Not so long ago converters seeking a complete production workflow from job receipt to color management to accounting and MIS could either rely on a software suite from a single vendor or use a mix of incompatible products. This puts users in the position of using tools ranging from great to mediocre. Even within single-vendor software suites, some tools served specific needs well while other tools limited what could be done. Because integration with third-party software was usually not an option, workarounds were business as usual. This is still the case for many converters, limiting productivity, hampering efficiency, and increasing costs. Does any of this sound familiar?
The alternative is a cooperative and modular approach with software from two or more independent companies that lets state-of-the-art products work together. The result is best-in-class solutions for addressing practical production challenges and delivering bottom-line value for printers and converters. This is the power of smart alliances.
Extending the Gamut
GMG Color and Hybrid Software, for example, have virtually no overlap in their software offerings. Yet, the collaboration of the two firms recently produced a complete Extended Color Gamut (ECG) solution that revolutionizes packaging prepress. GMG is recognized as a global leader in color management for all types of packaging, while Hybrid provides the workflow that makes ECG part of a comprehensive solution by providing the best possible colors on most types of packaging. The new solution combines the predictive profiling technology of GMG OpenColor with Hybrid’s PACKZ, a native PDF prepress tool. Working with Hybrid PACKZ, GMG Open Color can represent process builds or overprints containing more than four channels.
GMG’s Open Color software couldn’t transform Extended Gamut printing if it was limited to the four colors allowed by competitive solutions,” explains Mike Rottenborn, President of Hybrid Software. “With PACKZ we have open systems and produce native PDF files that are ready to RIP and support blends and overprints containing any number of colors.”
Unlike other firms with similar offerings, there are no proprietary elements in Hybrid’s software. This enables Hybrid to work with GMG and also lets it augment single-vendor software suites with features and capabilities those products lack.
Both medium-sized companies, GMG and Hybrid each have strong reputations with their customers and are known for developing and delivering revolutionary products. Strengthening their alliance is a shared DNA for being fast-moving, innovative, and offering complementary products. “We like and get along well with our customers and we listen to them,” notes Marc Welch, Director of Strategic Accounts at GMG. “That helps make the products better. As a result, the solutions we bring to market are elegant and designed to address real-world needs, adding capability that isn’t available in the suites of software from the big brands.”
Some advantages of the GMG and Hybrid alliance are evidenced by how users interact with the products. “We’ve found that even inexperienced users can become productive quite quickly,” recounts Welch. “This lets us add value with minimal disruption to existing workflows.”
“When we see this and see how customers can do more, more easily, we believe we have a best-in-class solution that isn’t available with the big box suites on the market,” adds Rottenborn.
“The legacy software companies want their offerings to be a one-stop solution,” says Jeff Skolnik, Digital Business Analyst at Anderson & Vreeland, the only company offering the full range of software from both GMG and Hybrid. “But that only works if the products are the best in the market.”
What makes PACKZ, Open Color and the other offerings of GMG and Hybrid especially interesting is that although they are not currently integrated into the closed legacy systems that have dominated the market, they bring compelling value to any type of packaging operation.
“Many converters have invested in one of the big software suites from a leading vendor but still struggle with certain tasks and in some cases can’t do all their customer requires,” continues Skolnik. “So they buy a seat or two of Hybrid PACKZ and GMG Open Color to get access to state-of-the-art solutions.”
For example, a converter can use GMG to prepare a 10-color file for printing. Some of the work is being done in Hybrid PACKZ, with all the separations and color management taking place in GMG. Then the print-ready file—which is a native PDF from Hybrid—can go back to the press’s RIP or the RIP in the software suite.
Ask your Anderson & Vreeland representative how using the Extended Color Gamut solution from GMG and Hybrid can help transform your prepress and production operations with the power of a smart alliance.