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Magazine print shops

Production specifics

A magazine is, in other words, a periodical or serial publication. It is usually published within specified time limits, under the same title with serial numbering. It includes specified graphic design, usually fixed volume and format. The content includes articles on specified subject from many authors, however their language versions and regional mutations may vary.

Substrates used for printing of magazines are offset paper and coated paper, which are printed on using letterpress, offset and gravure printing. In order to enrich and make the appearance more interesting, various enhancements are applied.

Problems and Challenges

The magazines market is very competitive, in order to be recognised on the market an interesting and excited content as well as aesthetic and eye catching look are needed.  Moreover, large parts of periodicals are used by adverts. Some of them are the main source of the publisher's income. For maintaining the advertising account it is extremely important to well align the publishing and production processes ensuring timely edition of the magazine.

The magazine publishing is a complex process covering both substantive and technical preparation. Due to its complexity there are few entities implementing all the stages of publishing and technological processes. The substantive and production preparation or finishing processes are performed by separate enterprises or are ordered from cooperating firms. Integration and aligning in time of all the processes is a big challenge for the persons engaged in the whole publishing undertaking.

Solution

The solutions offered by INFOSYSTEMS include the whole publishing process from preparation and planning through verification and standardisation of PDF (PDF/X) files and document distribution system to delivery of materials to the print shops and support of technological processes.

PuzzleFlow Publisher (Publishing Service System), PrintManager (CRM - Client Relations Management module, PLM - Product Lifecycle Management, PP - Preplanning, JA - working time registering module, WMS - Warehouse Management System, SA - sales, BI - strategic analysis) + WebClient - www order and storage processes supporting module.

The Publisher contains a complete set of the PuzzleFlow tools and a PDF documents flow system designed especially for the requirements of publishing preparation. The system enables work in editorial teams, simplifies and verifies graphic designers work. Delivery of documents to the central system is easy and enables location of errors at an early stage. Each user may concentrate on its own tasks while monitoring the progress of works over the whole edition. Thanks to the planning options, active editorial order outline option and acceptance of pages with the preview and the possibility of changing comments the system offers a unique possibility of cooperation within editorial office and the whole publishing house, integrating the particular sections and external customers.

From the chief editor’s or the production manager positions Publisher enables control over the whole process. It includes the key issues such as: timely delivery of pages and advertisements for publishing, notification on exceeding or on approaching deadlines for sending, materials completeness, proper files conversion results as well as ensuring that the print shop receives undamaged files.

The system supports an advanced model of authorisations allowing for simultaneous printing, control and delivery in the whole publishing house, taking into account confidentiality of data critical for business.

The PrintManager system is a modular system supporting printing company management. The system enables registering of any crucial information for operation efficiency, its processing and making it available to the authorised persons. The system supports implementation of processes in the company, helps in following the required procedures by imposing order and standardising work of all its users. The system configuration is flexible enough to allow for covering and modelling not only the production processes in the system but also for graphic projects performance, marketing activities, complaints processes and any other processes with established procedure – e.g. related with implementation of quality systems procedures obligatory in the company.

From the print shop employees’ point of view, implementation of the PrintManager system enhances work organisation, improves information flow, automates the repeatable operations. For the management board, system implementation guarantees compliance with the chosen procedures, ensures control over the employees’ activities, gives access to indices informing about effectiveness of performed actions.

Support of the basic areas of company operation

Publishing processes support, Customer service, Sales, Finances, Warehouse are the basic areas of a company operation. The Publisher and the PrintManager system offer their support using the ContactManager, ProductManager, Sales and WarehouseManager modules.

The Publisher contains a complete set of the PuzzleFlow tools and a PDF documents flow system designed especially for the specifics of publishing preparation. The system enables work in editorial teams, simplifies and verifies graphic designers work. Delivery of documents to the central system is easy and enables location of errors at an early stage. Each user may concentrate on its own tasks while monitoring the progress of works over the whole edition. Thanks to the planning options, active editorial order outline option and acceptance of pages with the preview and the possibility of changing comments the system offers a unique possibility of cooperation within editorial office and the whole publishing house, integrating the particular sections and external customers.

The ContactManager is a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) class module used for gathering information on customers, for document management and work organising in the form of projects. It can be used for modelling and control of any processes performed in a company, enforcing specified operations on the users. The ContactManager module includes also a set of Document Management System functions: enables registering the documents created in the company, following changes made in these documents and controlling the documents versions.

The SalesAssistant is the module responsible for support of  sales in the PrintManager system. The module allows for registering sales documents related with the production orders for customers. The system integration results in forwarding most of data from other modules which significantly simplifies work with SA module. The module also enables registering purchase invoices and settlement of invoice. The SA module is open to integration with many popular finance and accounting systems. Itis its significant feature which additionally enhances information flow in a company and automates the implemented processes.

The warehouse is serviced using the WarehouseManager module. The module offers complex management services for numerous physical and logical warehouses. The system may serve many companies and the number of serviced warehouse documents covers the scope of each print shop warehouse operation in 100%. The warehouse enables full identification of products including identification of orders (production batches) from which comes a product available at the warehouse.

