By Olivia Cahoon
Part 3 of 3
Workflow software is designed to automate processes throughout print production. Workflow solutions are available as OEM and third party for specific and generalized functions. Here, we highlight the latest in workflow tools for print providers.
Aleyant Systems offers tFLOW. It provides customer service, prepress automation, print project management, and proofing. tFLOW is available as Software as a service (SaaS) for $995 per month or self hosted for $14,995. Its targets printers and brokers and includes complete integration capability via API, JDF, or XML. tFLOW is browser-based and provides ease of use and automated proofing and approvals.
Areal-Media offers Sunpics powered by ADIGITALBOOK. Sunpics is a web to print (W2P) solution that offers customer relationship management (CRM), ecommerce, fonts, multiple currencies, payment gateways, product management, social media, and web services integration. It includes features that simplify the ordering process including color recognition, dimensions detection, face detection, and smart upload smart AutoFill. It is compatible on Linux, MAC, and Windows.
ArifiQ PRO Optimizer is a job onboarding tool with estimating, order placement, and production optimization functions. It’s designed for print providers performing ad-hoc and customizable jobs. ArifiQ PRO Optimizer integrates with W2P, management information systems (MIS), prepress, and production workflow. It manages custom quotes and jobs automatically without predefined templates or products needed. It delivers the job from customer to production workflow without touchpoints.
Aurigma’s Customer’s Canvas is an image composition engine and W2P editor. Targeting print providers, Customer’s Canvas can be integrated into third-party applications, any workflow, and with internal image libraries and digital asset management (DAM) systems. It offers support for templates created in Adobe Photoshop, VDP features, and 3D proofing.
Canon Solutions America offers the PRISMAdirect workflow management solution to streamline print production workflows from order intake through production management to reporting and accounting. It allows users to automate the preparation and production of similar jobs by using preprogrammed templates and includes a range of automation templates by default.
Crawford Technologies’ PRO Conductor is a command and control dashboard, providing visibility across the production workflow and enabling customers to build robust, automated workflow to handle any communication situation. PRO Conductor is designed for financial services, healthcare, insurance, publications, service bureaus, and utilities. It integrates with all electronic delivery solutions and operations to manage communication delivery workflows. Price varies based on solution.
DALIM ES 5.5 acts as a digital asset management, workflow automation, front-end review, and approval system. It automates prepress functions and integrates with imposition and RIP tools. DALIM ES is targeted to everyone in the supply chain from the printer to the brand owner. It works with any complementary third-party system including W2P and MIS via APIs, JDF/JMF support, and sharing files from hot folders.
The latest version of Estimator Cloud is an easy-to-use management system from cloud estimating to invoice. Its target audience is a three- to four-person shop to about 250 employees. Estimator Cloud operates as a standalone system or as an adjunct and allows nearly any employee to provide an accurate estimate with the customer’s profile built in. Market pricing technology provides printers with a detailed analysis of charges and profits generated. It includes bindery and finishing operations like folding and stitching.
Hybrid Software released CLOUDFLOW in 2013 as an automated production workflow for all types of packaging including corrugated, flexible packaging, folding carton, labels and tags, and large format. CLOUDFLOW is intended for all packaging printers and converters. It supports multiple production facilities and distributed assets. It contains a full set of connectors to integrate with any MIS or database. It is also bundled with the Harlequin Host Renderer from Global Graphics and sold directly to OEMs of digital presses. CLOUDFLOW is available for $25,000 to $75,000 depending on configuration and options.
Kodak’s Prinergy 8.1 is a page production hub for print-ready files. It’s designed for small to mid-market printers, integrating digital to offset production workflow. Prinergy features MIS driven JDF and/or XML.
The Konica Minolta AccurioPro Suite includes Conductor, Connect, Cloud Eye, Flux, and Label Impost. The suite handles all job processes from job submittal to finishing. It targets all print providers and includes integration capability connectors for accounting, color management, JDF workflow, JSON, preflight, and XML. Product features include advanced job routing, automated prepress, cloud hybrid deployment, color management support for traditional and digital workflows, LiveFlo Technology, and workflow scheduler.
Presswise by Smartsoft is an end-to-end print MIS and workflow solution. It’s designed as an alternative to purchasing independent modules of W2P, print production workflow management, print MIS, and mail preparation software. PressWise systems include unlimited W2P storefronts, print estimating and quoting tools, order management, production management, shipping and fulfillment, and mail processing.
Siteline for Label Traxx was released in April 2018 as a customer portal for order history, reordering products, and project management. It’s targeted toward label converters and is tied directly into Label Traxx MIS for automated order entry. Siteline features special customer collaboration tools to manage the complex projects that digital label converters face.
The latest version of Loftware’s Smartflow was released in December 2017. It is a configurable SaaS-based solution that facilitates clients of all sizes from small workgroups to global enterprises. Smartflow manages workflow from product concept throughout the entire business process. It is flexible and business user configurable to meet the specific needs of each customer. Smartflow offers complete product lifecycle management to encompass the complete business process.
Job Ticketing for PaperCut MF manages order submission including tracking and charging for specialty printing on one platform. It combines the on premise value of user authentication, security, and payment integrations with the cloud-based delivery of a customizable storefront for customer print rooms and 3D fabrication labs. It is available for $4,500 as an add-on to a PaperCut MF license.
The latest version of RICOH ProcessDirector provides control for print devices from multiple vendors including options for data preparation, composition, print-to-mail optimization, and multi-channel delivery. ProcessDirector is intended for production environments with digital devices. It integrates with AIX, composition software, imposition software, inserters, LDAP/AD secure log in, Linux, multi-channel delivery solutions, and Windows.
Rochester Software released WebCRD version 10.2 in March 2018. It serves as a W2P and MIS solution and is targeted toward in plants. WebCRD integration capabilities include single sign-on, accounting, shipping, and MIS integration. It works with dashboards, in-plant features, job submission and preview, MIS features, all production printers, and reporting. Pricing varies based on modules selected.
Screen Americas’ EQUIOUS ART & UX uses a single interface to automate job management including color management and imposition across multiple output devices. It manages and monitors jobs from a central dashboard. Job data is transmitted to any third-party MIS system via Job Messaging Format.
shopVOX Job Board and shopVOX Pro include features for job management, estimating, invoicing, CRM, and e-commerce. Both solutions target custom manufacturers and the sign and graphics industry.
Solimar Systems released Chemistry Platform in March 2014. It is a post-composition workflow intended for digital print environments. Chemistry Platform integrates through APIs, scripting, and hot folders. Pricing varies by solution requirements.
Xerox FreeFlow Core version 5.1 was released in December 2017. It is a workflow automation platform that automates and integrates the processing of print jobs from file preparation to final production for a touchless workflow. It’s designed for commercial organizations including commercial printers, copy shops, in plants, quick printers, specialty printers, service bureaus, and the graphic arts. FreeFlow Core includes a partner integration framework leveraging industry standards including hot folder, JDF/JMF, XSLT, and Xerox’ Manifest Automation from Xerox MAX interface. Pricing starts at $2,500 depending on product configuration.
Xitron Navigator provides input, preflight, RIP, color correction, and delivers to press. It targets high-speed inkjet presses with and without variable data. Xitron Navigator offers custom integration according to specification. It can drive traditional CTP with transition to digital and is available for MAC and PC clients. Price varies depending on output size and printhead configuration.
Automation at its Best
Based on digital output requirements, production workflow offers color management, automation, and customer billing. Currently, a range of workflow software solutions are available to fit many areas of the production process.
Jul2018, DPS Magazine