A JDF Success Story — Waldman
Not many printing companies are able to hire a director of technology. With 350 employees and annual sales approaching $85 million, Williamson Printing in Dallas is big enough to have Novak, director of technology, help bring them into the new world of JDF automation. But the size and diversity of Williamson also adds to the complexity of JDF implementation and necessitates a well-managed, professional approach.
First, Williamson has six “sister” companies as they call it. Williamson Printing, the main company, possesses a great variety of specialties and is loaded with equipment. Its sheetfed pressroom features three 12-color presses, one 16-unit press and an eight-color press. All are 40˝ or 41˝ Heidelberg models with some featuring various coating abilities. Add to this four webs and a complete bindery, and there isn’t much that they can’t do when it comes to offset printing.
Williamson Express Printing produces on-demand digital printing, including variable data work. The other divisions cover the gamut from fulfillment, financial and legal printing, hand assembly and, well you name it, they probably can do it. Plus they’re on an international scale with a presence in many countries throughout the world, through its Williamson International subsidiary.
Find a Starting Point
Moving all of this into JDF in one stroke would be a rather daunting and probably unsuccessful task. So the approach was to first focus on the main company. Prepress is a great place to start and most major suppliers of prepress workflow systems are JDF-enabled. However, Novak threw me a bit of a curve. He spoke very enthusiastically, not so much about a specific prepress company, but about an individual with whom I should have been more familiar. Rohan Holt pioneered the computerization of job planning and is the original inventor of SuperImpose. It was renamed UpFront after being acquired by ScenicSoft in 1999. Later, ScenicSoft became part of Creo, which was acquired by Kodak. So UpFront is now a Kodak product. Got all that!