Established in 1994, Zebra’s professionalism and dedication to client service has made it one of the leading prepress companies in the UK, winning Printweek’s “Pre press Company of the Year” in 2005 and 2006. Zebra found Xinet® WebNative® Suite to be vital in helping to increase its competitive strength.
Zebra provides a full range of prepress/reprographic solutions from retouching to proofing and internet-based services. Zebra acquired Blaze Creative in 2007, increasing the company’s head count by twenty percent and enabling Zebra to provide extensive experience in the pre media production of directories, as well as additional IT and account management services. Zebra’s round-the-clock production provides its clients with fast turnaround times and competitive, quality-led prepress applications.
Zebra retains large databases of digital assets for its blue-chip clients, including the National Trust. Prior to introducing Xinet into the workflow, these assets were not in a format that could be easily viewed and reused for catalogs and brochures, as this was strictly a manual process. When Zebra began researching Digital Asset Management (DAM) solutions, asset management was still fairly new in the reprographic industry. However, as the company recognized that DAM was going to become a key industry technology it moved toward more digitally-integrated workflows. Zebra researched various DAM vendors and found that some solutions would involve a lot of additional internal work, whereas Xinet’s out-of-the-box solution was more fluid and better suited the specific needs of the company.
“We conducted a great deal of research into the various Digital Asset Management solutions on the market at the time and Xinet’s ease-of-use made it the natural choice for us. With Xinet, we can literally put our file system online instead of having to create an asset catalog. Additionally, Xinet’s solution is flexible enough to be able to grow with us as our company and needs grow,” said Paul Samuels, technical director at Zebra.
Zebra does a lot of pre-work for publishers where they need to coordinate with their own clients. With Xinet’s Triggers and Actions features, Zebra easily automates and simplifies these interactions. Zebra’s clients are set up with an upload area which includes directories, actions to control how they can move files, and where they can move files. The end users can then log onto the site, look at the file, and download it in a low-resolution format. If the client approves it, the file gets moved to the Approved folder, and an e-mail is sent saying it’s been done. If the end user disapproves, the file moves to the Unapproved folder and again, an e-mail is sent by the system to say the file has been moved to this folder. With the ease of branding Xinet WebNative, Zebra is also able to improve visibility for its own clients by allowing them to brand the WebNative site themselves.
“Zebra also structures around WebNative as well; when we first receive our client’s job and repro their page, most of our clients can then download it and work with the page we have ‘repro-ed’. All the images in place are low-res so it’s great for us. They can change the text to whatever they like, print low-res files, and re-upload that page to us. They don’t have to reposition any of the images because it’s already been done – they’re working with our files. Rather than having to work through three or four files like the old days, they can now download the InDesign or QuarkXPress file from us. We have this one file solution that is running back and forth between us at all times,” adds Samuels.
Zebra also hosts a few custom-built sites for clients using WebNative as a back-end. With Zebra’s recent implementation of Xinet WebNative Portal, it is now simpler and faster to also custom design the front-end of these sites.
“Buying WebNative Suite is probably one of the best moves we made. As an ‘out-of-the-box’ solution, Xinet does everything it says it will straight way. From the point of view of sending data to people and receiving data from people, we believe it has been very cost-effective. When we looked at Xinet’s competitors, they seem to include small innovations to their software but not any major value-adds like Xinet. With WebNative Venture’s database, Triggers and Actions, and some of the new upgrades that are coming, it’s good to know that Xinet is a company that continues to invest in new applications and is always moving forward,” says Samuels.