Technical preparation of production

The ProductManager module is used for description of production technology in the PrintManager system. It is a Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) class module supporting the user from the moment of preparing a quotation through automatic generation of offers, placing orders to generating job orders. Production technology is already initially specified during calculation and the production costs are estimated then. Upon establishing the final performance technology the estimated production costs are recalculated before commencement of production which helps in locating works of lower profitability even before their execution and allows for earlier reaction. Automatic calculation of the sheet format and control of minimum and maximum machines formats significantly decreases the number of errors made by the user.

Production Planning

Optimisation of orders is a necessary condition for increasing the production profitability. The ProductionPlanner module gives the possibility of automatic planning for the whole order or manually for singular operations. Control of substrate levels for an order as well as possibility of interference in the technology by dividing operations, change of a machine or change in the number of servicing staff makes a perfect tool for production management. Production planning covering operations in cooperation provides for additional information necessary for keeping the time limits agreed with the customer.

PrePress

The PrintManager system automates calculation of printing forms use and also enables automatic addition of imaging operations for registration of plate use and of work time per order in the JobAcquisitor module. Taking into account the print form durability while evaluating the use and time of additional equipment of the machine allow for cost control of preparing the job for print. The solution enables prepress processes optimisation by adjusting them to the production plans, notwithstanding whether the tools are made in the print shop or at the subcontractors. The system also provides effective register of prepress processes costs regardless of the method of their processing.

Press

In the JobAcquisitor module, print operators have access to technological details regarding the performed operations. The module allows for registration of work in real time while processing the production order leading to more efficient organisation and work control. The machines operators also have the possibility of reporting the errors and breaks in production occurring during the production process.

PostPress

The JobAcquisitor module enables registration of production operations by the operators in accordance with the technology path specified in the order. Registration of any parameters for operation is possible using the module. Automatic counting of operation time depending on the number of personnel adjusts operation to the given production shift.

Using the module in the confection process allows for verification of the number of substrate quantity reported by the printers and use it for example to specify the remuneration in case of appropriate remuneration systems.

Management Board

All the modules of the PrintManager system collect ongoing data regarding work of the particular employees and sections then added into the central data warehouse which apart from the PrintManager system may aggregate information from any other information solutions used in the company allowing for creation of precise multilayer strategic analyses. The BI module helps in precise accounting and checking profitability of orders with many finished products combined on one printing sheet.

Solution Advantages

Publishing processes – Publisher

  • The Production Planning system enables covering substantive scope of publication and assigning persons responsible for content creation and graphic look of various pages or blocks
  • The initial verification of works making a series of automatic tests to a document generated in the graphic program which reveal the errors in material conversion or its inconsistency with the technical specification
  • Verification and correction of files, page geometry adjustment, colour management system with the option of ink saving, technologically advanced trapping and rendering module with full support of transparency and overprint
  • Efficient and suitable communication and teamwork coordination
  • Application of a unique method enabling independent operation of editorial and advertising teams
  • Files transmission to a print shop may cause problems related to passwords submission, complex names and file paths. In the system in which each minute counts, and any error may cost a lot, one has to trust the information system. The Publisher ensures that files reach their proper destination, in proper version and on time. Their compatibility with the system originals will be additionally confirmed
  • The Publisher maps the true colours and layout both on proofing devices and on the screen. With its own rendering engine the document interpretation and its mapping truly reflect the final output of the printing sheet
  • The Publisher provides a wide range of output options in PDF format compatible with these devices, optimal in terms of dimensions and soon also in other digital formats

Production processes – PrintManager

  • The PrintManager system enforces compliance with the accepted procedures and implementation of a set of significant information which is particularly important during production of magazines when multilateral agreements are necessary before commencement of production
  • All events in the system are assigned to a user and have creation date which helps in reconstruction of history of any process, in management and ongoing control of many parallel processes
  • Description of performance technology in the PrintManager system may have gradually increasing level of detail, from the initial technology description in calculation to detailed description of single operations parameters  on a Process Chart
  • The system includes the possibility of modelling and controlling any process – from approval of graphic design to ISO or GMP Quality Standards procedures.
  • All data and documents are saved on the server which increases their safety – data gathered in one place simplifies archiving and it is also easier to protect it against access of unauthorised persons.
  • The PrintManager system is based on the stable, reliable solutions of Microsoft company and therefore cooperates well with the Office software and any administrator familiar with the Microsoft solutions can manage it.
  • The client-server architecture and modular construction makes the system scalable – i.e. it is easily adjustable to the company of any size and development of the system does not require exchange of the system server, purchase of singular modules is sufficient.

Implementation Benefits

  • Possible integration of all publishing and production processes
  • Reduction of time needed for verification, standardisation and delivery of files to the print shop through full automation of the process from DTP work station to print shop
  • Preparation process standardisation simplifies preparation of documents of pages and advertisements, allows for concentrating on contents instead of the technical aspects;
  • Centralised communication system between teams and advertisements suppliers allows for exchange of information and approval as well as full monitoring of the material preparation process and responsibility
  • The printing production costs reduction while maintaining high quality by using ink usage optimization, ink coverage analysis mechanisms, tools for digital trapping generation
  • Reduction of the amount of used material during proofing – by hard proofs optimisation or total eliminating of printouts using soft-proofing system on the calibrated screens;
  • Planning system reduces costs related to creation of separate planning standards for each editorial office and enables following production progress as well as the ongoing status within the publishing time and budget limitations.
  • Implementation of effective production planning methods taking into account availability of materials
  • Improvement of information flow inside the company
  • Standardisation of working and data recording methods
  • Factual enforcement of observance of key procedures