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Taking the Job Ticket Digital

April 1999
The purpose of an electronic job ticket is to convey information relative to the production of a print job. Simple, yet complex, these virtual managers may offer a few surprises—but they won't replace the paper trail, just yet.


The electronic job ticket is not a practical replacement for the existing paper system. Odd but true. It is impossible to carry the electronic job ticket around a printing plant for continuous reference, as required during setup and the actual run.

Clearly, then, the electronic job ticket has significant advantages over the time-honored paper system, when it comes to updating critical information. In this respect, today's digital job ticket renders the more mundane, yet well-proven, paper trail a bit obsolete.

"It's impractical to think that an employee at a busy commercial printing company can just view the electronic job ticket and be able to complete complex operations on any given print job without referring back to the job ticket several times," admits Dennis Stroud, vice president of sales and marketing at Norwalk, CT-based Programmed Solutions. "This is why investing in a printer and a monitor to view the electronic job ticket throughout the production process deserves serious consideration."

Question: Do today's commercial printers embrace electronic job tickets, implement that technology successfully into their established print production workflows—and best utilize electronic job tickets for continuous tracking of prepress, press and postpress productivity?

First, a commercial printer must frame its investigation of electronic job ticketing technologies around its current print production requirements, Stroud advises. The printer should stack and rank each of its print production parameters, then comprise a list of realistic objectives with which the shop can live. He offers the following suggestions for those commercial printers deliberating whether or not to take the electronic job ticketing plunge:

  • Keep in mind that the electronic job ticket is not a practical replacement for any existing paper system. Implementation of the electronic job ticket must be combined with the commercial printing operation's inherent need for actual, printed, operating instructions.

  • Don't get stuck on the past; just because a new, digital system may not track print production exactly the way an existing, more traditional, system tracks it, do not dismiss the new model. The result may be a better print production tracking system, combining both electronic ticketing with paper records.

  • Don't get caught up in the glitter and glamour of the "bells and whistles" featured with some electronic job ticketing solutions. Make life easy: Concentrate on the practical applications, the most basic and logical needs that exist in any given print production environment for the electronic job ticket. Get those needs addressed—then opt for bells and whistles, if desired.



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