'Reliability' is Their Middle Name
A combination of new digital printing and workflow technologies has dramatically increased the quality and efficiency of Allied Reliability Group's in-plant.August 2013
To service its customers in the industrial and manufacturing sector, Allied Reliability Group depends on its in-plant to provide hundreds of thousands of training manuals, training certificates, course catalogs, brochures, posters and other materials each year. The company's network of 200+ employees turns to Production Specialist Cindy Ley, the in-plant's sole employee, for these products, and she, in turn, relies on her shop's Ricoh Pro C901 digital color press.
Getting a production color device like this became essential when the company expanded its training operations, thus increasing its need for materials. At the same time, Allied wanted to present a more professional image, and make its shipping logistics more efficient, by switching from three-ring binders to perfect-bound books for its training manuals.
So the in-plant, based in the company's Charleston, S.C., headquarters, upgraded from a Konica Minolta C6000 to a new Ricoh Pro C901 with in-line booklet making and perfect binding. Ley also upgraded her workflow environment with a state-of-the-art print production workflow: the EFI Fiery Workflow Suite. This combination of printing and workflow technologies has increased the in-plant's quality and efficiency.
Allied Reliability Group is a global family of companies comprised of maintenance, reliability and operational consulting and services, training, staffing, and integrated software solutions. While much of the company's print output consists of manuals and training documents, Allied's Fiery-driven, high-quality capabilities gave the in-plant the ability to create new products like four-color glossy magazines with stunningly good results.
"I was looking for a workflow that was easy, and the Fiery server gives us simplicity even though we are handling more work," Ley says.
The installation, with a Fiery console and a remote workstation, gives Ley the ability to handle key production tasks at her desk by using Fiery Workflow Suite components, including the Fiery Command WorkStation job management interface and Fiery Impose, EFI's visual document imposition application. Many workflow tasks, such as job preparation and job submission, are automated to optimize press utilization and minimize downtime.
"We run a quick color calibration with our EFI ES-1000 spectrophotometer on a daily basis to guarantee the color quality is always consistent and reliable," Ley notes. "Our customers are speechless when they see what we're capable of providing. The quality and colors look like they just came from a major print shop."
Production Has Skyrocketed
The shop's color production workflow has not only become more robust, it is now easier to manage.
"Our production has skyrocketed with what the Ricoh Pro C901 and Fiery server have to offer," says Ley. "Makeready tasks that took 30 minutes or more now take five to 10 with Fiery Impose. I don't need to go back to the design application to merge, assemble and impose the job anymore; all makeready tasks are done at the Command WorkStation."
The company can quickly maneuver, impose and drag-and-drop pages from multiple files to create new documents. And thanks to the Fiery ImageViewer feature, "Soft proofing files to preview how jobs are exactly going to print helps me reduce print errors and reduce waste dramatically," Ley says.
Allied Reliability's in-plant production became even more efficient after Ley attended her first EFI Connect user's group meeting, an event that features dozens of workshops to help customers get the most out of their Fiery systems.
"Many of the tips and tricks I learned at Connect were things that make me more productive," reports Ley. "I learned how to save time by automating production on repetitive booklet types, for example, by dropping files to Fiery Hot Folders containing print settings, including Fiery Impose templates."
Ley is proud of the work her in-plant is producing, and committed to providing the best possible value for the company.
"I take pride not only in what I do and present, but in the people I represent at Allied Reliability Group," says Ley. "I want to produce the best work possible, and deliver it on time, so it is great knowing that I have Ricoh and EFI support teams to help me stay up and running at all times."