Special Report: Printing, Production and Paper
Achieve a Better Production Workflow
Hint: Expect more from your printer
Consider the relationship you have with your catalog printer. Besides the quality of what it prints for you, how would you classify its workflow processes? Is it easy for you to submit jobs? Are you confident you’re saving as much as you can on prepress costs? Do you think you’re getting the best possible level of customer service?
In tough environments such as this one — when paper and postage costs are on the rise, for instance — you must not be conservative in the expectations you set for your print partners.
Now that computer-to-plate (CTP) and digital workflow have become the standard in catalog printing, printers are looking for new ways to improve their processes — and ensure that their customers stay happy and loyal.
Of course, there’s still plenty of room for improvement to the digital workflow. For example, there’s still a need to ensure that the content a cataloger supplies to a printer will seamlessly process through the prepress workflow and, ultimately, reproduce well on press. Moreover, there remains a need for standardization of the content you submit to your printer, and there’s still opportunity to automate data exchange — not just of the print job, but all the shared data about the job.
The good news: Several key software developers catering primarily to commercial, catalog and publication printers have unveiled cutting-edge solutions that printers are using to improve workflow hazard zones. If your printers aren’t using them and making them available to you, perhaps it’s a good time to ask, “Why not?”
A Commitment to Customer Service
David Motheral, chief technology officer at Fort Worth, Texas-based Motheral Printing oversees all technological implementation for this catalog, publication and commercial printer. “Submitting jobs to us has never been easier,” he notes. He’s referring to the printer’s recent adoption of the Synapse InSite and Synapse Prepare tools from Creo. Synapse Prepare addresses the workflow gap between a cataloger and its printer. It allows a cataloger to take a digital file (e.g., a PostScript file), feed it to Synapse Prepare (through a hot folder or print-to function) and, in return, get an optimized PDF file that’s been expertly manicured according to the exact prepress specifications assigned by the printer.