I'm looking for good prepress practices (books, business cases, standards, anything) to get some ideas of how to standarize a digital prepress (CTP) workflow.
Thanks for your answer.
I am trying to accomplish three things right now:
1. Educate our customers about the way we need to receive their files
2. Reduce the mistakes made by the prepress dept.
3. Reduce press setup times through prepress work.
For 1. We were thinking on making a procedure, give it to our customers and use feedback reports.
For 2. I'd be interested in learning about poka-yoke techniques commonly used.
For 3. I have read an article in this web about that, and I'd like to study it in more depth.
Any comments/sugestions are welcome.
Sorry for not getting back to you sooner, my system went down hard and I have finally got it back-up. I think I have to replace my hard drive.
The questions you ask normally would require several pages of answers. I will try to condense them and still be understandable.
1. Create a Customer Specification Sheet. On this sheet you list all acceptable file formats and things that need to be included (ie: fonts) although it it is best to have fonts converted to curves (outlines). The down side of this, you can't edit the text in the file. You must also be able to accept as many formats as possible, however I would avoid files not sent in industry standard formats (ie: microsoft word), stick with the standards for screening. The standards are Illustator, Corel Draw and Freehand avoid the rest. Unless they are sending you a 4 colour process file, avoid Photoshop
While it may seem contrary to making money, if they do not meet your file spec's, charge them extra to make it acceptable, require them to make it acceptable or refuse the job. If you do not charge extra, then 2 things happen.
1a. The customers thinks you are desperate and willing to take anything for the work. This is very BAD, it makes them feel they can demand anything at any price (remember you started the business to make money).
2a. While your resources are tied up with a nickle job, you often have to pass on a dollar job, or you end up paying time and a half for over time to meet all your commitments. Again, no profit!
2. You need to standardize how files get produced. Most of all take the time to properly assess how to produce the job most effectively. 10 minutes of thought may save 2 hours of work.
3. While a lot of set-up time can be reduced with pre-press, most of the savings can be done in creating your screens. Since I don't know your equipment or the material you print (this is a big influence) I will explain it as if you have multi-colour presses and are printing hard (non-porous stock).
Create a grid for mounting positives on the screens. The closer each image on each screen is closer to each other, in other words, very little adjustment needed to register, the faster your set-ups will be. IE: If each colour is burned in the center of each screen (assuming each screen is the sme size) then when you mount them they should almost be in registration right off the bat. I hope this makes sense?
For 2/3. Poka-yoka???????????????
Are you using an imagesetter or something else?
Are you MAC or PC?
How much experience in pre-press does your shop have?
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