You are already collecting Data for each job. Format it to automate and process job files. Your customers send information with their files whether it is entered on a form on your website, inside an email, gathered over the phone or existing as an order in your MIS system. All of this information can be put to good use by automating the processing of your jobs files from start to finish.
The secret is using XML (EXtensible Markup Language), a tagged data format that can be used by many systems. It is an independent tool to carry information. You don’t need programming skill to create an xml file.
a) A form on a website can be set up to save an XML file to be used anywhere in the workflow.
b) The Switch Client in Enfocus Switch can take data entered into it’s form and turn it into an XML file automatically entering a job flow.
c) A database can return information requested using a Query or Stored Procedure.
Saving and Reading (Parsing) XML files
It is as simple as dropping a file in a folder. An automation package like Enfocus Switch can watch a folder and when an XML file drops in, it can find the job it belongs to and attach the information to it. The job is now in a workflow and can travel to each step. Elements in the workflow can use data inside the XML by using a location path specified when setting up the flow. Location paths are part of Xpath, the language to step through an XML file, and locate data in these locations.
Workflow programs like Switch have an interface to allow a user without programming ability to see the data results in xml metadata. The data can be used to create profiles and actions, make decisions on the direction the file will take and/or organize work by grouping jobs for production.
Exporting XML data from Information gathered through the workflow
Data can be captured from your customer, your CSR, your production personnel, prepress, etc. The Enfocus Switch Client, part of Enfocus Switch, can capture data as it goes through the workflow. For example, Customer places the order, CSR adds production information to order using Switch Client. We now have two sets of xml data added to a job file. More data gets picked up and entered using Pitstop Server and the Switch Checkpoint and a complete picture of the jobs production is captured in XML format. This data can be exported by Switch into the Job folder and a complete data history is stored with the job. What can you do with this data? Reuse it if rework is required, use it to update data in your MIS system, archive it, the sky is the limit. This data was captured and used to automate the job process. This is a snapshot, the History of a job.
What about JDF?
JDF is a standardized form of XML. It uses the same XPath mentioned earlier and can be read the same way in the Switch User Interface. If you have XML or JDF, both can be used to automate jobs from start to finish.
Where does Switch fit in the Workflow?
Enfocus Switch has many modules so you can customize the workflow. For example, Switch is able to appear on your webpage using the Web Services module. It can also watch URLs, FTP sites, Email addresses, and Folders for incoming jobs and XML data. Once jobs arrive and are matched up with their XML data, programs such as Pitstop Server, Quite Hot Imposing, and HP DFE Job Control can be fed information from the XML data and properly preflight, impose and process the job. Bindery/Finishing information in the XML can be used to sort jobs, collect like jobs (by size, stock, cutting, folding), add extra information to flats or slipsheets and even print out custom packing slips, checklists, or kit lists.
No matter the equipment and workflow you currently run, using XML with Enfocus Switch can increase the amount of automated work in your shop.