The definition of job:
A job is a mail package to be printed in one go. It is identified by a unique, six-digit number, which makes the package traceable throughout the whole workflow.
The definition of a control file:
Each job has a control file attached, which contains all the necessary information for processing, printing, enveloping and any special handling of the job.
The definition of a worksheet:
For every job, a worksheet is printed out first. The most important goal of the worksheet is to follow the process of the job, and serve as an accompanied page.
- The customer forwards the printing jobs and control files to be processed to the receiving server at the park of the provider using different communication channels and protocols (ADSL, leased line, VPN, ftp, sftp)
- Receiving and supervision of the files (jobs): Based on the check-up (size, consistency) of the incoming file, a receipt is created on the status of the file, which is forwarded to the customer, while also being recorded in the log file.
- Preprocessing based on the type of the files.
- Document composition of the files in the production engine in the case of raw input data. During this, printable files, archives and all electronic output files are generated based on the specification of the customer.
- If the customer can already send print-ready files, preprocessing might still be necessary (removal of empty pages, verification of paper type, correction, etc.)
- Accompanied documents and recorded deliveries are created at this stage.
- Afterwards follows the printing of the files, archiving and sending in e-mail, etc.
- After all the printing tasks, enveloping and confirmation are done.
- Mailing or bulk mailing are done next.
- Finally, the creation and mailing of the electronic postbook are done.
- Each successful step and each error are logged.
- All the main steps of the process generate an online status receipt for the purposes of tracking. The customer receives these in order to be able to control the quality of the service at any time. Examples of workphase receipts include:
- Job received
- Preprocessing done
- Creating printable file done
- Creating archive file done
- Printing done
- Enveloping done
- Mailing / Bulk mailing done
- The end of the process is marked with a generated receipt file.
The interface of the OM solution:
The OM serves the purpose of starting dispensing tasks of print-ready files received from customers or from the document composition system, surveillance and acknowledgement, creating automatic posting lists, as well as other administrative tasks.
This is where the printable files are being sent to printers. The sent files show up on the control server of the high-powered printers, where they are queued for printing.
The software may only be operated by the incumbent staff. Users may only start the program with a password. Each user is added by a unique identifier, therefore the handling of the process is stored in the worklog.
The following tasks can be done by operators using the software interface:
- Printing procedures
- Oversight of receipts
- Confirming enveloping
- Handling of mailing tasks
- Work shifts
- Printing lists
- Logging out
- Generating worklogs
The control file and the worksheet may contain the following information necessary for the process:
- Identification of the task
- Unique ID of the job
- Arrival and printing time: the date and time when the assignment and the printing has been made in our system
- Printer and operator ID: Log-in name of the operator and the ID of the printer in use at the time
- Type of job: Type of the document and the paper type used for the job
- Quantity of paper types being used
- Number of packages: the quantity of packages attached to the job, and the type of packing
- Number of attachments: Quantifying the number of attachments of the job in question
- Attachment dispenser supply: The ID of the attachment dispenser of the enveloping machine with the identification of the attachment
- Mailing type: Varies by job, e.g. Normal mailing, Recorded delivery, or not to be mailed
- Comments: Any helpful information for the process, as well as the type of the envelope used.
Most important references:
The system explained in detail above is in work at the printing parks of T-Home and T-Mobile, where our company is in charge of building and supporting the system. This output and print management system creates millions of pages of files to be printed, PDFs to be archived and Web files to be visualized each month, in 24-hour availability and use, for over 13 years.