When we speak of integration we are referring to the merging of functionalities from different software solutions into a unified solution, resulting in valuable communication and data exchange between those software solutions and their respective machinery.
Integrated Administration Software: Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP)
In years past multiple software solutions were used for various needs in your business; each with its own interface (requiring training) and database. Each department would work “internally” and communication between the groups usually involved paperwork. This also led to a tremendous amount of duplicate data entry – and wasted time.
For example, customer or supplier data is needed for your estimating department, your shipping department, your billing department, not to mention marketing and sales. Closing financial periods usually meant many hours of manual work, painstakingly gathering data to balance the books.
But these disparate interfaces are typically maintained, each by its own supplier – without an across-the-board standard. So – even a small software upgrade in one could necessitate redevelopment of all interfaces – causing problems with hardware and/or operation system compatibility. Having your business hamstrung by such issues was a regular expectation.
Standard integrated software solutions like PrintVis and Microsoft Dynamics NAV are truly integrated because there is one system that covers all administrative processes in a single database. If the customer provides new shipping addresses it can be entered into all departments at once, making it instantly available to the entire company! It‘s that simple for all data – including vital statistics and closing fiscal periods. All of this without the errors so commonly encountered when entering data more than once.
But there is still the need to integrate into technical equipment which cannot be integrated into one database because it is too specialized or just not open for it (software to operate machines).
JDF – Setting the Standard
For these integrations, cooperation between the integration partners is essential. There needs to be a standard defined which all parties agree to support. Integration for commercial printers is very often reduced to a single definition known as JDF (Job Description Format). In fact there are other possible and reasonable integrations but JDF is still the globally-recognized standard.
The JDF integration makes it possible to merge the data flow of administration and production. This is important to avoid unnecessary data input, to provide machine presetting data and to get workflow feedback about the job status and job costing situation. This works for the company’s internal workflow and (not very public) to read data of external jobs and create these job in the internal system as well (subcontractors or partner companies).
JDF is not Plug-and-Play
This is one area in PrintVis where our emphasis on precision truly shines.
JDF implementations are not Plug-and-Play. Pain points for JDF integration lie not in the technical part, as the standard definition for the JDF is clear and each certified supplier knows which “language” to use for communication. Rather, the challenge for the project management team is to define the goals of such integration. This is needed to be defined and written – to confirm with all JDF partners that this workflow/data is supported – and to define a workflow internally for the company (not technical).
This makes it possible to process an integrated workflow. But clearly the change and optimization of the administrative workflow requires a strong partner – both software and implementation wise.
Some Impressive Stats About JDF
- 60% – Printers have highlighted investing in Workflow Automation
- 277% – Average ROI for JDF-enabled automation
- 480% – Average ROI for fully automated, end-to-end automation
- 6979 – Average labor hours saved/year by printers who implement JDF
(Sources: InfoTrends’ Production Software Investment Outlook and CIP4 CIPPI Case Studies)
So what does this mean?
This means your print business has the potential to achieve a significant competitive advantage by maintaining standards, and by using internationally-renowned companies such as PrintVis as the database for your enterprise.
Similar to ISO certification in concept, JDF (Job Description Format) certification offers cross-platform, common integration and process automation, answering the simple question, “What should one common job ticket for the print industry look like?” With JDF, we have a single common language to support the life cycle of a print job in all its possible aspects, from estimation to prepress to production to post-production and everything in between.
JDF information is ideal for communication amongst the various equipment in your production facility. But with it you can also communicate with other print houses, vendors and customers.
We are happy to share the news that PrintVis was recently recognized for having surpassed 10 years of JDF Certification and CIP4 membership. This puts PrintVis into a rather elite group of companies around the world who know the many benefits that standardization brings to the business world, with ongoing contribution to the CIP4 organization, JDF Specification, and process automation in the print industry.
What is standardization? The process of developing and implementing technical standards, standardization helps to maximize compatibility, interoperability, safety, repeatability, or quality. It can also facilitate commoditization of formerly custom processes. (source)
CIP4 brings together vendors, consultants, and end-users in the print communications, Graphic Arts industry, and associated sectors, covering a variety of equipment, software, peripherals, and processes. Members participate in focused working groups to define the Job Definition Format (JDF), PrintTalk, and other standards relevant to process automation; to study user requirements; to test product interoperability; and to develop a range of JDF software development tools. Information on CIP4, including membership details, is available from the organization’s web site: www.cip4.org.
Or contact: Stefan Daun, Fraunhofer Institute for Computer Graphics, +49 6151 155 575, firstname.lastname@example.org.
All content and ideas submitted to the CIP4 user groups and intellectual property rights subsisting therein shall become the exclusive property of CIP4.
CIP4 and the CIP4 logo are registered trademarks of the CIP4 Organization.
The Job Definition Format (JDF) is the industry specification designed to facilitate process automation and the integration of different applications and systems in and around the Graphic Arts industry. JDF also enables the
integration of business management and job planning applications into the production workflow. JDF is based on the W3C’s Extensible Markup Language (XML), ensuring maximum interoperability between different platforms and ready interaction with Internet systems. More information is available at http://www.cip4.org/.
JDF and JMF icon files are provided for use by CIP4 member and non-member companies, with out modification of the design, to identify to users, via operating systems, file management systems, and other software, JDF and JMF files. All companies, member and non-member, may use these icons in association with any .JDF or .JMF file. All software applications that make use of these icons should include the following text in the application’s “about” document: “JDF, the JDF logo, and the JDF and JMF icons are registered trademarks of the CIP4 Organization,
and may be registered in some jurisdictions.”
JDF and the JDF logo are registered trademarks of the CIP4 Organization.