The collective “US”, the group composed of publishers and printers, has always been responsible for ensuring that what we produce meets the expectations and standards we have in the publishing industry.
These standards for years have held us to strive to hopefully be the best and deliver products we are proud to put our names on. And at times, we can look at what we and others produce and pick at the flaws, and see the good in their products. Our goal is to produce the products and deliver that content to the end-users while letting them read and enjoy the content, whether it is a publication, catalog, or direct mail.
We can all reminisce about the days of the past using mail and tight deadlines to deliver products back and forth. And then the internet and file transfer came upon us, and those tight deadlines did not seem so unbearable. A few decades ago, the introduction into our publishing lives came virtual remote workflows. Our standards changed, and we took some things for granted and tighten up on new standards. Versions of PDF changed yearly, and we were throwing files around as fast as we could create them.
These systems were there to help manage the content workflows from anywhere. It produced the tools to manage the content (the latest file) and color (what profile is used for viewing and printing).And at that moment, everyone was looking at the same campaign regardless of where they were.
And today, the tools keep evolving to allow us all some freedom and, above all, integrity. Integrity equals transparency as these tools gave everyone the same ability to edit, remark, view, and approve, while a history remained there for everyone to see. Responsibilities became multiple to ensure the end product was correct and ready for press. The upstream/downstream fulcrum was constantly moving, all for the positive.
We, as an industry, were running on autopilot until the pandemic hit in 2020, and a lot of things were sent into some form of disruption. But again, the use of online software portals gained new support and used within the industry. And as with everything in the world coming to a stop, advertising/marketing had to adjust to new ways to get the word out.
DALIM SOFTWARE had many solutions and workflows built to manage content and API-driven tools to enhance specific workflows. With the powerful scope of their software, online remote proofing, asset management, and other tools were now being brought back to the forefront as necessary instead of a “nice to have”. With many working from home, the DALIM SOFTWARE solution became an increasingly valuable tool to many companies. And with some, we found the opportunity to monetize some of the tools and help our clients in ways they were trying to adjust their marketing strategies. Digital “flip book” gave our catalog and retail clients an additional way to market their current campaign. From a link on their website to creating traffic through direct mail campaigns that all worked together. A source of revenue as it required additional work.
Online content management speeds up the approval process that got slowed by the work from home pandemic necessity.And even some creative out-of-the-box solutions were hatched using DALIM SOFTWARE’s solution. A virtual press color OK process allowed printers to show a press OK while the press was running, giving integrity to the final product. Also, allowing multiple clients to be on the system for viewing, thus eliminating travel and lodging expenses usually associated with on-site press OK’s. Another revenue stream was the cost of setup that was passed onto the invoice, and customers were thrilled to have the ability to view and adjust their product.
So I take a look back at when I first entertained installing a DALIM SOFTWARE or, for that matter, any online content management system and whether there was a cost justification. I was lucky enough to be on the cutting edge of that technology, and the cost reduction was immediate in going digital and reducing staff due to speed. We have been adjusting our workflows consistently to maximize time and staff over the years. And again, this pandemic has opened new eyes to the tools we could assist our clients with and help manage their campaigns. Twenty years ago, I was asked my opinion of the content management system I installed, and I summed it up like this, “DALIM SOFTWARE does!” So the solutions created revenue, transparency between users, additional keys for clients, which led to further conversations and behold-new business.
Ed Zepernick is Executive Vice President/Chief Technology Officer of Continental Web Press, an award-winning commercial and publications printing company based near Chicago, IL.
For the past 25 years Ed has been responsible for the development and implementation of Continental Web's advanced technical capabilities, delivering cutting-edge customer services such as online job tracking, virtual proofing, digital imaging, and variable-data printing.