Decision Analytics – Ink & Plate Usage module added

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JTP Activity Dashboard: Monitor and analyze overall system capacity and performance. Photo Kodak
JTP Activity Dashboard: Monitor and analyze overall system capacity and performance. Photo Kodak

On 30 July 2018, Kodak unveiled its ink and plate usage analytics service for its Prinergy Cloud system, a module designed to reduce costs and increase efficiency for commercial printers. Called Decision Analytics – Ink & Plate Usage, the module uses companies’ own plate and ink usage data. It is available in various markets as of the end of July and we have asked Kodak India about its availability in our market. Other modules in the Kodak Prinergy Cloud include Dynamic Print Planning and File Archive and Backup.

The ability to monitor results by plant, press, product or job will allow printers to uncover business insights quickly and meet customer requirements while reducing manufacturing costs. Commercial PSPs will be able to quote jobs more accurately, ensuring a competitive edge. Packaging printers and converters should benefit from inventory controls for process and spot inks, whereby they can reduce hazardous waste disposal expenses and inventory carrying costs.

The new software-as-a-service (SaaS) module is available from the Prinergy cloud on subscription with a basic setup for CMYK print systems and with higher costs if spot or specialty colors and coating are needed to be integrated. The software uses printers’ own historical and predictive usage data to help in reducing costs and avoiding waste. SaaS is increasingly offered by prepress vendors including Adobe, Esko, Agfa and is an integral part of cloud-based monitoring, production, maintenance and color management workflows of offset and digital press manufacturers, such as Heidelberg, Komori, RMGT, HP and Konica Minolta.

“Kodak’s Ink and Plate usage service opens the door for granular visibility into the actual costs of manufacturing for printers. It affords them the unique ability to optimize the manufacturing process and reduce costs, which ultimately leads to amplified profitability,” said Allan Brown, vice president and general manager of Kodak’s Unified Workflow Solutions. “This unprecedented innovation for the commercial and packaging print industry will redefine operational efficiencies and drive step change growth for our customers.”

Prinergy Cloud’s Decision Analytics utilizes cutting-edge technology from Microsoft to collect, store and analyze large amounts of production data collected from manufacturing operations in near-real time. New functionality had been added within Prinergy to automate the process of local data collection and analyzing files as the job moves through the prepress workflow.

According to Kodak, interest in the new cloud service has been very high, across print segments and markets. There has been a long-standing need in the industry to improve estimate correlation with actual costs billing. More accurate forecasting of consumables such as plates and inks should certainly help. Even before these types of cloud-based tools became available, the best printers maintained a record of plate and ink consumption and remakes by press, shift and operator.

The service is designed to benefit customers through macro-level business insight, the reduction of labor costs, improving quote accuracy on jobs, reduction of consumable inventory carrying costs and hazardous waste elimination. The new Kodak analytics tools should be especially useful for smaller companies that do not want to develop costly in-house ERP systems with add-ons for managing production data and developing predictive analytics.

While the initial release of the new software was focused on offset printing applications, the next iterations will involve the service being extended to cover flexo, gravure, wide-format inkjet and more printing methods.

2023 promises an interesting ride for print in India

Indian Printer and Publisher founded in 1979 is the oldest B2B trade publication in the multi-platform and multi-channel IPPGroup. While the print and packaging industries have been resilient in the past 33 months since the pandemic lockdown of 25 March 2020, the commercial printing and newspaper industries have yet to recover their pre-Covid trajectory.

The fragmented commercial printing industry faces substantial challenges as does the newspaper industry. While digital short-run printing and the signage industry seem to be recovering a bit faster, ultimately their growth will also be moderated by the progress of the overall economy. On the other hand book printing exports are doing well but they too face several supply-chain and logistics challenges.

The price of publication papers including newsprint has been high in the past year while availability is diminished by several mills shutting down their publication paper and newsprint machines in the past four years. Indian paper mills are also exporting many types of paper and have raised prices for Indian printers. To some extent, this has helped in the recovery of the digital printing industry with its on-demand short-run and low-wastage paradigm.

Ultimately digital print and other digital channels will help print grow in a country where we are still far behind in our paper and print consumption and where digital is a leapfrog technology that will only increase the demand for print in the foreseeable future. For instance, there is no alternative to a rise in textbook consumption but this segment will only reach normality in the next financial year beginning on 1 April 2023.

Thus while the new normal is a moving target and many commercial printers look to diversification, we believe that our target audiences may shift and change. Like them, we will also have to adapt with agility to keep up with their business and technical information needs.

Our 2023 media kit is ready, and it is the right time to take stock and reconnect with your potential markets and customers. Print is the glue for the growth of liberal education, new industry, and an emerging economy. We seek your participation in what promises to be an interesting ride.

– Naresh Khanna

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