Decision Analytics – Ink & Plate Usage module added

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.

The Covid-19 pandemic led to the country-wide lockdown on 25 March 2020. It will be two years tomorrow as I write this. What have we learned in this time? Maybe the meaning of resilience since small companies like us have had to rely on our resources and the forbearance of our employees as we have struggled to produce our trade platforms.

The print and packaging industries have been fortunate, although the commercial printing industry is still to recover. We have learned more about the digital transformation that affects commercial printing and packaging. Ultimately digital 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.

Web analytics show that we now have readership in North America and Europe amongst the 90 countries where our five platforms reach. Our traffic which more than doubled in 2020, has at times gone up by another 50% in 2021. And advertising which had fallen to pieces in 2020 and 2021, has started its return since January 2022.

As the economy approaches real growth with unevenness and shortages a given, we are looking forward to the PrintPack India exhibition in Greater Noida. We are again appointed to produce the Show Daily on all five days of the show from 26 to 30 May 2022.

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– Naresh Khanna

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