At Funky Pigeon, you’ll find a huge range of unique cards and gifts online, many of which can be personalized with their easy to use online editor.
“As cards and gifts are usually given on very special occasions, you don’t want something off the shelf, but something bespoke that shows something of yourself,” John Symonds, IT Solutions Manager at Funky Pigeon explains. “We specialize in helping you create a memorable and keepsake present or card for any occasion. However, being active in this market, often means high volumes and short deadlines. So having a good automated workflow for large volumes is crucial.”
When Funky Pigeon first contacted Four Pees, it was to replace their aging workflow system that was no longer supported. This entailed two important challenges – this workflow had been operational for many years and had over time been extended and refined, and secondly their workflow processed a very large volume of files for a very diverse set of products.
“Replacing an existing workflow is always a challenge,” muses Andy Banks, Sales UK & Ireland at Four Pees. “You can’t afford downtime to an essential workflow system, and you have to make sure the replacement solution is efficient and optimized from day one. That made this project a bit more ‘exciting’. And because of the high volume of jobs, the average throughput time per job was especially important.”
For these reasons the project was implemented using two core technologies. callas pdfToolbox CLI was selected for PDF handling, and Enfocus Switch to build the necessary automated workflows. pdfToolbox includes a very efficient and highly configurable imposition engine which proved ideal to batch incoming jobs and their job tickets.
Enfocus Switch offers a flexible automation platform that not only allowed to implement the immediate needs but is dynamic enough to support additional demands going forward. This made the new system ready for the future.
“Our hope at the beginning of the project, was to find a one-on-one replacement,” explains Tom Skinner, IT Services at Funky Pigeon: “Luckily Four Pees challenged us on this and insisted to look at the unique properties of Switch and pdfToolbox. Where our old system was only semi-automated and required frequent manual intervention to handle the volume correctly, the new workflow handles such optimizations in a completely automated fashion. While products are important, much more critical for us was to find a partner who would think with us in that way. We want to end up with the best solution in the end.”
The flexibility of the implemented platform came to light again, when it became clear there was a problem with the EFI Fiery that occasionally would “drop” jobs. In such a high-volume workflow, making sure all jobs are printed correctly 100% of the time is crucial.
Luckily, Switch comes with the ability to connect to APIs, and connecting to the Fiery log files allowed cross-checking those logs with the jobs moving through the workflow. This in turn made it possible to easily identify potentially problematic jobs in an automated fashion.
With three Switch and pdfToolbox installations, running in a state-of-the-art virtualized environment, Funky Pigeon is more than ready to take on the future. Even when their job volume peaked dramatically at certain times throughout last year, the workflow kept pace effortlessly.