Friday December 07, 2018

Q&A: How can small fish thrive in an automated pond? (Part two)

Topics: Automation

No matter how big or small your business, a tailor-made approach to automation is your ticket to huge success. What’s that? You don’t believe us? Then by all means, read on (and be sure to check out part one of this blogpost too)!

In part two of this series about prepress automation for SMEs, we answer a great question sent to us by prepress manager Thomas:

I manage a small prepress team that processes about 150 jobs in a day. We don’t have an MIS but we do use order/job ticket software. How can I automate as many low-margin jobs as possible to comfortably take on more work in the near future?

‘Switch’ to PitStop Server

For this kind of prepress automation, we recommend combining PitStop Server with Switch. The PDF Workflow Suite is a great place to start your automation project because it is scalable, enabling you to integrate the software with any solutions you have or are considering installing in the future.

Anyway…

PitStop Server will allow you to create hot folders with PitStop Preflight Profiles and PitStop Action Lists assigned to them. (Don’t know what a PitStop Action List is? Read all about it in our previous post.) Your team can then drag and drop PDF files for processing.

The initial setup is fairly simple. You point to the ‘in’ folder, ‘error’ folder and ‘out’ folder; then indicate which preflight profiles and action lists you want performed. With Switch in the mix, you can even design a workflow that does a whole lot more than automatically check and fix PDF files.

Which brings us to the following:

What’s the difference between PitStop Pro and PitStop Server?

A great question – if we may say so ourselves. After all, both tools enable you to create and edit preflight profiles and action lists. The main difference, however, is that PitStop Pro is an Adobe Acrobat plug-in while PitStop Server automates PitStop Pro functionalities.

Good to know: if your goal is to initiate PitStop functions from a Switch flow, PitStop Server is required.

How to create a workflow with Switch

Think of Switch Designer as a metro map tool. You know where your files are and know where you want them to end up. All you have to do is map out how they need to be routed in order to get prepared for output, like so:

  1. Download from FTP
  2. Sort according to final trim size
  3. Preflight and fix based on output intention
  4. Wait to be batched
  5. Gang for imposition
  6. Send to output

Given the above list of stops from download to output, your Switch workflow will require an FTP retrieve, a set of path branches for trim sizes, PitStop configurators, Hold Job, Assemble Job, an imposition configurator (third party) and a path to the output device.

The result will look a little something like this:

Questions? Ask the Switch community!

Does automating your prepress workflow still seem like a daunting task to you? No worries. Enfocus has created an eLearning portal to help you get started and implement your own custom solution. The Switch community is always available to help you with any challenges or questions you may have as well. Some members of the community even happily make their own Switch solutions available for installation via the Enfocus Appstore – sometimes even for free!

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About Liesbet Olbrechts

liesbet-olbrechts-author

Liesbet has been with Enfocus for 6 years, first as a product manager, then she became the Director of Product Management. She is an industrial chemical engineer with a post-graduate degree in general management. But that doesn't stop her from loving basketball and being a celebratory sportswoman. Liesbet focuses her endless supply of professional energy on innovation and new business models such as subscriptions and co-creation of the Enfocus Appstore. Her passion for innovation, technology, software and print drives her to wrangle new ideas from outside, into the print industry. Liesbet works to realize her belief in print automation to drive results and profitability for Enfocus customers in all avenues of print service.

 

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