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Valassis invests in Dalim printempo to streamline premedia production
Company expects to deliver production automation throughout its entire product line
Valassis with 2005 revenues of $1.1 billion and approximately 4,000 employees globally offers a range of products including: free-standing inserts, preprints, sampling, polybags and on-page advertisements; direct mail; internet-delivered marketing. The company's intention is to utilize the DALiM PRINTEMPO system to support all of its product verticals. Phase one focuses on preprints - specifically retail and services and direct mail.
Until recently, Valassis' premedia production had been built around a DCS-based workflow. However, the company wanted to move to a more open, PDF-based standard, incorporated around a production automation system that was as flexible to their continually evolving needs. The system needed a robust engine that could create dynamic workflows on the fly and an architecture that could support a broad range of job and workflow configurations throughout the entire company, which includes a centralized premedia hub and three printing facilities.
A number of possible systems were short-listed, at which time an entire team of Valassis production experts conducted a thorough analysis, along with authorization testing. "We decided that a system based around DALiM PRiNTEMPO was the best solution for us, based upon our criteria and needs," comments Randy Stover, Valassis manager, Electronic Imaging. "Valassis has a wide variety of products, and we expect to extend our production automation to the enterprise."
"One of the things that Valassis does well for our customers is manage versions. Dalim Software really helps within their system capabilities to automate the workflow for versioning," says Stover. "It helps us streamline the workflow and manage jobs all the way to plating for last-minute ad replacements."
Key for Valassis was the requirement for a truly 'open' system-the ability to integrate a complex information order process system, with open standards to accept manufacturing data. Valassis' system, when complete, will involve three interacting components: a DALiM PRINTEMPO system, a production planning system, and their MIS (Management Information System). Valassis intends to build imposition layouts and allow customer service representatives to enter press information and job information using separate applications, tying into the Dalim Software system. With limited staffing, they do not believe they can sustain a manual workflow where people enter redundant data into the system in a piecemeal fashion. Instead, the prepress department will receive files and, based upon file naming conventions, DALiM PRiNTEMPO will automatically associate them with production metadata. In this way they intend to automate imposition of flats. "We're coming up with a naming convention and a very structured schema," remarks D ave Rapp, R&D Technology supervisor. "As pages hit the DALiM PRiNTEMPO system, they are automatically placed into containers. We're pushing the system as hard as it will go. With Dalim Software, you get a workflow with the opportunity to determine how you want to build it. We're less confined."
"Dalim Software's system is extremely complete. It hands off pieces of the workflow to all of our production departments, but all under DALiM PRiNTEMPO-one common interface," adds Rapp. "It helps bring efficiency and consistency to the company." When everything is in place, the next stage for Valassis will be to begin JDF implementation.
"For any premedia shop looking toward the future, the ability to rely on your vendor to maintain software development to keep abreast of changes to new software is extremely important," observes Rapp. "For example, when Quark added transparency support to their file output, Dalim Software was already prepared, supplying with an updated version of its own software to resolve any issues. They monitor the industry well and ensure they are compatible with any new product developments from other companies."
"We have a great R&D staff with great programmers. The Oldham Group has also done a tremendous job integrating the system for us. With the flexibility inherent in DALiM PRiNTEMPO, we're confident we will be able to automate production for all our products throughout the organization," summarizes Stover. "I think what is important here is the ability to reproduce print as intended, no matter what the job is."
Valassis offers a wide range of marketing services to consumer packaged goods manufacturers, retailers, technology companies and other customers with operations in the United States, Europe, Mexico and Canada. Valassis' products and services portfolio includes: newspaper-delivered promotions and advertisements such as inserts, sampling, poly bags and on-page advertisements; direct-to-door advertising and sampling; direct mail; Internet-delivered marketing; loyalty marketing software; coupon and promotion clearing; and promotion planning and analytic services. Valassis has been listed as one of FORTUNE magazine's "Best Companies to Work For" for nine consecutive years. Valassis subsidiaries include Valassis Canada, PreVision Marketing(R), LLC, Promotion Watch, Valassis Relationship Marketing Systems, LLC and NCH Marketing Services, Inc. For additional information, visit the company Web site at http://www.valassis.com
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