Last month #45 presented three proofing resolutions for the New Year that I promised to expand upon in subsequent golden nuggets. Resolution #1 stated that you should “Increase productivity by decreasing time wasted to re-print bad proofs.” Sounds simple and guess what, it actually is.
First, you must start measuring the color bar you output on every proof with process control software like ColorMetrix that allows for analysis of the historical data utilizing a built in trending module or exported data into an application like excel. By doing this over a period of time (a week at minimum, but a month would be better), you will be able to determine the normal variation of your proofing process. Not every proofing system has the same normal variation, nor do any two similar proofing systems have identical variation. Once you know what the normal variation is you can begin to set reasonable and achievable tolerance levels for you proofing system.
Next, you may not care for the tolerance levels that the previous step of this process is directing you to set. That is OK. We now have meaningful historical data which will allow us to make process improvements. Instead of someone saying that I don”€™t like that inkjet proofing paper vendor xyz is providing, you can dig into the database and see that in fact the inkjet proofing paper vendor xyz is providing has a delta E variation beyond what you are willing to accept over a months time. The key is that you will be making process changed based upon objective fact, not subjective opinions.
The process changes you make will continue to improve the ongoing process, resulting in fewer and fewer defective proofs. Each defective proof you are no long making has a cost savings associated with it. When you add up all these little cost savings you can quickly calculate the return on investment (ROI) of your hard copy color proofing process control software solution. In our experience the entire cost of the system is recovered in less than one month in many cases.
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