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Job-Submission Software for Today's Workflow

(June 2003) posted on Tue Jun 24, 2003

Recognizes that not all incoming jobs are ready to print

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An article entitled, "Computerizing Customer Service" in the July/August issue of The Big Picture looks at some possible long-term business benefits of implementing online job-submission capabilities, such as opportunities for content management and the procurement of related services. It sounds good on paper, but in actuality this long-range view seems to be light years ahead of how work is currently performed in the real world. For instance, considering how many different types of software are currently used to create documents for print, the vision of achieving a "one-touch workflow" with minimal human intervention sounds pretty utopian.

Here are a few products that take some of today's less-than-ideal, real-life scenarios into account while making it easier for your shop to efficiently process a higher number of multiple short-run jobs while reducing the costs and delays using courier services.

Unlimi-Tech's DocTera: For customers who don't want to use a third-party FTP prorgram, Unlimi-Tech Software offers DocTera, a JAVA-based file submission and job-management solution for the print industry. When customers submit their creative files for output, they can also enter specific job requirements such as quantity, type of paper, and delivery date.

"DocTera provides graphic designers, artists and office personnel with a single and powerful tool to interact with a print shop," said Unlimi-Tech president John Tkaczewski. "It's very easy to use and requires no prior knowledge of FTP."

To submit an order, customers simply visit the print provider's website and click on "Upload Files." This then launches DocTera in the viewer's Web browser where the customer logs in with a username and password. At this point, the customer fills out an html form detailing the requirements of the job. Creative files can then be uploaded using the file-upload applet embedded in DocTera. After data is verified and the creative files are uploaded, both the print shop and customer are sent e-mails confirming job details.

At the print shop, uploaded files are stored in a folder that already has a job-ticket number. Because the job details and artwork are stored in the same sub-folder, it eliminates guesswork on the part of the printer operator. DocTera has no restriction on the number of files that can be sent or on file sizes and can send files through any type of Internet connection. (Unlimi-tech Software: