The Solutions Group is known for identifying more efficient ways of doing business. Better efficiency is at the core of our approach to solving problems. Depending on the goal, sometimes we’ll recreate existing processes—or integrate new ideas. Sometimes we invent entirely new tools to help a client succeed.
One particular area we continue to innovate is processing variable data. Our goal is to make tools that handle the largest amount data in the simplest—and automated—possible way. We’ve published a white paper and blog post on variable data workflows in the past—which showcase large scale, fully-automated workflows we’ve created for our clients; however, it’s important to highlight a technology we’ve developed that is largely responsible for thousands of variable print materials. We call this tool PDF+.
PDF+ is an automation tool that allows us to more closely interact with Adobe InDesign when creating variable data prints. The PDF+ tool allows our clients to simply upload their templates and data files, and our tool places the data in the relevant fields. Instead of manually adding variable data (customer name, addresses, etc.) to individual prints, the PDF+ tool sorts the data and applies it to the fields of the template without any human intervention.
We saw an opportunity to create this tool when we found most companies were creating marketing material templates through Adobe InDesign. We started by creating a series of scripts and methodologies for working inside of InDesign. We saw an opportunity to automate further by creating a tool devoted to handling variable data. Prior to the PDF+ tool, our workflow required lots of time to pre-process the print templates. It greatly slowed down the variable print’s time-to-market.
One of the major accomplishments of PDF+ is how it allows us to increase our scale of production while saving time and money for our clients. By using this tool, we’re able to provide exact specifications to our client’s design team on where certain data fields need to be placed. The templates become a map of where the data needs to be dropped. Once the template and data file are uploaded, our tool arranges the variable data in proper fields. The end-user simply confirms the materials are accurate and ready-to-print.
PDF+ technology helps us create variable data print materials for a range of different businesses. The beauty of this technology is how it can be applied to many types of variable prints: automotive promotions, healthcare invoices, restaurant menus, non-profit and many examples. TSG is always looking for ways to improve our processes. This tool is one of many innovations developed by The Solutions Group.