Just the Ticket
MetaCommunications' Virtual Ticket helps NCL Graphics do away with paper-based job tickets.
NCL Graphics has been operating from Elk Grove, IL, for 30 years. Fortunately, for this high-end color separator and catalog page assembler, its job just got easier.
Producing more than 150 jobs each week and operating three shifts, six days a week requires extensive management and perfected planning. Frank Miceli, a technical specialist with NCL's production department, attributes the company's success to Virtual Ticket, a job management software program developed by MetaCommunications, Iowa City, IA.
"What we do with Virtual Ticket," Miceli explains, "is we use it to eliminate a lot of paper." NCL uses the client-server software to e-manage its plethora of digital assets.
Within the production environment, NCL runs both Macintosh and PC workstations, as well as Sun Microsystems and Windows NT Servers. Miceli says that in order to track the enormous volume of work that passes through each stage of production, NCL uses Virtual Ticket and Job Manager with Job Cost Plus, also by Meta-Communications, to ticket projects for about 50 concurrent users.
Major features of the Virtual Ticket software include a detailed history of document changes; digital asset management by folder; smart tools that enable users to move around the system and folders seamlessly; online retrieval of files; pre-built libraries for storage and smart security defining access privilege. The latest upgrade, Virtual Ticket 2.2, offers new features, including extended, full-size Quark and EPS file previews.
To ensure that each facet of production operates efficiently, Virtual Ticket literally feeds customized instructions to each production operator throughout the duration of a work cycle.
"Prior to implementing Virtual Ticket, employees were constantly searching to locate paper job tickets," recalls Miceli. "[The software] streamlined our entire production workflow."
Since installing the solution, almost every paper-based job ticket and quality-control form—each job may consist of thousands of files for a total of more than 2 million digital files being managed each year—have been put online. This allows for instant access to job information, where amendments and progress are recorded and tracked.