress solutions that make production faster.
Platesetter helps King triple production
Once a purely manual operation, the prepress process has become increasingly digitized. “Picking the right technology and staying ahead of the curve is a constant challenge for book printers,” says Chinai.
King Printing’s team selected the KODAK MAGNUS 800 Platesetter primarily because of the machine’s ability to hold different-sized plates in multiple bays, Chinai says. “The device immediately gave us the power and fl exibility to run any type of job. From our smallest plate size to our largest, it is now fully automated, thus reducing downtime. Inline registration, punching and automatic slip sheet removal make the device easy to use and effi cient.”
Kodak’s line of MAGNUS Platesetters delivers end-to-end automation and up to 40 plates per hour, helping to make graphic communications service providers more productive and profi table. The platesetter comes with an autoloader with a single-cassette unit that holds up to 100 plates, or a multi-cassette unit that holds fi ve trays and up to 500 plates. (King Printing uses KODAK SWORD EXCEL Thermal Plates.)
In the fully automated system, plates move through the MAGNUS
800 Platesetter auto loading system in parallel, rather than waiting for one plate to complete the cycle before starting the next plate. While one plate is being imaged, the next is already loaded and waiting. Operators working during King Printing’s three shifts can select a “Quick Plate Remake” option that enables them to bypass the autoloader and insert a new plate directly into the imaging device. “One of our main goals is to maximize press time,” Chinai says. “Thanks to Kodak’s platesetter, we’ve been able to triple production.” The company has achieved average annual sales growth of 45% during the past few years.
Integrated workfl ow fuels growth
Because King Printing produces both offset and digital printing, the company wanted technology that could integrate its print systems into a single, cohesive workfl ow—one solution that unites various aspects of business, production, color and data.
When graphic communications fi rms implement new systems or add new service offerings to differentiate themselves, each new system adds a level of complexity to their operations. This often results in a disconnected workfl ow, as the various systems don’t exchange information and aren’t centrally located.
KODAK Unifi ed Workfl ow Solutions provide an open infrastructure so King Printing can manage both traditional and digital print production in a scalable, modular way. The technology extends from the prepress department and pressroom to the Internet, and includes digital asset management products, tools for remote collaboration and approval, and applications that allow customers to create their own variable data campaigns.
The heart of King Printing’s workfl ow is the KODAK PRINERGY Workfl ow System, a fully integrated solution for organizing page processing,
“The platesetter immediately gave us the
power and fl exibility to run any type of job,
from our smallest plate size to our largest.”
—Adi Chinai, joint managing director,
King Printing Co., Inc.
For users who demand ultra-precise imaging and registration, the
KODAK MAGNUS 800 QUANTUM Platesetter includes KODAK SQUAREspot
Imaging Technology. It delivers automatic compensation for temperature-related plate expansion and contraction for precise, consistent imaging from plate to plate and machine to machine. At drupa 2008, Kodak unveils the fastest, most productive addition to its MAGNUS line: a device that can image up to 60 8-page plates per hour. The KODAKMAGNUS 800Z QUANTUM Platesetter
includes an advanced thermal head that generates double the laser power of its predecessors.
proofing, and computer-to-plate and digital printing production. Chinai says it enables his company to reduce prepress costs and errors, improve turnaround times, and optimize fi le processing and production management. “Kodak’s equipment enables a truly integrated PDF workfl ow here, which means orders move quickly and correctly from the fi rst stage to the last,” he says.
Within PRINERGY 4.0 is the KODAK INSITE Prepress Portal System, an Internet portal that streamlines job submission, job-status tracking, online collaboration, and remote proofi ng and approval. From any Web-enabled computer in any location and at any time, King Printing’s customers, prepress operators and customer service representatives can manage and track job activity, proof print jobs, and collaborate with creative and prepress staff on changes. To ensure rapid delivery to its customers, King Printing relies on the KODAK NEXPRESS 2100 Digital Production Color Press and variable data printing solutions from Kodak.
“We selected the NEXPRESS 2100 Press because the digital color capabilities of the system will take us to a new level and the quality is extremely close to offset,” Chinai says. “With solutions from Kodak, there are new applications we can run. You don’t have to produce 100,000 copies to be cost-effective. This kind of leading-edge technology adds effi ciencies to our operation.”
The variable data solution is an integrated client-server package for advanced, high-speed variable data printing. It offers a fast, scalable system that’s ideal for demanding high-volume production environments. It integrates into King Printing’s workfl ow, and enables the fi rm to produce full-color pieces with variable text and images and database-driven charts and tables.
“Innovation from Kodak continues to propel us forward, as does our commitment to customer service,” Chinai says. “We consider that combination to be a difference-maker. Technology makes us more effi cient, and our dedicated people make sure our customers truly get what they want, when they want it.”
digital leader in a healthy
Book production represents a growing opportunity for digital print and on-demand print services. Many publishers have started using on-demand printing processes for fi rst print runs (and in some cases subsequent print runs) on books with uncertain demand.
“The book publishing industry is evolving due to industry consolidation, the growth of the Internet, and the impact of e-book
and on-demand book technologies,” says Jim Hamilton, associate director for the On Demand Printing & Publishing Consulting Service at research fi rm CAP Ventures. “New business models and workfl ows are emerging that address distribution channels and warehousing practices in innovative ways.”
The traditional short run of 100 to 500 has been reduced to fewer than 20 for many digital book printers. Many fi rms can now print soft- or hard-cover books without creating excess inventory. No longer do publishers need to commit to print runs of 100,000 and absorb the risk of potential waste or product spoilage if books don’t sell. In other words, companies can digitally print and bind “just in time,” instead of “just in case.”
According to the research fi rm InfoTrends Inc., print runs between 250 and 499 are increasing 40%, while runs of 50,000 or more are decreasing 44%.
Publishing workfl ows differ from typical commercial print workfl ow, with the need for more run-length fl exibility and different degrees of workfl ow complexity and options. Solutions from Kodak help publishers develop new market opportunities, while providing a complete, customized solution for most types of publishing print providers.
King Printing Co., Inc., which specializes in servicing trade book and educational publishers, has recently embarked on a new market: self-publishing. Aspiring authors turn to the company to order as few as 100 books. (A typical run for the printer is about 2,500.)
As the company continues to implement new ways to grow, increase effi ciency and deliver powerful marketing and publishing services to clients, “Kodak will be with us every step of the way,” Chinai says.●
“The book publishing industry is evolving due to industry consolidation, the growth of the Internet, and the impact of e-book and on-demand book technologies,” says Jim Hamilton, associate director for the On Demand Printing & Publishing Consulting Service at research ﬁ rm CAP Ventures.
Digital and Dynamic-cont.
Short-Run Book Market is Thriving
Book printers are increasingly moving to digital printing technol-ogy, especially in these instances:
●Low-quantity orders. Many printers specialize in producing single reprints of out-of-stock books. These fi rms can produce thousands of different titles daily.
●Test runs.Publishers often need a small number of books for market testing or editorial reviews.
●Variable information. To increase impact and customization,
printers can change copy or graphics on each completed book or in a set of books.
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Digital and Dynamic-cont.
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