Buy it or Build It? - That is the Question

JohnHemsley

Well-known member
Re: Buy it or Build It? - That is the Question

In terms of workflows I guess it all depends on what you want to achieve and your budget.

Regards, John.
 

tgreer

Well-known member
Re: Buy it or Build It? - That is the Question

It would help if you could define what "it" is.
 

G_Town

Well-known member
Re: Buy it or Build It? - That is the Question

What's cheaper?

It's not always what's the best fit but about the bottom line.
 

detric_1

New member
Re: Buy it or Build It? - That is the Question

The best fit makes the bottom line, not the other way around. Going cheap is so short sighted that it sounds like our customers.

For years we've collectively been complaining about how customers simply pick printers by price, price, price, but when it comes to our own purchases, we do the same thing? I don't think so.

Use the right tool for the job, and give your employee's the tools they need to do that job. Give your customer the best product you can.

With that, I believe that it's almost always a "build your own" type of situation, but you're still buying a Kodak/Esko/Artwork/Rampage system. You need to take what the vendors offer and tune it to your situation. The brains behind the system are what make it truly unique.

Dave
 

G_Town

Well-known member
Re: Buy it or Build It? - That is the Question

Apparently you've never worked for a company where money was extremely tight and the best fit was out of your price range.

Good position to be in I suppose.

You said it, price price price IS the holy grail, customers no longer care that you have the latest nifty new ctp, proofer , blaa, blaa, blaa etc...they want it cheap and now.

If you are dealing with such tight margins how can you justify spending say 30 thousand cheeseburgers when you can buy a solution (although maybe not as robust and as good a fit) for 15 thousand cheesburgers? Is it short sighted to buy what you can afford?

I personally know of several printers using only ai and a cheap rip, are they wrong because they don't have the latest offerings from Kodak/EskoArtwork (hate that name) or Rampage?

I have been on both sides, bare bones vs. all out solutions and I'll take all out any day but not every printer has that option.
 

afilson

Member
Re: Buy it or Build It? - That is the Question

I totally disagree with the concept of buying a "cheap" front end solution. This is the backbone of your company. If you are going with the cheapest solution you can find you should expect to fight daily to get files into and out of your system. I'm not saying price is the determining factor, but you should not go bargain shopping with so much at stake. Test the solutions your looking at completely and compare your kind of work among them. Take the top three and find out as much as you can. If at the end of all that your happy with all three, then by all means look at price. But to limit yourself right out of the gates on price, regardless of the size and budget of your company, is doing a great disservice and will haunt you for years to come. I know there are budget restraints in smaller companies, and I have worked for places like this, but there are just some things you do right and cost must be secondary. i believe that your front end system is one of those places. Otherwise, you could very much find yourself being a casualty in the future of printing. Invest wisely and ensure your solution will work. Buying a cheap solution that doesn't work for your type of incoming files is wasting your limited budget needlessly. You would be better off saving up for the right solution.
 

G_Town

Well-known member
Re: Buy it or Build It? - That is the Question

All things being equal give me the right solution.

I have dealt with owners who simply don't know how important it is and franky for all intents and purposes don't care.

Pressroom issues they understand, prepress workflows are just a bunch of acronyms and tech talk to them.

Some day I hope to deal with management that come from a prepress background that understand the needs of modern prepress department.

Again, I would much rather have the correct solution, but that's not always the case for reasons stated above.

I invite more folks to disagree with my agreement.
 

jbbbarr

Well-known member
Re: Buy it or Build It? - That is the Question

I had heard many owners refer to prepress as the black hole. Nothing but dollars in and, in their view little ROI. There are a few operations around my area, S Tx, that do focus on prepress as much as the rest of the operation, these are obviously doing the best, but how do you convince naysayers otherwise when they have to invest to take a peek behind curtain #3, which happens to have the biggest prize, more profit.
 

afilson

Member
Re: Buy it or Build It? - That is the Question

I too have heard the "black hole" analogy. But, money speaks to those people. So build your case based on dollars not tech talk. Try and show the cost savings with a particular system upgrade. Use current FTE time that it takes to do certain tasks associated with your current method of prepress. Multiply that out to get a monthly or yearly figure. Now with your proposed solution, do the same thing. Where will it save you time and steps in the process? How will the owners bottom line look using your new system? How much more can you do without adding any FTE's (i.e. how much capacity increase will the new system net you)? Show the "cheeseburgers (Dollars, Euros)" and how soon you will get your ROI. This is what will speak to your "black hole" people. Show the savings and let the numbers do the talking.
 

G_Town

Well-known member
Re: Buy it or Build It? - That is the Question

Totally agree Allen.

This is the way to go, don't get me wrong I haven't been totally unsucessfull in getting upgrades, my favorite was showing the owner a PS filter being run on a Quadra 950 (yea Quadra and not that long ago I might add) alongside a G3 that I had gotten in to replace another 950 which I claimed had died (it hadn't). After seeing the G3 complete the filter in about 30 seconds while the Quadra was still chugging away after 10 minutes he busted out his credit card.

