With eight daily newspapers in northeast Pennsylvania and almost a half-dozen alternative publications spread across the eastern United States and Saint Thomas, Times-Shamrock Communications needed a robust toning center to handle its growing workload.
They found it in Color Factory, provided by Software Consulting Services, LLC (SCS).
Created by FotoWare of Norway and sold in North America by SCS, Color Factory's toning center is essentially a one-step process that offers automatic reproduction and image enhancement, format conversion, sorting and duplication, PDF processing, automatic metadata processing, scalability and advanced file routing to print clients throughout the world.
The strength and flexibility of the package, which includes SmartColor for automatic color enhancement and SmartClean for noise reduction, color saturation and contrast, has enabled papers across the United States and Canada to cut costs and improve quality of their photo reproduction in both print and on-line products.
"We did not reduce manpower but we did increase our workload. Additionally, Color Factory is also embedded into our Ad Tracking system, as well," said Michelle Ross, Publishing Services Manager for Times-Shamrock, explaining that Color Factory is used to standardize photos and convert them to PDF for publication on the company's various publication websites. "Everything is workflow-based without a lot of manual intervention. Everything just flows through the system."
As the publisher of the Times-Tribune, Citizens Voice and Standard-Speaker in northeastern Pennsylvania, the Virgin Island Daily News and alternative publications in locations as disparate as San Antonio, Detroit, Baltimore and St. Thomas, the company needed a strong system when it looked to replace an aging software package that was no longer able to keep up with the company's growth, Ross said..
Despite their broad geographic spread, they were able to put in workflow management technology that offered significant efficiencies. "We are very, very integrated here," Ross said, adding that Color Factory is used even for promotional and related materials for the company's radio stations.
Kurt Jackson, Vice President of Operations for SCS, said the company has been distributing Color Factory for about 10 years. The timely introduction of the SmartColor package five years ago proved a boon for many newspapers that at the same time were starting to wrestle with significant revenue losses as more advertising went electronic. SmartColor expanded the capability of Color Factory's toning center applications beyond a single publication and gave them the opportunity to transition to automated work flow in the toning area for multiple publications, Jackson said.
The biggest advantage to the program is the one-step toning capability, which has allowed many clients to reduce staff while improving quality. "The work we are saving there is what would have been done by the photographers or toning staff. The biggest benefit I see coming down the pike is for consolidation efforts," Jackson says. "The system provides incredible value when you consider the FTE savings and quality automation and toning"
Color Factory is used by clients such as Getty Images in Seattle, Wash., where all incoming photos are routed through the system; and the Toronto Globe & Mail, where 97 percent of all photos now go through SmartColor for toning that previously required a staff of seven, Jackson said.
Another newspaper that has taken advantage of the consolidation benefits is Tulsa World in Oklahoma.
"It's been fantastic," said Tulsa Pre-Press Manager David Bridges. "It eliminated the need for eight employees, but we were probably over-staffed when we got it.
"The routing capability inside Color Factory is fantastic. If you can think it, you can do it," he continued, noting the streamlining and versatility of the software as the chief benefits. "The routing gives us all sorts of different options and the speed is unbelievable. We have spoiled our newsroom with this."
Originally published 2012-10-31