Metrix FAQ – The Non Technical Ones
What is Metrix?
Metrix® is revolutionary, easy-to-use software that dynamically determines the most efficient, cost-effective project plans by applying its logic of optimum print practices to a database of your shop’s presses, finishing equipment, and stocks.
Metrix builds a library of the most successful project manufacturing plans, and then applies that cumulative intelligence to future projects. The result? Every Metrix operator is your smartest operator.
Metrix completely eliminates the need for outdated desktop imposition software, because Metrix project plans are converted into imposition data and sent directly into the prepress system.
Metrix introduces unprecedented automation to print workflows by seamlessly exchanging data with MIS, prepress systems, and finishing systems.
Some people call Metrix the only intelligent, automated job planning and imposition system. Others simply say, “With Metrix, work just flows.”
What kind of printing companies use Metrix?
Whether you’re a commercial printing company or an e-commerce print portal – or both – Metrix will save you time and money.
Printers producing general commercial flat and folded work.
Printers producing gang-run work – or want to do more of it.
Printers producing bound work, including saddle-stitched and perfect bound books, magazines, catalogs, pamphlets, and more.
Printers receiving orders via a Web-to-print system.
Printers producing silkscreened labels, decals, heat transfers and other promotional products.
How does Metrix work?
Before Metrix can process work for your printing plant, its database is populated to describe your manufacturing environment – your presses, binding machines, stocks – and very importantly, costing data for press time, stocks, and so on. Metrix includes a library of standard folds, but custom folds can be added, along with custom marks, customers, and for some prepress systems, workflow settings.
After the database has been set up for your manufacturing environment, each Metrix operator processes work using exactly the same information, ensuring standardized, error-free impositions. To process one or more orders, the Metrix operator enters the product specifications (finished product size, quantity, finishing characteristics, etc.) using a simple wizard, or imports these details directly from an MIS, order entry system, or website storefront system, including even custom-developed systems.
The next step is the magic. The Metrix Auto Production feature determines the most cost-effective printing method, press, sheet size, and layout for each possibility, then presents the ranked results with the calculated costs for each one. Once the solution has been selected, it can always be fine-tuned – manually or automatically using Auto Layout.
Once approved by the operator, the plan is automatically converted into imposition data and exported directly to the prepress system, using industry standard file formats (JDF, PDF) to ensure smooth integration.
The Metrix-generated plan and an accompanying report specify every detail of the project. The report includes notations of dimensioned, scaled diagrams, and identifies the product(s) to be produced, the quantity of each product, selected press equipment, stock and grain, binding equipment, and finishing details.
I heard that Metrix was only useful for gang printing.
The first versions of Metrix were indeed created to specifically solve the difficult problem of creating accurate, quick, and economical gang run layouts. In fact Metrix Software received an award for this ability. Metrix 2.0 (released November, 2006) expanded the capabilities to fulfill all the needs of a commercial sheetfed printer by introducing the ability to quickly plan bound products – both saddle and perfect bound. Successive versions of Metrix up to the current release, 2012.0, have continuously upgraded Metrix functionality to automate and rationalize a wide-ranging gamut of commercial print work.
Why should my company use Metrix?
Metrix is an elegant solution to the age-old question that faces every printer: How do I do more with less – and still grow my business? The Metrix team understands your technical, production, staffing, and business challenges. Metrix turns those challenges into opportunities.
You are faced with cutting production overhead costs
Replace your inefficient, antiquated, and costly planning and imposition tools with Metrix. Productivity will soar when your employees complete even complex planning and imposition work in a fraction of the time.
You need top talent without paying top dollar
With Metrix, every operator has access to the same knowledge pool of best practices that are built into the automated planning and imposition engine. You won’t need special operators to get optimum results.
You need to eliminate planning and imposition errors
Why pay for print re-makes and spoilage, or spend time re-working a finishing set-up to accommodate planning and imposition errors? Metrix gets it right the first time, every time.
You seek every possible opportunity to increase profits
Metrix analyses the items you need to produce and identifies the most cost- efficient approach to every project, boosting your bottom line.
You want to find and develop new business opportunities
When you speed job turnaround time with Metrix, you can take on more work – or tackle new projects that were previously considered unprofitable.
What editions of Metrix are available?
There are 3 editions of Metrix: Metrix Base, Metrix X-80, and Metrix X-8. Metrix Base can be enhanced with any or all of the six optional modules: Auto Plan, Capacity Plus, Content Previews, N-Up Binding, Barcodes, and Automation Lite or Pro.
I see a ‘Lite’ version of Metrix Automation.
Is there a non-‘Lite’ version?
Yes, it’s Metrix Automation Server. It’s very similar to the ‘Lite and Pro’ modules, except that it runs as a stand-alone application, does not use up existing Metrix licenses, and has a far higher throughput potential than Automation Lite or Pro. Visit the Learning Center for more information.
How much training does Metrix require?
Metrix requires very little training because its unique engine and advanced algorithms completely automate the most complex parts of the layout process. All of our users report that the interface is very intuitive and easy to understand. Ease of use for the operator is the foundation Metrix was built upon.
Where can I buy Metrix?
Metrix is available directly from Metrix Software, or through one of our partners.
How does Metrix compare to Kodak’s production planning product UpFront?
A simple description of how UpFront works is that the user builds a database library of layout templates that can be used to plan jobs. All jobs must find matching layouts in the database before the job can be completed. Any changes to a job require the operator to either edit an existing layout or start over creating a new one, depending on the significance of the change. In contrast Metrix can dynamically create layouts without any need for one to exist in the database.
In our opinion the UpFront approach has merit if the user predominately plans jobs that match previously created, standardized layouts. In this case the time required to build each layout may be justified because each layout will be used frequently. Metrix also has the ability to save standard layouts for re-use, but has the significant advantage that the original standard layout can be created automatically and can easily be altered within the same user-interface, that is, without changing to a different program to make changes.
Metrix also enables layouts to be used as a “one-off”, without having to be saved into the database. The most obvious example of the strength of this approach is most gang run layouts, where no layout will ever be used twice. There is absolutely no advantage to most gang run layouts being stored as a database template.
For commercial printers whose work mix is diverse and customized we believe the dynamic engine and advanced algorithms in Metrix provided a much better solution. For example, we have spoken to UpFront users who after years of using UpFront are still frequently building new layouts into the database, some requiring considerable effort. Metrix on the other hand, instantly calculates the optimal layout for each new job considering all that job’s unique product specifications – finished size, bleeds, grain direction, required quantity, etc.
We have other opinions about the ease of use of Metrix compared to UpFront, the flexibility of each (try doing even a simple gang run layout in UpFront), and the overall cost of ownership of Metrix compared to UpFront. We strongly suggest interested customers get a demonstration of both products. We have a web page suggesting some questions customers should ask when comparing Metrix to UpFront, or indeed when comparing Metrix to desktop imposition products too.
Can Metrix be licensed for multiple users?
Yes. Metrix can be licensed for either standalone or multi-user configurations. Metrix multi-user licensing is often referred to as a “floating license” architecture – install the Metrix client on as many computers as you’d like – licenses are served to clients as they are needed, and restricted to the number of concurrent users purchased.
What languages is Metrix available in?
Metrix is available in English, German, Spanish, Italian, and French. If your company is interested in using Metrix with another language please contact Metrix Software.