Old Habits Die Hard
Though available for years, options are just now being used to improve prepress workflow.
Like most businesses in the current economy, convertors are constantly looking to increase their cost-effectiveness through new technology. One often-overlooked stage that printers have begun to explore in an effort to improve workflow, and therefore costs, is the prepress facet of the industry. Improvements in prepress workflow and/or data transmission have been available for quite a while now, but converters have been slow to take advantage of these opportunities.
"The tools for improvement are there," says David Zwang, IPA operational TEAM consultant leader and founder of Zwang & Company, a firm specializing in process analysis and strategic development of companies in the fields of electronic publishing, design, prepress, and printing. "The biggest factor in adoption rate is a fear of change."
In addition, the long-time member of the International Prepress Association believes that companies are continuing to remain focused on sales and not cost control.
"Specific technologies like softproofing, remote proofing, color management, etc., have been around for a while," he adds. "And while many have integrated these technologies into their workflows, a vast majority haven't. Eventually they will have to because their client base will drive it."
Zwang also points to automation in RIP workflow systems, PDF, JDF (Job Definition Format), color management, and a spreading of the printing load across an increasingly disparate and collaborative workgroup.
"JDF will have a significant impact over time and this will force many of the workflow software vendors to rethink their current solutions," he predicts. "In addition, the continued influence of variable data publishing and cross media publishing will have a significant impact on direction."
Streamline software saves
In the mid 1990s, Colorbrite, recently acquired by Southern Graphic Systems, began actively shopping for enhanced workflow software that would combine streamlining and cost effectiveness.