I'm just glad I don't have to deal with that crap anymore.
 

Lammy

Well-known member
Re: Buy it or Build It? - That is the Question

IMO, building your own is the way to go. While buying a complete system like Apogee is simple, I think it leaves the MFG in a position where they are now responsible for to much so each area only gets so much attention. Buy the most robust solutions from companies that are only supporting that product.

I think RAMpage is a good example of this. They make a great RIP because it's all they do. Then they tried to do the ICC profile/ proofing thing and it was/is lousy.
 

detric_1

New member
Re: Buy it or Build It? - That is the Question

G-Town, this kinda sounds like a chicken and the egg conversation. Are the successful companies that way because they invest in their people and technology, or do they invest in their people and company because they're successful. Believe me I've been in my fair share of environments where prep was looked at as "a black hole" and through effort, logic, tons of hard work and just making things work, I've succeeded at getting to where I am.

Success begets success. Make a better mouse trap, and the world will beat a path to your door.

Dave
 

macphenom

Well-known member
Re: Buy it or Build It? - That is the Question

Why do you think the icc option from rampage is so lousy?
I have my two epsons dialed in so close to our presses that almost all our customers that were getting
Fuji final proofs have switched to the epsons because the color is dead on and they are a 10th of the cost.
 

G_Town

Well-known member
Re: Buy it or Build It? - That is the Question

David,

I did not run or own the company, nor did I make the financial decisions.

I merely pointed out some people don't consider it (prepress) as important as having a shiny new press.

You don't need to lecture me on the need for a good workflow, after 20 years I'm well aware, I was merely trying to point out it's not always so easy, even with the right ammo, to convince certain people to purchase what's needed.

For that reason, among many others, I quit that place and now work for a company with the resources and understanding of what's needed.

Perhaps this was the wrong place to vent my frustrations with ignorant owners.
 

Lammy

Well-known member
Re: Buy it or Build It? - That is the Question

I found the process in which it takes to calibrate and tune the RPD is not very user friendly. The whole thing with having to figure ink splits and chorma hooks !
http://nastyz28.com/ubb/icons/confused.gif! Relinierzation is something not easily accomplished either IIRC. EFI and GMG both have much eaiser and faster interfaces for this. I've always said RAMpage would have been better off to integrating and bundleEFI than to have to developed thier own. I am however a 9.4 user and it your results may vary if you have a newer version.
 

macphenom

Well-known member
Re: Buy it or Build It? - That is the Question

You are correct about the convoluted way to initially set up the device, however I have found that the epsons tend not to drift far from the initial calibration.
We use ColorMetrix to monitor the DeltaE of the proofs and after 1 year the DeltaE has barely moved, so little in fact a customer could never tell the difference.
http://colormetrix.com
 

Gerhard

Active member
Re: Buy it or Build It? - That is the Question

Hi,
First of all you should consider what you are really looking for.
Workflow is the utmost misused phrase in our century. There are so called workflows from Heidelberg, Agfa, Kodak and so on but all of them are only built to serve themselves. If you want a real front - end workflow you should build one yourself and for your own purpose. There are some "ready made" ones but they will not fit you and the customizing will not only eat your money but it will also eat your brain.
My advise: Make a plan how you want it and then look around to find the items that fits your requirements. Build it in an open way, means that you can add or change items according to the future growth of the company.
When I built workflows I did like this and I always succeeded.
Regards,
Gerhard
 

TheBlueShadow

New member
Re: Buy it or Build It? - That is the Question


I think it depends on the competency level of your prepress operators.



*High competency* = Build it or Buy it ... the operators can handle it.



*Low competency* = Buy it ... better support for the workflow from the single vendor.




If you buy a complete workflow you will have a better support system with that one vendor. If it's a piece-meal then you have to rely on your operators to figure out the problems. The vendors will just point fingers because they don't know the other system well enough to determine where the problem is.
 

pcmodem

Registered Users
Re: Buy it or Build It? - That is the Question

Workflow is something more than just a Prepress RIP. Workflow is the entire process of a job, from how it is created to how it is handled and produced. There is no way to buy one piece of software and expect it to be your workflow. Procedures are also part of the workflow too.

What you can do is buy the MIS system, Prepress RIP, Imposition software, Presses, cutters, and folders that support JDF and CIP4. This would just be the technical part of creating a workflow. You have to get all of your systems connected and talking with each other correctly. Then comes writing or modifying the procedures to make it more efficient and more consistent from one person to the next.

A workflow is about automating as much of the process to make the job go through the shop easier, faster, more accurate, and with less problems. If the workflow solution that you come up with doesn't improve the four items above, then you need to look at your workflow again.

Bottom line, you can buy the most expensive systems on the market and still not have a workflow if you have not made them work together with your other systems and have not written the procedures to follow suit.

Buy and Build

Brian Cupp
 

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