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  • Is Your Business Synced?

    By Noel Ward, Editor@Large

    Many printers I talk with say they worry that some jobs may be handled without the attention to detail they claim is part of their company culture. Ensuring that such care is taken is not always an easy task, especially once a job leaves prepress and lands in production. Sooner or later, almost every print business owner I talk with shares tales of how colors have been wrong, how press operator time per job is more than expected while press uptime and reliability is less than expected, all of which show up on the bottom line. Raise your hand if any of this sounds even a little bit familiar.

    Most shops I talk with have made what turns out being unnecessary service calls, usually around press performance and color quality. Showing up as press downtime, these are often traceable to infrequent calibration and profiling. Talking with operators, it’s not uncommon to hear they don’t like calibrating or profiling a press, claiming it’s too hard or too time-consuming. This is not exactly a shock, and business owners or production managers often admit operators are not always managed in ways that encourage or ensure that presses are routinely calibrated and profiled for the various media. Ironically, these basic steps are often avoided even though most modern digital presses have streamlined these processes so they can be part of the daily start-up process. Go figure.

    Some of this is a downside of digital printing: many modern digital presses, once calibrated, can run for several shifts without needing calibration or profiling, so it is easy for an operator to skip these steps. The problem though, is that color can drift and slip out of spec over time or when a substrate is changed.

    Business intelligence
    Solving this requires a new level of “business intelligence,” which is what Version 6 of Canon’s PRISMAsync brings to the shop floor—and the owner’s office. It’s worth a close look for anyone chasing consistent, predictable performance from a digital press and its operators.

    There are a lot of unique capabilities with PRISMAsync, which is a Print Controller for Canon’s production color and monochrome digital presses, and I’m not getting into all those details here. The many features available cover a host of job controls, workflow management and color management processes including G7® calibration and embedded color profiling, but Version 6 also offers up business intelligence on how your presses are being utilized so you can monitor productivity and performance over time. You can learn more about the new color management features of PRISMAsync Version 6 in the recently published PODi video product briefing, and a PODi video (http://www.podi.org/Canon-PRISMAsync...-Briefing.html), and also in a previous Print Planet article.

    PRISMAlytics Dashboard
    The key to this is PRISMAlytics, a dashboard that shows business owners, production managers and press operators a graphical analysis and supporting data for the performance of every connected PRISMAsync-driven Canon press on the floor.

    Using cloud-based reporting, intelligence on the PRISMAlytics dashboard is easily accessed and shows historical information on print engine utilization, errors encountered, maintenance time, print volumes, media used, and more. This can help in managing and optimizing workloads and understanding what actions can be taken to further improve productivity and quality. PRISMAlytics data can be examined for any period a user requires, such as per shift, per day, per week or month or longer. When viewed in aggregate, such as for a month, it is easy to spot trends over time—such as slow and high volume periods, the types of events that may trigger shifts in performance, and how often a press is calibrated or profiled.

    The latter point can be especially important as a way of monitoring and improving print quality. For example, a machine that isn’t regularly calibrated may be subject to color variation, which could result in increased waste and downtime. But knowing this, management can encourage or require operators to calibrate presses at the beginning of every shift, which only takes a few minutes with the streamlined embedded color calibration and profiling process of PRISMAsync, rather than having the press be down for what may be unnecessary troubleshooting or a service call that hijacks uptime.

    The bottom line of PRISMAlytics is a high value tool that can help improve a printer’s bottom line. It provides clear business intelligence by extracting press data that is not available any other way. It helps business owners identify and act on utilization opportunities and provides a basis for taking corrective and tracking the impact of these decisions. And, because it is built on the proven foundation of PRISMAsync, these new analytics give business owners a powerful tool that provides actionable information about their operations to help them optimize their production and get the most out of their investment. The PODi video product briefing also contains an overview of the PRISMAlytics dashboard (http://www.podi.org/Canon-PRISMAsync...-Briefing.html).
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