The most recent meeting of the Printing Industries of America's Automation Solutions Network (ASN) was held this past February in Memphis and featured a tour of Mimeo, and after that, a once-in-a-lifetime late night tour of the Fedex Global Superhub, to watch "the sort"-- when all the packages get unloaded, sorted and loaded onto new planes and then start flying out. For printing nerds, Mimeo was probably the more fun part of the visit, but no one could leave the Fedex experience without being absolutely astounded!
ASN is a great industry user group. It's a unique venue by virtue of the the presentations and tours, and just as important in my book, it's an unparalleled networking event for technical people involved in factory automation and integration projects. The group welcomes a wide range of
users of JDF-enabled systems as well as the suppliers of those systems.
The Automation Solutions Network steering committee includes printers
who have implemented successful automated workflow systems or are in
the process of doing so. There's really nothing better than talking with a peer and discovering they have the same issues you have-- or conversely, they've already solved that problem and are willing to share the solution.
The next ASN meeting will be held in Minneapolis on September 18th and 19th, 2012. There are two very special parts of the meeting agenda that are great reasons for anyone involved in print technology to attend.
First, on September 18th, there will be a tour hosted by Japs-Olson. This legendary firm was founded in 1907, and has steadily grown
to be the worldwide leader in direct mail services and commercial
printing they are today, employing more than 700 people in a facility that occupies more than 500,000 square feet operating 24/7. The company serves global customers managing campaigns from a few
thousand pieces to tens of millions. The company has long been a leader in creating and implementing automation
applications to support their continuously evolving business.
Second, my fellow Dscoop Operations committee member Bill
Wieners, president of Digital Lizard, will give a talk about his company's use of automation.If you've never heard Bill speak, I strongly encourage you to sign up for this event. Bill and I did a joint presentation to a full house at Dscoop7, the HP Graphics Arts Users Group meeting, this past March in Washington, DC. As Bill and I were planning our talk, it was startling clear how similar our approaches to automation are. Even though Digital Lizard is smaller than Mimeo, we share many of the same challenges and have approached solving those problems similarly.But different! For me, there will always be more to understand about what Bill has done, and what's he's planning on doing next. And he's an engaging speaker.
Located in a remote corner of Idaho, Digital Lizard’s experience should make every company take notice. Their Web2Print software has allowed them to scale from 175 orders
to over 400 orders per day. Automated workflows for production and back end business tasks have eliminated and reduced labor and streamlined processes. The company has 14 Indigos, and a variety of other devices and finishing equipment, but a surprising low headcount. The company was recently purchased by venerable Creel Printing in Las Vegas.
There are only 40 spots available for the meeting. I'm going to take one of them. Sign up now!