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Lessening the Hype of JDF

(June 2005) posted on Fri Jun 03, 2005

Orlando VUE/Point Conference stresses workflow, variable data, and more.

click an image below to view slideshow

By Gregory Sharpless, Stephen Beals

Other VDP pointers:

  • Design has become more crucial to
    Minnick's operation as a result of VDP, he
    said, "Because if a customer delivers a
    design and says, 'We want to do this,'
    but the design doesn't work, we have to
    redesign it in-house to accommodate
    the VDP."
  • "Once you have a customer's data
    from one VDP job, they will rarely take that
    data"?or those jobs"?elsewhere," said Tim
    Tyler, manager of DocuLink International.
  • The most successful VDP jobs are
    the most creative jobs, said David
    Rosenquist, president of Creative Type.
  • Keep in mind that some VDP software
    is geared to larger jobs and operations,
    while some VDP software is
    geared toward smaller jobs and operations.
    There is no need to over-buy.

Loving' that RGB

At the "How I Learned to Love RGB" session,
there were clearly some naysayers
in the audience who opined that RGB color
management was more myth than reality.
The panelists however, strongly maintained
that an RGB workflow can indeed
lead to great efficiencies without sacrificing
quality and control.

In fact, they agreed that an RGB workflow
allows greater control over color
rather than less. Although color retouching
with RGB files did require operator
retraining and some operators have trouble
making the transition, they said, their
own experience was that once operators
became comfortable working with RGB,
they preferred that color space. Panelists
also pointed out that many retouching
techniques can be done only in RGB.


These points on a variety of topics
stirred some interest:

  • Sales: Dave Harding, CEO of SPG
    Graphics, advocated that shops should
    have customer focus groups to get their
    input as to what services to offer. In
    addition, he said, in-person visits to
    clients are invaluable when it comes to
    ensuring that your clients know the
    entire range of services you offer. Don't
    leave it up to marketing materials, no
    matter how good these may be.

  • Adding technologies: When it
    comes to bringing on additional digital
    profit centers, one way to determine
    which digital technologies to take on is
    to evaluate how it will "solve customer
    pain," as one panelist said, in the "Transitioning
    to Digital" session.

  • "Soft" printing aspects: When looking
    at which print shop to contract with
    for jobs, said Charles Richard, Kodak's
    director of imaging services, he often
    analyzes the "soft" sides of printing, not
    just the printing numbers themselves.
    In the "What's Driving Print Customers"
    session, he pointed out that a US print
    company now does a job Richard had
    previously sourced from China because
    the US company researched the entire
    job"?not just the printing itself"?and
    showed him how he would save on shipping
    and other costs that weren't quite
    so apparent.

  • Fulfillment: Considering taking on
    fulfillment as well as the actual output
    of a job? Be wary, said Al Kennickell,
    president of Kennickell Print, in the
    "What Kind of Business" session. His
    company is now storing and shipping a
    variety of items for clients, including
    leather bomber jackets, air purifiers,
    and more. As a result, he's had to look
    closely at insurance issues and costs,
    and add extra space to handle larger
    items like these.

  • PDF: In the "PDF Today" session,
    Benson Young with Knight Abbey Printing
    indicated that it's sometimes a good
    thing when clients believe that your
    shop is the only one that "can do the
    magic" when it comes to delivering PDF
    files. If clients feel that they can do their
    own PDFs or any other shop can deliver
    PDFs, they won't see your shop as so
    integral to their own operation. In addition,
    he said, using a PDF workflow will
    only save you time if you only have to
    deal with a customer file once; if you
    have a lot of back-and-forth to adjust
    and correct a customer-provided PDF
    file, you're not truly saving any time.

  • Finally, one of our favorite audience
    quotes: "We don't call our prepress
    department 'prepress' anymore"?we
    call them 'forensics'.