Binary Graphics, Inc.

Establishing Disk Check-in Procedures

by John Knapp, Binary Graphics, Inc. Seattle
© 1997 Binary Graphics, Inc. All rights reserved worldwide.

For years, I have been saying that printers should have a check-in workstation outside the production department, which their customer service personnel uses to check-in desktop jobs. Simply put, check-in is the act of loading the disk and making sure all required fonts and graphics are there. This simple procedure makes sure that your production staff will never waste their time on a job that isn't complete.

Hardware Requirements for Check-in Workstation

  • Mac and/or PC running all desktop applications your customers use
  • Font management utility like Suitcase
  • Assorted Zip, SyQuest, Optical drives to receive customer disks
  • EtherNet connection to the prepress network and file servers

Basic Desktop Job Check-in Workflow (Customer Service Responsibilities)

  1. All incoming disks come to check-in department (instead of production)
  2. Check-in occurs during the first hour the job is in the plant
  3. Contents of disk loaded onto check-in workstation
  4. Carry out check-in procedure (see below)
  5. If incomplete, hold job, call customer and get missing elements
  6. If complete, transfer job to prepress server and tell production staff that work may begin
  7. Create record in the desktop job tracking database

Desktop Job Check-in Procedure

  1. Create job folder on workstation
  2. Load disk contents into this folder
  3. Put all graphics and layouts in one folder, eliminate any graphics sub-folders
  4. Bring customer fonts on-line
  5. Open layout files and note any error messages while opening (missing fonts/graphics will cause an error message)
  6. Verify graphic linking/picture usage status "OK" on all graphics
  7. Verify font usage shows all fonts present and on-line
  8. List missing elements and get them from the customer
  9. Add missing elements into job folder and re-verify
  10. Close file and take fonts off-line
  11. Transfer job to prepress department

There are major benefits in efficiency and productivity waiting for any plant that implements this simple procedure. The equipment cost is minimal and there is a net time savings for the plant. I would be happy to talk with anyone who wants help implementing these procedures.



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