Catalog Production in the Digital Age
If the file fails preflight, it obviously doesn’t move forward in the workflow (where it’s likely to cost even more to fix as it nears the press). Rather, it’s rejected and sent back to the customer, along with a detailed report of what’s awry. In as few as 15 minutes, the cataloger is apprised of the problems with the file, can fix them and resubmit the file to the printer for a second preflight inspection.
Printers weren’t the only organizations to see the value in this almost completely automated solution for digital file submission. Magazine publishers’ curiosity also was piqued, because, if deployed at their establishments, it would ensure all ad pages received were correctly prepared and complete. It also would enable the publisher to stick to its core competency, publishing magazines, versus playing prepress supplier to its ad base.
That’s one of the many beauties of digital workflow: It allows everyone in the print chain to do what they do best. Printers print, and publishers create content and retain control over its integrity virtually up to the point at which the file is submitted for platemaking.
If you’re detecting a theme of automation here, you’re beginning to see how the future of catalog publishing is likely to unfold. Preflighting is just one example of digital manufacturing automation — and that’s just the tip of the proverbial iceberg.
The Next IT Feat
Automation has been a key print industry goal since CTP reared its head. Automating sometimes redundant and time-consuming processes along the print catalog supply chain is vital if the industry hopes to take full advantage of CTP’s and cross-media publishing’s benefits. Implementation of a technology like MarkzNet offers a precursor example to what Linda Manes Goodwin, executive director of Manes Goodwin Associates, a print production consultancy, calls “the big picture” for catalogers.