New Life for Legacy Print Systems

Companies have invested millions of dollars acquiring, learning, and modifying software and hardware components they use to create and distribute high volume documents. In almost every case, document operations feature software and machines from several vendors. Getting all the components to work together in a smooth, automated workflow that boosts productivity and maintains security can be a challenge, particularly when some of those components are several generations old.

One solution to this problem is replacing aging hardware and software with modern alternatives. But that is expensive and disruptive, and it’s not always necessary. A better approach is making those familiar, and often fully depreciated, tools work together by adding a layer of control.

In the old days, managers of print and mail facilities faced serious challenges when they attempted to optimize their production workflow. Equipment vendors wrote their own proprietary controllers for the machines, and they were incompatible with other equipment on the production floor. Xerox metacode printers couldn’t process IBM’s AFP print streams, or Bell + Howell inserters wouldn’t recognize Pitney Bowes’ mail run data files, for example. Some compatibility issues still exist.

Fortunately, a new genre of controlling software was developed to handle the challenge of managing production workflows featuring legacy equipment and applications.  Vendor-agnostic control systems like Racami’s Alchem-e™ platform make it possible to avoid expensive hardware replacements and software upgrades. An end-to-end production control system can handle any of the file conversions or integrations necessary to make all the components work together, even if some of them are showing their age.


Handling New Demands

As document operations become more complex and organizations strive to achieve the digital transformations necessary to handle the demands of customers, print and mail organizations need help. New requirements for document integrity, tracking, multi-channel output, and white paper document factories make it difficult for print/mail production facilities to keep up with market requirements while continuing to leverage their investments in older technology that is expensive to replace.

Workflow control systems like Alchem-e™ connect all the hardware and software in a single facility or across multiple sites. The software tracks jobs and documents, reporting real-time status of the work as it is processed. Management dashboards and reports make it easy to react to unforeseen events such as a machine going down. This technology helps managers balance the work among the entire fleet of production equipment.

All the data transfer and conversion activity that must occur when a job progresses from one step to the next can be fully automated. Productivity increases and quality rises.

Not only does a platform like Alchem-e™ improve operations, but it can even enable an organization to offer services that would have been otherwise impossible. Multi-channel output is a good example. Real multi-channel processing involves more than simply creating PDFs along with print. In many applications, organizations give each document recipient a choice about how they want to receive their documents. The management of such preferences can be difficult without an overriding system to access those preferences, route output to the proper channels, and track the documents as they are processed. A system that integrates all the processes from data receipt to output distribution is necessary in such an environment.

Before you shop for new print/mail hardware or software, see what your present assets can do when running under the control of systems like Racami’s Alchem-e™. Stretch your investment in your production components by adding a layer that ties them all together and helps you satisfy the demands of a modern-day digital world. Schedule a demo here to learn more about Alchem-e™.