BackgroundSomerset County Council operates a print and IT centre at its headquarters in Taunton, Somerset where documents including payroll are sourced from a large number of internal and external departments.
ChallengeWith large quantities of pre-printed stationery being used, Somerset CC wanted to save money, space, paper and time by replacing much of it with electronic counterparts. However, no provision for integrating forms was available on Somerset’s VME mainframe or UNIX and Windows servers, so an automated post host solution was required.
SolutionFollowing the successful integration of a number of other print-room solutions , IDS was instructed by Somerset County Council to implement a cost-effective system for overlaying electronic stationery on certain print jobs. For details about the previous integration, please refer to the IDS case study – Somerset CC Gains Flexible and Dynamic Printing.
Despite having access to a number of document composition packages such as Formscape, IDS decided to meet the Somerset CC challenge by implementing an inexpensive software application from Funasset called FormServer (part of Funasset's TN Interface solution).
With other Funasset products already in use at Somerset CC, integration of FormServer was quick and seamless.
"The modular design of FormServer enabled us to install it on the TN8000 Interface alongside SpoolQ and PageBuilder (part of Funasset TN Interface solution) without fuss," states Mark Dowson, Senior Consultant for IDS. "All we needed to do to get the system up and running was to configure the software so that when it received a print job it knew what electronic stationery should be overlaid."
The distinct advantage of FormServer is its ability to use electronic stationery created in any Windows based DTP, design or word processing package such as Quark, Illustrator, CorelDraw or Word.
"Somerset are able to use existing applications and electronic stationery already designed for the purpose of press-ready artwork," states Mark. "Not only does this keep staff training and development costs down, it also means that anyone can create a form using an application they are already familiar with!"
"The forms design facility has proved particularly useful for the police," states Gary Dickens, Operations Manager for Somerset CC. "It means that if someone in one of the police departments wants to generate a purchase order, they can do it from their desktop and submit it to the Somerset system."
Gary continues: "The print data is received by FormServer and the appropriate form overlay is selected. A PCL print file is then created and passed to SpoolQ which routes it to the user’s printer complete with the form. It now means that there is no need for pre-printed stationery and no need for our operations staff to be involved in the process!"
- Saves Money
Expensive press-ready artwork and press printing is no longer required.
- Saves Space
Reams of pre-printed stationery no longer take up value print-room real estate.
- Saves Paper
Reams of pre-printed stationery is no longer wasted when details such as telephone numbers and names change.
- Saves Time
Operators no longer have to load and unload pre-printed stationery to and from paper trays.
- Minimal Training
Existing DTP and word processing applications are used to generate the forms.
No hardware or software changes required on the hosts or printers.
- Minimal 'down-time'
Modular design of FormServer results in quick and seamless integration alongside other FunAsset applications.