Kodak unleashes newer version of Prinergy workflow

Subhrajit Ray, national business manager - India cluster, software & solutions division, Kodak India spoke to Priya Raju about his favourite topic: workflow and how to optimise its use.

01 May 2017 | By Priya Raju

Kodak's Prinergy 8 is in the news. This was the message that Allan Brown was travelling in India in the last week of April brought. Brown who is the general manager for Kodak’s Workflow business (Kodak worldwide) and vice president of Eastman Kodak Company along with Subhrajit Ray also took the opportunity at the Kodak HQ in Mumbai to announce Kodak's launch of the Prinergy Cloud.

Central to the new cloud platform is its Decision Analytics engine, which is designed to reduce costs and risk by monitoring production in real-time, continually collecting production data and sending the print operator reports on processes such as colour usage and print passes. Hosted on the Microsoft Azure platform, Kodak’s Prinergy Cloud can be integrated with printers’ existing Kodak software and according to the manufacturer will lower operating costs by reducing hardware and administrative overheads.

(l-r) Allan Brown along with Subhrajit Ray

According to Ray, “The recent release of Prinergy Cloud has generated a lot of excitement in the industry. It is not just existing on-premises automation deployed in the cloud but a true cloud-based platform redesigned from the ground up. Decision Analytics is solution to control cost, reduce risk, and increase the printers’ ability to profit from market opportunities.built in for all Prinergy Cloud services. Prinergy Cloud is commercialized as SaaS and offers Printers the ability to scale as their business grows. The new Decision Analytics services offer unique insights of the print shop operations and is an industry-first

Ray adds, “This is a revolutionary new cloud service that delivers new solutions to control cost, control risk and drive growth.” When asked about the virtue of Decision Analytics, ray says, this means, “Printers can harness their print production data into actionable analysis and insightful reporting with intuitive dashboards ultimately removing bottlenecks and improving productivity.” Basically it means file archive and backup; decision analytics; and dynamic print planning (this will be available soon).

The ROI factor
The Prinergy Platform 8 and the Prinergy Cloud Platform were introduced during Drupa 2106 and have been successfully launched into the marketplace. Prinergy Platform 8’s most recent announcement is the release of Prinergy Evo Workflow 8. Ray says, “This is an extremely important product for the Asia Pacific region that allows for increased efficiencies at a low cost of entry which help our customers maximise their ROI.”

ROI is not so much driven by print capacity as much as it is driven by cycle time reduction. Most print shops operate a 24-hour turnaround time which is no longer efficient enough within the commercial or packaging industry. Even small print shops need to ask themselves “Do I want to wait 24 hours before starting a print job or do I want to wait for one hour?” Of course, the answer is the later and this is what workflow enables. A faster pre-press means maximising equipment and increasing capacity. Investing in workflow can start with simple but powerful solutions like Prinergy Evo Workflow for shops with simple needs while shops with more complex needs can fully leverage automation and the advanced capabilities of Prinergy Workflow. 

How to implement the Prinergy
When queried about the ease of implementation, Ray says, “There is a high degree of variability on the time and effort to implement workflow. It could be as simple as deploying the base workflow software and start ripping right away the basic benefits. This usually only requires basic training on the product and the operators to get comfortable using the software. And this can be as short as a couple of days or weeks.”

The message from the Kodak team is, that for one to maximise all the benefits of workflow, automation across the tasks and integration with the other shop systems is required and this is “a longer and more involving process”. Ray explains, “Often, success is dependent on the amount of time and investment that someone is willing to commit and our recommendation to customers is to leverage professional services to accelerate implementation and ensure that they are getting the most of their investment. Often, it comes down to what the customer wants to achieve and the most cost effective and efficient way to achieve it.” 

JDF, no longer a conundrum
JDF has been one of the core topics in the printing industry for at least the last 10 years; it has been hailed the solution for seamless integration of MIS, W2P and other systems as well as the standard to drive post press devices. Over time, vendors have made great strides towards this goal even if there is more to do because there is a high degree of complexity within JDF/JMF. According to Ray, “Kodak views JDF/JMF as a fundamental part of the Prinergy workflow and continues to support JDF/JMF with our latest release of Business Link 8.0.”

