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Adding imposed file features for the V-TAB Group is no imposition to DALIM SOFTWARE

The significant benefit to DALIM ES users is the amount of hands-off workflow production it can provide. However, what if you have demanding imposition requirements for a number of different presses? Along with many other features, DALIM SOFTWARE has been helping the V-TAB Group to make more of their jobs automatic.


The V-TAB Group (V-TAB) with headquarters in Göteborg, Sweden is a major player for printed media in the Nordic countries, producing daily newspapers (its largest business), periodicals, magazines, brochures, direct mail, signs and commercial print. They boast that they operate five newsprint facilities across the south of Sweden, strategically located around the country to facilitate logistics for its customers.


“What makes us special is our exceptional quality along with delivery precision and flexibility—all important services for our customers,” says Fredrik Bogårdh, IT Chief. “We can do everything in print for our customers. Small or large, it does not matter. Everyone deserves good craftsmanship.”


A long-time user of DALIM SOFTWARE solutions

V-TAB has been using DALIM SOFTWARE products for many years. The company has always wanted to automate, as much as possible, all the contact they had with customers, while maintaining its superior level of service. “Back in 2005 we saw DALIM MISTRAL and believed it could automatically give us the service level we wished to extend to our customers—and our internal staff,” remembers Bogårdh. “One key thing to automate more efficiently is to have all the answers. We saw MISTRAL as the tool to build our workflows and to collaborate with our users. So, we spent a lot of time learning how to use MISTRAL and DALIM TWIST better.”


Recently, there were discussions about ES, learning to automate even more. At the time, V-TAB was having challenges with its approval cycles—and the combination of using a flatplan along with the possibility of publishing content in different channels. “We considered it a part of tying customers tighter to us,” adds Bogårdh. And, so they invested in DALIM ES.


Collaboration helps to deliver high-quality jobs on time

“Way back in 2006 we had an discussion with our internal ‘customers’. We discussed if we should ask them to deliver their files on time. “The print managers insisted that it was prepress’s job to remind us every night. If they were late, we had to remind them to submit files,” recalls Bogårdh. “However, in the end, we need to put the responsibility on the customers. They had responsibility to submit files, so we could submit newspapers in time for distribution. That was an important part of the approval cycle. It also says a lot about our relationship with customers then, and now. ES will automatically do that job better than email.”


For new customers, V-TAB sends several informational messages to tell customers what they expect—the URL to the project, the files to submit, and some assistance even before a project is delivered. For instance, V-TAB might know they are going to print a periodical shortly, but can’t do anything until they know the number of pages.

The approval cycle is one of the key benefits of ES. “We have customers who might not bother to approve a job, but it is an essential tool for us to be more efficient in our workflow,” comments Anders Englund, Prepress/ Graphic Technician. “Somehow, you need to give the customer some responsibility, even though they are a customer. For a good price and exceptional print, they have to play a part in it.”


Using JDF data to automate the system

ES is different from the flatplan-based MISTRAL because V-TAB can integrate data from their MIS system and automatically place essential data demands on their internal organization. V-TAB operates a Technique MIS system, which outputs JDF information. They developed an in between system that assures the JDF information is correct—and more complete—when imported into ES. “It basically provides a filter to import information. It also checks if the information is correct; for example, if it is missing the type of paper to be used,” comments Englund. ES is fully JDF compliant and, in fact, can import basically any XML data. “When we import the JDF data into ES, a job is created, and it automatically sends emails to the customer senders and approvers. Our MIS already has the contact names and, depending on their roles, ES sends them reminders about jobs.”


Producing standardized jobs, including cover and inlay, is now pretty much completely automatic. After the customer approves the job, all V-TAB does is output the plates. “The production workflow in ES is a huge thing for us. We can perform tasks before the files even enter the system,” marvels Englund. “Basically, we can create almost anything with ES. If it were not for all the sandbox tools in ES, there would be many more people in the prepress department. When we acquired a plant that produces magazines, they had a prepress department of eight and a prepress manager. About half of them joined us in our central prepress facility, yet we retained our level of productivity. What is also important is that everyone uses the tools in the right way. A good system is useless if not used correctly.”


ES works well with both print and digital output. For example, V-TAB offers ES ePub, a way to publish e-publications online. Many of their customers use it, although if others use third party e-book systems V-TAB automatically prepares job files to upload to their servers. “They have to send their files to us, anyway, to be printed,” says Bogårdh. “We just transform them to the right format. That’s just one example of the flexibility of ES and the possibilities that the system gives us.”


Working to deliver dynamic imposition on difficult jobs

“When we started to work with ES, we did not use their imposition,” recollects Englund. “We could import Prep templates, like in MISTRAL, but we wanted something more automatic. DALIM SOFTWARE promised to fix it. While it worked just fine with regular, standard jobs, it was something that was not easy to fix because of the complexity of what we do.”


Difficult jobs, like 6-fold and 8-page covers are not in the JDF specification. The printing market is divided into digital, sheetfed, and web jobs. So, people tend to specialize in one or another—for example, either sheetfed or newspaper systems. “We wanted something to cover them all without giving up functionality,” comments Bogårdh. “At the time, DALIM SOFTWARE offered that possibility to us. That was a challenge, and we discussed how to impose files in different print segments. In the end, we ended up transforming everything into ES.”


On standard jobs, about 80% of V-TAB’s work, imposition works just fine. On six-page covers, Englund still has to change the flatplan, but, “The imposition module right now is pretty good. It really requires little effort. I just change a few things—a few workarounds,” notes Englund. “It will work on any press. We already have dynamic imposition for web offset. We get around sheetfed with a slight workaround.”


Now that ES offers automated imposition for mainstream jobs, V-TAB can put more effort into value-based activities, such as contacting their customers when something is not right. It lets them spend time on more value-added tasks, even with fewer people.


“What actually takes up the time now is if the customer does something wrong,” remarks Englund. “For example, they might upload a file that gets aborted during preflighting in TWIST. We sit in the middle to handle these things.” TWIST preflighting can detect errors in a file when they arrive at V-TAB. If TWIST cannot fix it, they can be notified. This is particularly helpful so that time is not wasted sending a faulty file to a digital printer.


A well-developed support system

“The DALIM SOFTWARE people have been very responsive, and good to work with,” says Englund. “The help desk is very supportive. If we ask a question, they answer within a day. It is one of their biggest strengths.”

“I appreciate our direct contact with DALIM SOFTWARE. But, when we need some specific points, Network Innovation, our DALIM SOFTWARE reseller, offers a lot of knowhow. They are the biggest vendor of graphic tools in Sweden and, in fact, pointed us to DALIM SOFTWARE way back in 2005,” says Bogårdh. “They help us when we need technical advice. For example, with our imposition work, we had a lot of con- versations about how to approach the challenge. They have been a real help.”


V-TAB hopes to implement their coldset and newsprint workflows into ES. Their objective is to put all customers, particularly those with weeklies and monthlies, into the system. The challenge is that they have two MIS sys- tems—one for heatset and sheet fed, and one for coldset newspaper printing. They also collect different kinds of JDF info. However, they look forward to automating all their newspaper print the same way as their other work.


Bogårdh and Englund both agree, “ES is a really good system, especially if you are working with JDF. It is easy to create customer-specific workflows. If a customer asks if we can do something, we tell them if they give us a week, we can. That’s one of the keys as to why ES is so good. It’s a dynamic system.”

About the author
As a content manager with a multicultural background, I am dedicated to creating impactful content that extends my reach globally. I seek meaningful opportunities and challenges that engage my passion for helping others and solving problems through innovative content creation.