Distribute-and-Print--Linking Presses to Profits
"There are a number of issues that might not be apparent immediately when developing a global
distribute-and-print strategy," adds Marc Orchant, market development manager for Agfa's U.S. Digital Printing Systems group. "Back office issues like currency conversion, consolidated billing and prompt payment to providers, along with technical issues like varying substrate availability and language and character sets, all need to be considered."
Resolving these issues and developing a real-time software solution that will work for Chromapress customers around the world posed a hefty challenge to Agfa in the conception of PrintCast. Agfa defines PrintCast sites as "Print Sellers" and "Print Providers."
A PrintCast Print Seller receives a job from a customer, which will be printed by a PrintCast Print Provider. Using the PrintCast Web site, the seller provides a description of the job and when and where it must be delivered to the PrintCast hub facility in Wilmington, MA. Jobs are not transmitted directly between Chromapress locations. In fact, there is virtually no need for direct communication between sites.
For example, let's say a job originating in New York is going to be printed in London. If the London Chromapress site closest to where the customer needs the job delivered would be unable to fit the
job into its schedule, the next closest site would be utilized. The finished product is delivered to the customer.
Once the print schedule and receiving site have been determined, all jobs are routed through the PrintCast hub facility. There the file is test-printed on a Chromapress to ensure it will print correctly at its final destination. This level of quality control is critical for the types of jobs expected to run through the PrintCast network.
"One of the most challenging aspects of distribute-and-print operations is ensuring print quality throughout the process," Duval states. "By using centralized file-checking and test-printing, Agfa can help ensure customer satisfaction with the final printed pages."