One of the biggest highlights of Connect 2015 was the introduction by EFI of the Productivity Suite strategy for packaging, enterprise commercial print and mid-market print. The idea is geared towards providing better end-to-end solutions and be a major enabler for integrating disparate workflow products into mainstream integrated solutions. During the Connect 2016, which was held in Las Vegas from 19 to 22 January, EFI debuted three new Productivity Suites for the quick printing, publication print and corrugated packaging segments.During his keynote, before detailing about the Productivity Suite for the corrugated packaging segment, Gabriel Matsliach, senior vice president and general manager, EFI Productivity Software made the following observations, “Packaging is a growing market whether it is tags and labels, flexible packaging, folding cartons or corrugated. Within packaging digital starts becoming an important factor to a different extent in these different market segments. For some it is at an advanced stage and for some segments it is at an early stage. But this is happening and there is no way back. So our responsibility is to provide better support for digital capabilities for packaging offerings.”
With this responsibility and obligation in mind, EFI last year, made the move of acquiring Corrugated Technologies Incorporated (CTI), a leading provider of manufacturing execution software for the corrugated packaging market that has extended its offering in recent years to also include business and management capabilities, creating a leading software offering for sheet feeders, sheet plants, and full corrugated box plants. The Productivity Suite for the corrugated packaging segment is evidently an extension of that move “Corrugated is a market of opportunity. We thought that we are obliged, as a market leader, to have good capability and technology to provide end-to-end workflow for corrugated packaging. Therefore, we made the move by acquiring CTI and to use that technology and know-how to be able to provide the corrugated suite,” said Matsliach
The corrugated suite is an attempt to provide an end-to-end corrugated business and productivity workflow capabilities to both sheet feeders, sheet plants, and full corrugated box plants by providing ERP capabilities combined with manufacturing execution system capabilities. On the ERP side there are many of the things that are well-known like order acquisition and order promising, estimating, job costing, tooling, purchasing, accounting and invoicing. “Order promising is a big driver and a complex capability to offer in the corrugated space these days. So it’s a very round-up capability around the basic business system and the ERP support,” Matsliach stressed. On the manufacturing side there are multiple elements that would be very relevant to corrugated plants but also for some folding carton customers that have some corrugated plants in their overall mix. It offers corrugated scheduling and trimming, plant converting scheduling and planning, data collection and direct machine interface (DMI), roll stock inventory management, shipment planning, finished goods tracking and supply chain execution. As stressed earlier by Matsliach, digital is a big driver and EFI is making investments to bring in stronger digital capabilities into the package by the second quarter of 2016. It will be leveraging Fiery in terms of connectivity for some digital devices. “So it’s a very robust offering with elements that can be provided as an end-to-end workflow as well as standalone element that can enhance an existing environment,” concluded Matsliach.