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Proceedings Paper

Improving and streamlining the workflow in the graphic arts and printing industry
Author(s): Chris Tuijn
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Paper Abstract

In order to survive in the economy of today, an ever-increasing productivity is required from all the partners participating in a specific business process. This is not different for the printing industry. One of the ways to remain profitable is, on one hand, to reduce costs by automation and aiming for large-scale projects and, on the other hand, to specialize and become an expert in the area in which one is active. One of the ways to realize these goals is by streamlining the communication of the different partners and focus on the core business. If we look at the graphic arts and printing industry, we can identify different important players that eventually help in the realization of printed material. For the printing company (as is the case for any other company), the most important player is the customer. This role can be adopted by many different players including publishers, companies, non-commercial institutions, private persons etc. Sometimes, the customer will be the content provider as well but this is not always the case. Often, the content is provided by other organizations such as design and prepress agencies, advertising companies etc. In most printing organizations, the customer has one contact person often referred to as the CSR (Customers Service Representative). Other people involved at the printing organization include the sales representatives, prepress operators, printing operators, postpress operators, planners, the logistics department, the financial department etc. In the first part of this article, we propose a solution that will improve the communication between all the different actors in the graphic arts and printing industry considerably and will optimize and streamline the overall workflow as well. This solution consists of an environment in which the customer can communicate with the CSR to ask for a quote based on a specific product intent; the CSR will then (after the approval from the customer's side) organize the work and brief his technical managers to realize the product. Furthermore, the system will allow managers to brief the actors and follow up on the progress. At all times, the CSR's - as well as the customers - will be able to look at the over-all status of a specific product. If required, the customers can approve the content over the web; the system will also support local and remote proofing. In the second part of this article, we will focus on the technical environment that can be used to create such a system. To this end, we propose the use of a multi-tier server architecture based on Sun’s J2EE platform. Since our system performs a communicating role by nature, it will have to interface in a smart way with a lot of external systems such as prepress systems, MIS systems, mail servers etc. In order to allow a robust communication between the server and its subsystems that avoids a failure of the over-all system if one of the components goes down, we have chosen for a non-blocking, asynchronous communication method based on queuing systems. In order to support an easy integration with other systems in the graphic industry, we also will describe how our communication server supports the JDF standard, a new standard in the graphic industry established by the CIP4 committee.

Paper Details

Date Published: 13 January 2003
PDF: 10 pages
Proc. SPIE 5008, Color Imaging VIII: Processing, Hardcopy, and Applications, (13 January 2003); doi: 10.1117/12.473895
Show Author Affiliations
Chris Tuijn, Agfa-Gevaert N.V. (Belgium)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 5008:
Color Imaging VIII: Processing, Hardcopy, and Applications
Reiner Eschbach; Gabriel G. Marcu, Editor(s)

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