As more print shops embrace digital storefronts, the need for touchless automation is in high demand. Apago’s PDF Constructor is the ‘glue’ that ties the plethora of workflow tasks together, making web-to-print efficient and profitable.  Chicago-based commercial printer Blooming Color is the latest to achieve 100% touchless automation with its digital storefront. Printing expert John Dean designed and implemented the workflow automations using the combination of Apago’s PDF Constructor and PDF Enhancer with Enfocus Switch. It links together the various processes to create a fully automated prepress workflow with zero touch points and zero errors at the press.

Dean had experience with Apago’s software and consulting services at Courier Corporation, now part of RR Donnelley company. “I inherited the Enfocus Switch workflow at Courier, and was tasked to find a solution to make the automation touchless and seamless. Apago was our Enfocus reseller and became our workflow designer. With their help, we made the Courier workflows 100% automated with zero press errors. This was a tremendous achievement,” comments John Dean, Technology Manager, Blooming Color.

“Because of my experience with Apago, I contacted them to help with Blooming Color’s automation of jobs submitted from various online portals to the HP Indigo presses. It needed to be touchless and error-free. The Apago team are very easy to work with and are ready to help,” comments Dean.

Blooming Color customers use a web storefront daily to order hundreds of printed items such as business cards, invitations, promotional products, among others. One customer, for example, orders anywhere from 75 to 400 unique business cards at a time. Even with the web storefront, this job would have taken hours to process. Thanks to Switch workflow, new orders are automatically retrieved and an XML file is created containing all of the instructions for how the business cards should be laid out.

“In a matter of minutes, Apago’s PDF Constructor builds the cards from the XML instructions into high-quality PDF files and Switch batches them for imposition. No man hours are required to perform all of these tasks,” comments Dean. “PDF Constructor is the industrial strength glue that ties the pieces together to create press-ready files.”

Blooming Color also uses Apago PDF Enhancer for on the fly impositions or when the print shop needs a variety of PDF specifications such as a PDF sized for a wide format inkjet printer and another for an HP Indigo press. As Blooming Color expands its online offerings, including making private-labeled sites
available to higher volume customers, the automated workflow can be easily adapted to new requirements. Dean notes, “We can apply the workflow model to other customers with very little tweaking.”

Dean reports, “As we’ve been building the automation at Blooming Color, we’ve have been able to nearly triple the number of automated customers in a matter of weeks thanks to the ease and flexibility of PDF Constructor and Switch.” “We’ve made it possible to eliminate the prepress function and go straight to press without errors,” comments Dean. “We looked at how long it would take to manually put the business cards together. With just one of the automations, we save about 8-hours a month. In another postcard project we eliminated another 4-6 hours a week. The Switch and the Apago software make the workflow more consistent than using any design application software.”

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