EFI User’s Connect conference featured a preview of the EFI Productivity Suite, the next step in the company’s productivity software portfolio evolution. The suite expands on EFI’s existing offerings with an even stronger focus on how customers can generate revenue and enhance efficiency and profitability using the industry’s most comprehensive portfolio of print and packaging software.
Available this quarter, the suite addresses customers’ most pressing automation and efficiency needs by moving the workflow emphasis away from individual EFI software packages and modules to a complete offering that uses best-of-suite, end-to-end workflows, certified integrations and synchronised development. As a result, printing and packaging companies can further simplify the management and operations tasks they need to grow into new markets and strategically run their businesses.
Other new offerings at Connect included:
• Unified workflow management capabilities for combined offset and digital production operations using a new Heidelberg Prinect/EFI Fiery® digital front end integration. Now, printing companies can use their familiar Prinect interface to quickly route work to offset or Fiery Driven™ digital presses while streamlining overall business processes using integrated links to EFI web-to-print and print MIS products.
• A module featuring EFI DirectSmile® technology to enable automated, template-based and data-driven variable image and document rendering within the award-winning EFI Digital StoreFront® web-to-print and eCommerce interface.
• An enhanced automation workflow, powered by AccuZIP, that uses Digital StoreFront’s web-to-print capabilities and its new variable-data printing module to automate direct mail production tasks from order entry through mail processing and check out.
EFI Connect’s solutions centre included a complete portfolio EFI workflow and digital print production software. Attendees also saw an exhibit of versatile, energy-efficient LED inkjet technology with 3.2m roll-to-roll and 2m, 7-picolitre UltraDrop™ hybrid roll/flatbed EFI VUTEk® printers, along with an entry-level, 1.6m EFI Wide Format production printer. At the conference, 3M Commercial Graphics exhibited a vehicle wrapped in graphics produced using a co-developed EFI and 3M ink that offers increased flexibility and elongation characteristics traditionally not seen with UV inkjet inks.
EFI Connect also featured numerous exhibits from partner companies, including Xerox, an exclusive platinum sponsor for the conference; gold sponsors Canon and Kodak, and bronze sponsors 3M Commercial Graphics, AccuZIP, BCC Software, Esko, ESP/SurgeX, Honle UV America, Heytex Corp, Konica Minolta, MBM Corp, the Print and Graphics Scholarship Foundation, Ricoh Production Print and Zünd.
‘The thing that works best about EFI Connect is the fact that our customers are very engaged, and they foster collaboration with EFI employees and partners better than any other industry event I have attended,’ said EFI’s CEO, Guy Gecht. ‘With over 200 classes and the line-up of keynote sessions, technology exhibits, and networking opportunities taking place, this event brings our customers and staff together for an important, face-to-face opportunity to learn, strategise and re-fuel to go after even greater business success in 2015.’
EFI Connect is the printing industry’s best venue for open dialogue and idea exchange, giving global business leaders a valuable opportunity to participate in educational sessions, receive hands-on experience, discuss industry trends, network with peers, voice their opinions, and learn from others.
One regular Connect attendee, Brian Thompson, co-owner of Seattle Printworks, attended the conference to gain the insights on business management strategies.
‘Just like most printing companies, our run-length volumes are going down, even though the number of jobs we produce is going up,’ said Thompson. ‘While that trend seems like a threat, the invaluable networking opportunities Connect offers where we can have detailed discussions with similar businesses who are not direct competitors help us fine-tune our workflow and operations so we are earning more money on every sheet we print.
‘Seattle Printworks reallocated the budget we used to devote to outside consultants to attend Connect,’ Thompson added, ‘because Connect offers us technical training and the best type of consulting honest advice from our peers, all in one event.’