Everyone Needs a Little XML

Everyone Needs a Little XML

What if every file that entered your business had an automatic xml job ticket created that would follow job files, reside with the job and be backed up with the job? What if this xml job ticket could talk to your Prinergy system, photo copiers, shipping system, accounting system, website, presses, and be used to trigger automatic processing of jobs? What if it was possible for you to create an xml job ticket specifically for your needs?

Information follows every job. It is entered and re-entered, written on dockets, highlighted, typed in emails. Much of the work surrounding a job is managing the data that goes with it. Quotes, Estimates, Dockets, Scheduling, Shipping Receipts, Invoicing, Receivables, all of these take up time on a daily basis. As the orders become smaller and more frequent the concern about managing information is growing.

The way to manage information is to automate it. Automate all of it using xml data files. XML files are not large and can be filed where an automated workflow can access it. It can be stored with the job files, on a server or on the cloud. If your network can access it then so can your automation software.

Enfocus Software has all the tools to create your own custom job ticket workflow to manage your information by creating and using XML data:

• Collect information from files

• Pull in information from your MIS system

• Take in information from your online ordering system

• Set up custom job entry internally or across the internet customized for your customers

• Export xml data to initiate for printing workflows like Prinergy or Apogee

• Automatically generate and print bindery tickets, packing slips, invoices anywhere in your shop

It sounds like a lot of work but it is not. It is built on the simple xml file. This file will contain the data you need and can be exported and formatted for other systems on the fly. SWITCH 11 from Enfocus has a Metadata Module that accomplishes all the tasks related to data inside and outside of your job files. The Metadata Module allows you to pick up and attach xml, jdf or xmp data to files that are being processed in your workflow. SWITCH allows all of this data to be made available during the processing. Workflows can be designed to make decisions based on data provided by your manual or online system.

Not everyone has an online ordering system yet, many are looking to build or buy or implement one. Others may be looking for Estimating systems, MIS systems or Production Databases. No matter what the project, all of these setups should be able to communicate to and from automated workflows using xml data.

The SWITCH Client Module out of the box adds interaction by allowing Metadata to be collected when submitting a job. Whether it is information such as delivery dates, job numbers or special requests, the data can be collected using this client which works on Mac, PC or iPad. One step further is using Pitstop Connect to allow internet submission of files by customers that are directly preflighted first. Customers can enter requested metadata that will be attached to the order when arriving in your automated workflow. This data can also be exported to an xml file and saved with the job.

Other tricks with xml files use a product most printers already own. Indesign comes with a built in configurator in the configurator module in Switch 11. Install Indesign on the same server as Switch and take advantage of xml import capabilities. Create custom documents like Packing Slips, Invoices, Job Tickets, Slipsheets, Status Reports using the Indesign XML Import option. Indesign can create PDFs or print directly to any printer in the shop.

Team up Switch 11 with a barcode reader. One of the metadata elements, the XML Pickup can take a file generated by a barcode reader and use it to locate and pickup the xml data file making the perfect trigger for printing packing slips or adding information to a production database.

Each one of these ideas uses a little xml file. Xml files can be created, updated and used by an automation system like Switch 11. Once you get started with automatic information creation you can only move up from there. It is simple to create and simple to use. Any other projects you are looking at for the future will benefit from your adoption of the little xml file.