ESP Colour has recorded increased sales of £11.6m in 2011, and attributes the rise in revenue to its integrated KODAK Unified Workflow Solutions, and in particular KODAK PRINERGY Rules-Based Automation (RBA) Software.
The 60-strong commercial printer registers an average of 3.6 million impressions per week across a range of B2 and B1 presses. The Swindon-based company is using the full suite of integrated KODAK Unified Workflow Solutions for every print process in the cycle, from estimate to plate. ESP Colour is also using the KODAK INSITE Prepress Portal System for online job submission and remote soft proofing, KODAK PREPS 6.2 Imposition Software with JDF Certified and PRINERGY Rules-Based Automation Software templates for customized delivery. The company concluded its investment with a KODAK MAGNUS 800 Platesetter, which today is imaging up to 10,000 KODAK ELECTRA XD Thermal Plates per month.
“For us, Kodak’s workflow solutions and prepress equipment are ‘must haves’,” says Anthony Thirlby, Managing Director. “We believe Kodak has the only workflow solution that can automate our manufacturing processes using true rules-based automation functionality. Our primary focus is to fill our cost centres not our presses.”
In 2007, ESP Colour reviewed its business model and analysed its processes and job submissions – at that point there were 13 stages in its production cycle.“We needed to control the pressure points in our business,” Thirlby continues. “So in 2011 we began following a new business model based on Kodak’s innovative prepress software technologies. We now have three stages in production, each under a separate, fully accountable cost centre.
“One of the key components in the KODAK INSITE Prepress Portal System is the unique ‘secure-link’, which makes it really easy for our staff to manage projects. We send each user a link by email so they can access the project and complete each task – this speeds up the process massively.”
ESP Colour has also dramatically reduced production time by using KODAK PRINERGY Rules-Based Automation Software. PRINERGY Rules-Based Automation Software facilitates manufacturing, taking away a good percentage of day-to-day decision-making. It is a set of rules with associated templates that are filled in with the necessary information to automate the process. ESP Colour has a regular ongoing review across all of its processes from prepress into the print room and finishing – the company then utilises these RBA tools to automate each process and reduce time and wastage to create the RBA templates.
“RBA Software has completely transformed our production model,” says Thirlby. “The time savings we’re enjoying have to be seen to be believed.”
Such is ESP Colour’s success following the overhaul of its workflow and prepress that the company is being cited as an excellent example to other businesses – it was recently approached by the BPIF and Vision in Print to participate in the report ‘How are printers adapting to opportunities for prepress automation’.
ESP Colour has also adapted its business model in other ways by moving a good percentage of its work onto two new B2 presses for higher pagination and short-run work. “By moving from B1 to a B2 – a 'just-in-time’, short-run model – we can reduce the average order price,” explains Thirlby. “This shifts the overall revenue stream, and gives us smaller percentages and lowers the risk. Today, we have no client above 5% of our overall sales commitment.”
Thirlby believes Kodak has played a pivotal role in ESP Colour’s development, and will continue to do so in future. “Kodak solutions underpin our whole set-up. We believe the company is ahead of the competition in anticipating what’s around the corner for the print industry.
“We also took advantage of KODAK MARKETMOVER Business Advantage Solutions, which conducted a comprehensive evaluation of our three-step production process. Its findings informed our business and production strategies – it’s reassuring to know we’re working with a knowledgeable and dependable partner that’s committed to helping us achieve our goals.”