JUSTIFICATION FOR CTP — Streamline Your Production

One persistent problem that plagues the graphic arts industry is the lack of trained employees. Your electronic prepress department staff must become proficient in running a totally digital network. To fully integrate all the available digital services, you need people who are well versed in IT (information technologies).

Let’s face it—all these services run on computers and most are not Mac-based. The first order of business should be to hire or outsource qualified IT personnel. You really need a person you can count on to grow your internal network.

If you have good people in place already, perhaps some additional training is all that is needed. Salespeople who work for various CTP vendors can be an additional source for information. However, don’t let them dictate your needs.

Does anyone remember the early ’80s and all the million-dollar CEPS systems and the huge lease payments that accompanied them? Today, printers have a wide choice of CTP manufacturers that sell some really good products. Don’t base your deal on financing, though.

You need to educate yourself by attending the many different industry events available, and you need to use the staff you pay every week. Make it their responsibility to inform you about what’s going on in the industry.

If your company has experienced a slowdown (as most have), have your digital staffers do the research and provide you with some information about integrating these new technologies. Together, the ownership and the staff should seek out some IT expertise to determine the best fit for your company.

Most CTP systems now use either NT, 2000 or UNIX as the OS platforms to run their software. When your systems crash—and they will—95 percent of the time its cause can be traced to an OS or network topology problem. If you do not have a staff that understands these different operating systems and basic networking skills, you are captive to the $300-per-hour field service support, which the platesetter manufacturers are happy to provide.

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