Workflows That Work Wonders

Whether the issue is tracking the status of 4,000 color images for a massive catalog or managing a vault of more than 100,000 images, text and fonts for a sophisticated prepress operation, the secret to success is securing an ingenious workflow.

If one word could describe the prepress fervor of 1997—the motivating factor in the development of sophisticated software tools for expediting everything from imposition to job ticketing—that word would be workflow.

Workflow, workflow, workflow—that was the single most effective, overused and yet understated buzz- word for 1997. Large commercial printers were implementing extensive technological investments to enhance prepress to postpress workflow, midsize commercial printers were exploring digital prepress technologies and the most competitive prepress houses were devoting extra hours to acquiring new digital asset management capabilities.

What a year for workflow!

Good news: Workflow management solutions designed to automate critical components of the page production process will continue to be high-profile players in 1998. Expect to see continued offerings and enhancements from the major prepress hardware players and front end software specialists.

From the expanding role of the server to the increasing demand for preflighting, imposition, trapping, image archiving and electronic job ticketing, the importance of a secure, sophisticated workflow is invaluable.

For purposes of this article, Printing Impressions is featuring two prepress workflow approaches, that of the Cabela’s catalog, printed at a variety of locations, and Neiman Marcus Direct (NM Direct) with prepress direction by R.R. Donnelley & Sons. Cabela’s uses MediaBank from Archetype, now a division of Bitstream. NM Direct relies on DataFlow from Cascade Systems to track all images and organize its digital infrastructure.

It needs to be mentioned that comprehensive workflow solutions offered by industry innovators the likes of Agfa Div., Bayer Corp., Creo, Fuji Photo Film USA, Gerber Systems, Heidelberg Prepress, Scitex and Screen (USA), are empowering prepress operations with a variety of digital front end enhancements, as are continued major contributions in workflow from Harlequin (look for coverage of Harlequin’s new EP2000 page-based workflow solution, which accepts PostScript, TIFF/IT-P1, EPS and PDF file input, in a future issue of Printing Impressions) and Shira Computers, which offer the Shira Jet Stream family—Jet Stream and Jet Stream Plus.

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