How an Increased Automation Level in Production Led to Company Growth
How can production throughput be increased, while at the same time increasing the quality of print data? Ripon, Wis.-based Ripon Printers, one of the major printing companies in the U.S. providing catalogs, publications, manuals, and soft-cover educational products, is a best-practice example of how print production processes can be automated successfully by implementing workflow automation software.
Ripon Printers began in 1962 when the company printed and published newspapers. Over the years, Ripon was able to grow into a commercial printing firm with an annual turnover of more than $50 million. Since 2005, Ripon Printers has continuously automated its production workflow with the implementation of OneVision (Booth 11553) software solutions.
“The aim was to profit from an even higher level of automation, and increase our throughput,” says Mike Thorson, prepress manager at Ripon Printers.
Asked whether it was difficult to implement OneVision solutions into existing process and system landscapes, Thorson explains, “From a ‘working together’ standpoint with our workflow, it was very easy. We had some basic profiles working within the first couple of days. That said, it does take a while to develop an understanding of all the options. There are literally hundreds of choices you can make when setting up a workflow. However, once you get started, it builds upon itself and becomes easier and quicker to create new processes.”
The software itself sits as middleware between the MIS and the RIP/DFE. Jobs and files get transmitted from the MIS to OneVision’s workflow management system workspace through connectors. Unique functions — such as metadata-based filtering, sorting, and routing of files — process these files automatically. With an extensive set of functions such as preflighting, color management, transparency flattening, bleed generation, imposition, ink saving, and more, the software outputs print-ready, error-free PDFs.
In case of Ripon Printers, the software enabled the company to focus more closely on issues like RIPing, trapping, and automatic imposition. “We have been able to continue to grow as a company, while reducing needed staff in prepress,” says Thorson.
Under the terms of the maintenance contract, Ripon Printers regularly receives new updates for its software licenses, and can therefore take advantage of new functions and developments. The company also benefits from the support provided by the U.S.-based team of the Germany-headquartered software manufacturer.
Although Ripon Printers generally needs little support, it occasionally discovers problem files, “for which OneVision support has pretty much always been able to give us a way to work with whatever we have been sent,” Thorson says. “When we initially purchased OneVision Asura Access and Solvero Access software in 2005, one of my employees asked ‘Why would we waste so much money on a piece of software?’ After using OneVision Asura Access and Solvero Access for approximately one year, the same employee declared ‘This is the best software we have ever purchased.’”