Digital Workflow -- Tools for the Trade
As a "workflow manager," FlightCheck Workflow is used to create an automatic task management process that looks inside a native application file to sort, filter, categorize and route each file, based on its elements, to the appropriate prepress path. The package includes more than 300 pre-defined Rules and Scripts, as well as a library of layout templates. Hot folders, Checkpoints and Actionpoints allow the user to create both simple and complex layouts that are designed to keep jobs running through the prepress operation and to maximize press productivity.
Clearly, FlightCheck Workflow is just one digital soldier in an army of software technologies positioning to make a dent in CIM deployment.
Whether the target is Networked Graphic Production—the JDF-based initiative fueled originally by Creo and now expanded to include the participation of nearly two dozen companies including MAN Roland and Xerox, or CIP4-related initiatives that push the bounds of digitizing print tasks, it's clear that a truly "intelligent" and quite possibly "intuitive" workflow that delivers automation is the quest for today's printing community.
Are we there yet? With automated preflighting, page preparation and integrated workflows, the printing industry continues to move away from skilled staff positions to a manufacturing workflow. As in many industries, this means reliance on software- and database-driven solutions. Workflows utilizing software that is configurable to a printer's needs means faster and more accurate data preparation, as David Glover, president of S&G Partners, explains.
"Many in the printing industry have the same goal of ink on paper, but the devil is in the details. If some of the tasks, especially preflighting, page preparation, file organization and proofing can be automated—while at the same time specifying 'shop standards'—overall internal processes and interaction with customers can be more cost-effective," Glover states. "The tools are available to accomplish many of these tasks, while maintaining or (usually) improving the quality of product internally for the printer and externally for the customer. Many of these tools have very quick ROIs if evaluation and project execution are well thought out."