Lawk Salih's VT Blog

Lawk Salih's personal blog on VT.Edu.


Offset Print Manufacturing Workflow

Cacon Print LogoCacon Print House Production Workflow Project

Prior to my current position as Global Manager of Information Technology with Search for Common Ground, I held the position of Director of Information Technology with Cacon Print House–a full offset printing service manufacturer offering a variety of printing choices.  At Cacon, I took the initiative to introduce a seamless process for the technology stack utilized from acquisition of customers to the order processing, and delivery.  To help make the process a reality, I worked closely with the management and production team to document and thoroughly test a workflow process that’s easy to follow and saves time and cost to the customers of Cacon Print House.

Cacon Print House offered a full range of offset services including magazines, posters, booklets and much more as shown below. The paper selection ranged between 35GSM – 450GSM.

Order Initiation Workflow Process

The process I helped mitigate and introduced to the restructure the operational effectiveness of Cacon’s capabilities followed a step of procedures that were successful in terms of speed, quality, and cost not only for Cacon’s operational management but also helped Carson’s customers save money and time.

The initial order was be made via the Internet (email or FTP), CD, or flash drive delivered to the production facility. The process consisted of the following steps:

Workflow Steps

Step 1—Design and Production Process

Within the workflow process, the customer’s order was received by the production team to be reviewed technically and readied for processing. The production team reviewed the customer’s order with the most advanced hardware and software of the Heidelberg Manufacture to assure the delivery of near-perfect quality.

Step 2—Computer-to-Plate (CTP) Process

Design and production department then submitted/transferred the order to the Computer-to-Plate process using Heidelberg’s latest and advanced plating process.

Step 3—Paper and Ink Selection Process

The print masters selected paper and ink type and quality during this step specified in the initial order.

Step 4—Offset Process

During this process, the ink is applied to the plate to form an image/artwork then transferred to a blanket using an interface within our networked-group of Heidelberg equipment. This cutting-edge technology helped deliver faultless products to our customers.

Step 5—Folding Process

Using Heidelberg’s Stahlfolder, each printed sheet was folded to the specific measurement and requirement. With the ability to deliver 12,000 folds per hour, the Heidelberg equipment perfectly folded the customer’s requirement to the specific measurement it requested.

Step 6—Collection and Binding Process

After step 6, came the collection process where all of the folded sheets were collected into magazines and stitched or glued with its cover using Heidelberg’s Stitchmaster and Eurobind. This process is used mostly with magazines, booklets, books, and etc.

Step 7—Cutting/Trimming Process

Using Heidelberg’s Polar Cutter, the design or product was cut to any specifics or measurements.

Step 8—Delivery Process

The final product was readied and delivered to the customer’s warehouse.


Why I Started My Graduate Program

I am enrolled in the Master’s Degree in Information Technology with focus on Business Information Systems at Virginia Tech University to help me develop my business leadership and management skillsVirginia Tech Commencement.  I envision this program providing a stepping-stone to becoming the Chief Technology Officer for a major trade association or private firm within the Washington, D.C. metro area.

My career experience to date has exposed me to a wide range of contemporary IT challenges facing businesses and trade associations and has allowed me to develop the skills and knowledge to design, develop, manage and troubleshoot complex IT systems. I have also excelled at training and managing small technical teams to implement these operations. However, to reach the next level of technical and professional development, I need more in-depth exposure to the role of business leadership and management in IT design and implementation.  The MIT program at Virginia Tech will help me accomplish this mission.

I especially looked forward to the core course, MGT 5804: Strategic Leadership in Technology-Based Organizations. At Cacon, I participated in crafting corporate and business strategies in which our technology provided the basis for the firm’s competitive advantage. We had successes in innovation but our efforts sometimes fell short of our expectations. I want to learn how to build better action plans that resolve the root problems based on a better understanding of why they developed in the first place. In addition, it is likely that my future work will involve streamlining processes for a nonprofit organization seeking to migrate from an on-premise architecture to the cloud.

In conclusion, I look forward to using my academic experience to take my professional development to the next level. I have risen up the ranks of several companies and trade association from web developer to managing development teams and most recently to Global Manager of Information Technology for an organization of 700+ employees globally.  The next stage is to become a chief technology officer at a major firm or trade association. With the assistance of this wonderful program, I can reach my career goal. For a refugee from Iraq who has assimilated to American culture, it would be a dream come true.