The latest Apogee version also provides increased direct driver support for non-Agfa recording engines and features new options such as WebApproval and ApogeeX Proofing. It extends the system’s JDF functionality in a couple of ways. Through ApogeeX Create, it brings JDF-based automation upstream to content creators. It’s also using the specification to facilitate a distribute-and-print production model.

The Human Touch

Hepditch doesn’t see online tools eliminating the need for customer service, but the function is becoming more integrated with the overall production workflow, she says. Agfa’s Delano product family is a case in point.

Designed for mid- to large-size commercial printers, Delano Production enables Web-based collaboration with clients. It gives users a birds-eye view of the entire operation—from preflight to finishing—with the ability to zoom-in to check the status of a particular task. The latest version generates JDF job tickets for use by Apogee and other open, PDF-based prepress systems and integrates with MIS solutions via JDF.

Growth in the capabilities and use of online systems is impacting the traditional role played by CSRs and blurring the lines that previously defined the production workflow, agrees Christine Krause, workflow product marketing manager at Creo Inc. The onus is being put on the customer to handle some tasks that had been considered part of the print supplier’s internal workflow, she explains. The impact can be dramatic, Krause adds, noting that one of Creo’s early adopter customers reportedly has been able to reduce its CSR staffing by a factor of 10.

The manufacturer recently released version 3.5.5 of its Synapse InSite prepress portal for remote job submission, proofing, workflow automation and job status reporting. Among the improvements are an updated file transfer engine that speeds uploads/download and support for third-party workflows. In addition, Synapse Prepare users now can upload files directly from their desktop application to the InSite server.

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