CIM In Action -- Awaiting the Big Payoff
Open standards seem to be a sore spot for some users, including Wells. "What is frustrating for me, as a whole, is everyone claiming to use open standards and saying we're JDF compliant," he says. "What I find is that within their workflow, everything is using, say the PrintTalk JDF standard or CIP4 standard. But on the front or back of the workflow, or in between, you just can't feed in a JDF/PrintTalk-compliant file that was generated somewhere else and have the system actually pick it up and send it through. I think it's a bit misleading. It's all compliant in the middle, but it's not open on the front or on the back."
That's where people seem to be moving now, he adds. "Companies like ours, with two solutions that already are working great, don't want to have to recreate the front end. If we put in an overall system, we want to be able to pump things in from the system that we currently have in place and have it picked up and brought through the rest of the (production) scenario."
The fact that the integration has its shortcomings is lost in a sea of positives for Wells. He points out the ROI has been double on the digital side. By reducing its own costs and passing savings on to customers, concepts such as a print run of 10 or less are no longer unfathomable because of setup costs.
At Japs-Olson, all preset information is being sent to its presses for ink key presets. The information travels one way; Japs-Olson has written its own direct machine interface to get production feedback from the shop floor.
"We get important feedback from the floor in terms of how our production is doing," Murphy relates, "so we're able to track materials much more closely in terms of paper usage and waste. We're getting a lot more information back in terms of productivity, production status, etc."