“It’s very exhilarating to play a role in the installation of a major workflow system involving several components that must communicate with each other.”
The largest single DALIM SOFTWARE order in North America includes two satellite MISTRAL systems driven by a central, corporate MIS and MISTRAL installation utilizing JDF Valassis, the nation’s leading marketing services company, with operations in the United States, Europe, China, Mexico and Canada, recently completed the installation of what amounts to the single largest North American software order received by DALIM SOFTWARE.
Valassis has installed three complete MISTRAL systems to upgrade and streamline its premedia production. DALIM SOFTWARE Authorized Reseller, The Oldham Group, will handle project management, installation and ongoing professional services.
During the past year, Valassis installed a MISTRAL system at its Client. Services facility in Livonia, Michigan, to receive and process all graphic pages. This system is also used to feed work to the company’s Anderson Printing Division (APD) via a high-speed OC12 telecommunications line, providing a bandwidth of 622Mbps.
Valassis initiated much of the recent investment in production automation systems in response to the company’s recent acquisition of ADVO. The combined company now serves 15,000 advertisers worldwide, reaching up to 114 million mailboxes monthly, or 90 percent of U.S. households, with its ShopWise® shared mail advertising. The workflow put in place supports production of the weekly ShopWise Wrap.
ADVO supplies the central Valassis MIS system weekly print instructions—the forms impressions, markets and ads that will be running in the supplements. Once entered into the system, the information is converted into metadata for file instruction. Concurrently, completed, prepared advertising graphic files are delivered to the central MISTRAL system in Livonia where they are preflighted along with the generation of a color proof. Eventually, they plan to utilize DIALOGUE Engine, the online soft-proofing component of MISTRAL, for color approval at press side.
The two new MISTRAL systems were installed to support print facilities in Durham, North Carolina and Wichita, Kansas. These satellite systems will receive the approved preflighted graphic files from Livonia, sent dynamically via a Wide Area Network (WAN). There, the files are locally trapped, forms are imposed and metal plates are imaged. Job instructions and templates for imposition are called from Valassis’ central facility and delivered to the outlying facilities where they will be tied to page files that are stored locally. Valassis’ print imposition procedure is unlike others because, rather than creating traditional signatures, they marry-up forms from two different jobs together on the same sheet.
The imposition “template” will instruct the DALIM SOFTWARE workflow systems as how to impose the plates. The template will then be sent as JDF instructions from Valassis’ custom-built MIS order entry system (the integration process with JDF went smoothly). When a job is ready for production, a web service provides the JDF “hand-off” between the two systems. When the JDF metadata is received, the imposed sheet will be built and automatically sent to plate makers.
“Valassis is taking data from our MIS system and utilizing a JDF handshake in order to build a high degree of automation. I have seen JDF implementations at other commercial print sites, but they still have manual components accompanying them”, comments Randy Stover, Valassis Manager, Graphic Services. “We are implementing a system requiring as much ‘hands off’ as possible. It’s a cutting edge system that has created a number of challenges and opportunities for DALIM SOFTWARE, The Oldham Group and Valassis. However, once fully implemented, the reward will be worth it.”
“The Oldham Group was very excited to be chosen by Valassis to assist them in the implementation of their MISTRAL print production system at their corporate headquarters in Livonia, Michigan, as well as their other print facilities. Valassis is a very forward-thinking organization, and has been great to work with”, remarked Jerry Collins, vice president of The Oldham Group. “The production world that we live in today is all about automation. It’s very exhilarating to play a role in the installation of a major workflow system involving several components that must communicate with each other.
We look forward to assisting Valassis with this ongoing project, ensuring they benefit from the most automated workflow system possible.”