"Traditionally, the only way to capture more business when demand is shrinking has been to emphasize lower prices," he continues. "These customer engagement models provide another way."
Mills Davis, managing director of Project 10X, believes value chain integration is key to the concept of a digital smart factory. "A focus on process integration promises huge benefits to the industry—up to 10 times improvement in performance in some cases," Davis says. While noting that significant barriers remain, he claims the "shared resource architecture promises a new process platform with dramatically better lifecycle economics that benefit all value chain participants."
Tim Daisy, CIM product manager at Printcafe, contends that a number of benefits can be realized through systems integration with suppliers, including increased accuracy of physical inventory, the opportunity for just-in-time purchasing and reduced inventory costs.
Getting back to the foundation of the digital smart factory, a comprehensive briefing on the current and anticipated future status of the Job Definition Format (JDF) standard was presented by Dr. Rainer Prosi, CIP4 technical chairman and senior software architect at Heidelberger Druckmaschinen AG. According to Dr. Prosi, the next version of JDF (JDF 1.2) is now in preparation, with an anticipated publication date of late 2003. In this update, he says the standards group is addressing the interface between the customer and the printer, and between MIS and production, as well as prepress, press and postpress enhancements. (www.smartfactory.org)
Heidelberg and Danka Expand Partnership
KENNESAW, GA—Heidelberger Druckmaschinen AG (Heidelberg) and Danka Business Systems PLC announced a series of agreements designed to expand the presence each has in the digital print marketplace and to further meet the needs of their digital customers.
The named parties include Heidelberg USA, Danka and NexPress Solutions LLC (a development and manufacturing joint venture of Heidelberg and Kodak).
Included is a multi-year distribution agreement that enables Danka to continue direct sales of the branded Heidelberg Digimaster product family worldwide. Also, a cooperative marketing agreement gives Heidelberg USA and Danka more direct access to each other's digital product portfolios. Lastly, a cooperative service arrangement enables Heidelberg to extend its service geographies in the U.S. by outsourcing service to Danka's nationwide technical services organization. (www.heidelberg.com/ www.danka.com)