Tilia Labs develop software for imposition, nesting, planning and estimation and their flagship is called Phoenix. In the article I won’t go into details about the software since I am not qualified for that, however, what I would like is to talk more about generic challenges in the printing industry and why I believe Tilia Labs could be something you should investigate a bit more. Regardless of what printing technology you are using in your company, you do imposition. Some companies still do imposition manually, but most printing companies use various kind of software solutions – either as part of the software delivered with their printing equipment or from third-parties like Tilia Labs. Most printing companies probably have good software for handling this, however, in a changing world, requirements change. Mostly the development is incremental, and you can manage to solve your most basic needs with the support of updates from your current vendor. Sometimes, however, changes in customer demands simply need new solutions – and this is where I believe Tilia Labs’ approach is worth consideration.
Phoenix uses AI (Artificial Intelligence) to impose rather than templates that most other solutions do. This eliminates entirely the need for staff to create templates. If you think about this for a minute, this is something that is aligned with the changes in customer behavior. Most printers experience lower print run and more jobs, and to be profitable, you have to optimize your production to the new situation. The nesting part makes the investment even more interesting since printers with large format print know that material cost can be costly. Acrylic, metal, wood, board, and even more expensive substrates are nested in a way that minimizes the waste to an absolute minimum.
Many printing companies use the workflow solutions that are delivered with their equipment and end up with many different solutions and a complex decision pattern when a project is planned. With products like Phoenix, you become independent from vendor-specific workflow solutions, and secondly, you’ll end up with a solution where imposition can be done up to last-minute.
What surprises me, is why more printers aren’t using tools like Phoenix? Tilia Labs are successful but compared to how many printing companies out there, it of course, still is a relatively small base of users. My own conclusion is that investing in software is way more demanding and complicated compared to hardware. If you are pitched by a company, who want to sell you a new ERP or MIS system most CFO’s, CTO’s and CEO’s starts getting ticks around their eyes. This is not an easy decision, and the grounds for changing software should be very valid. I think it often comes down to the same with pre-press software – not so easy and for many, they don’t see the bottlenecks?
However, as mentioned previously the market is changing, customers are changing, technology is changing, so to some extent, you simply must try to identify the bottlenecks you have and therefore you will also have to look into what solutions can help you.
Most printing companies understand the necessity to invest in new printing technology to deliver quality, speed, and because of this being competitive. I believe that Phoenix and their likes (if there is any) can do a tremendous change for you – and I build my belief from a film we did for Enfocus and Tilia labs back in January 2018. In the film we did, Solutions Architect Diego Diaz from The Bernard Group, tell you why Enfocus Switch and Tilia Labs has made such a big difference for The Bernard Group. The Bernard Group is 650 people plus large company only printing digitally in both small and large format – but take a look at the film, you’ll find it here.