Ray explains, “Nevertheless, we also acknowledge that customers often need alternatives for the integration of systems or devices with no or incomplete JDF support. So we also support other methods to fulfil customer needs in a flexible manner. For example, the ability to use XML to exchange information between systems is a simple and flexible approach when JDF is not available or in combination of using JDF. 

Optimise usage
One problem in India has been most users know only the basic features of the workflows. So how does one ensure that a customer is fully empowered with the workflow’s capability?

Ray says Kodak has recognised this and therefore the Unified Workflow Solutions (UWS) has made “several improvements over the past year to make our engagement with customers as strong as possible.”

When asked what, he says: Focused UWS sales team and channel management to better understand and serve the needs of software customers; improved Prinergy Workflow website which helps key PSP decision makers better understand the value of our software; Country-level UWS customer events provide an intimate environment for our customers to get the latest product updates and access to the local Kodak sales teams; and finally a worldwide GUA forum which provides online networking with other Prinergy users to share best practices.

And for customers that want to accelerate the deployment of sophisticated solutions, Ray adds, “We also offer Professional Services where our in-house experts can leverage the full extent of Prinergy Workflow’s power to implement advanced workflows.” 

Integrating digital and offset
When Allan Brown was in Mumbai he spoke to PrintWeek India and said, Brown spoke about how the digital Job Ticket Editor can permit a digital press operator to configure digital front ends (DFEs) in one place inside the Prinergy. This means, all the options (for example, inline finishing, stock) for each digital devices for configuration within Prinergy. You have one operational control centre rather than forcing an operator to configure in different places.

According to Brown, the Proliferate Prinergy Ubiquitously Workflow 8, offers a single workflow for both offset and digital printing to maximise efficiency and productivity with reduced turnaround times. The key is its ability to integrate digital kit like Ricoh, Konica Minolta, Landa and Komori and enable an advanced level of centralised digital device control and automation.

Ray agrees. He says, “Digital presses are becoming more and more present in print shops working alongside traditional offset presses. To maximise the complementariness of both digital and offset, the workflow must seamlessly manage them as a single production pool. We are working closely with digital press manufacturers to ensure a good integration of their presses with our products. Ricoh is a good example of collaboration and more are to come.”

Therefore, with the Kodak Prinergy Workflow 8, Ray feels, “Kodak is offering a single workflow for both offset and digital printing that maximise efficiency and productivity with reduced turnaround times.” 

Training support
Kodak offers specialised hands-on training to vendors and customers alike in the digital space to certify them on our product. The company schedules them at regular intervals, so that users are always up-to-date on the latest features and benefits that can be accrued from this domain.

According to Ray, “All Prinergy deals are tagged along with a Software Support License for the coming year and Start-Up-Assistance and thus, all basic training are included within the framework.” However, as suggested above, advanced trainings are conducted at regular intervals which are priced minimally but keeps the customer up-to-date with all the latest offerings from our workflow team.

The final word belongs to Brown who stressed that the USP of the Prinergy Workflow is its "bi-directional communication with the DFEs". This provides the operator centralised control.

Brown who has more than 25 years of experience in the production and Enterprise software environs, concludes, “Our customers now have powerful new tools like a single integrated workflow, the functionality to reduce material waste and a reduction in job turnover times that will enable them to spend more time on growing their business.”

The Kodak  platforms - at a glance

Kodak in India offers two different platforms. This is the Prinergy On-Premise Platform - a suite of print management software products that deliver end-to-end automation. As Subhrajit Ray says, “Our software controls cost and risk by reducing manual touchpoints, errors, and material waste, and by increasing throughput. We have solutions that address the specific needs of commercial, digital, and packaging.”

The Kodak portfolio includes: Kodak Prinergy Workflow, Kodak Prinergy Evo Workflow, Kodak Insite Pre-press Portal, Kodak Insite Creative Workflow, Kodak ColorFlow Software, Kodak Preps Imposition Software, Kodak Pandora Step-and-Repeat Software.

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