Leveraging Process Integration in a Hybrid Environment Leads to Profitability, Productivity
In addition to the customer benefits this integration delivers, Modern Litho has achieved significant internal efficiencies. The company was able to take on 50 new publications in 2013 and experienced revenue growth in excess of 25 percent, all without the need to add prepress staff. In addition, costs have been substantially reduced, delivering a healthy bottom line for the printer.
With implementations like that at Modern Litho, not only is there automation in the world of offset, but true automated hybrid production also becomes a possibility. In a hybrid scenario, prepress workflow software routes jobs processed through a Web-to-print or MIS solution to the most appropriate and cost-effective devices, whether offset or digital, as shown in the diagram below.
Single Point of Entry
Jim Tomblinson, Modern Litho's vice president of operations, says this type of integration benefits his company because it gives him "the ability to have a single point of entry for a hybrid workflow."
Modern Litho also runs its Web-to-print software through its prepress workflow, which ensures that submitted jobs end up with the correct impositions based on press format. The integrated workflow also means digitally printed jobs can go straight to a digital press' digital front end (DFE).
This type of integrated workflow environment doesn't just make current day operations easier, it can help a company eliminate growing pains as it adds other companies or equipment. Tomblinson says the integrated workflow is helping Modern Litho work through two acquisitions, "and will make it easier for us to add new equipment and services over time."
An efficient hybrid workflow creates a single workflow management system for offset and digital printing, and can also incorporate wide-format. Print professionals can process, print and track jobs using a common interface. A single workflow can route jobs to the appropriate printing device based on a number of considerations, including run length, sheet size, turnaround time, substrate and finishing. Many prepress steps can also be automated. For example, a printing operation can impose a job on-the-fly as it is redirected to a particular press.