Turn the Page
"But the biggest advantage is that it's Web based," he reports. "A magazine's production person can go through the Web and grab ads using a shopping-cart function. Before, they had to request that ads be put on the server." Now, when ads are submitted, they are routed automatically through Portfolio and made available through Portfolio's Port-web Web interface. Users can search and download ads directly from Web browsers. This summer, Healy plans to upgrade the solution by adding an SQL Connect module to allow easier integration with other databases and to facilitate insert orders.
In retrospect, Healy stands by Penton's look-before-leaping attitude toward CTP: "It was important that we had a workflow structure along with digital ad standards, both accredited and closed-environment, in place before getting into CTP," he maintains. "Now, ongoing training, both internally and externally, is critical. … Another key to our success has been the new single-page raster workflow," he continues. "It is the most cost-effective, streamlined process for CTP. We're making computer-to-plate-ready files internally, which get RIPed once and can be output [for multiple purposes]. Sure, we could give a printer application files and let them do the prep work, but that would add to their schedule and cost more."
Healy continues to refine the process. "We still have to modify the workflow to allow for exceptions or special services to ads," he notes. "We want our CTP department to be focused on production, not doing creative work. Overall, the workflow has been much more efficient on the front end," Healy declares. "We're four to five days faster per title, especially because we don't have to wait for proofs.
CTP urban myths
"A lot of people say there are no cost savings with CTP, but they're wrong," he remarks. "With CTP, the printer is getting more jobs on press, the publisher eliminates film and stripping costs. Everybody saves time, and time is money."