by Dimitri Van Gaever
Xeikon has been a partner of TagG since the beginning of the millennium. And that is for several good reasons. First of all, both companies have innovation and development in their DNA. While TagG was working on the development of a specific controller to support unique features, Xeikon delivered a front-end that was able to cooperate with the controller. No other supplier was capable of doing that in the early 2000’s. The combination delivered a unique solution to use IPDS workflows to print full colour digitally at the highest possible quality in 5 colours.
How to choose a digital press?
Hervé Lesseur, CEO of TagG Informatique, has a very clear view of what criteria a digital production press must meet: “The single most important property of a printing press is the print quality it delivers. For my customers, it is crucial that printed documents look great, so there can be no compromise on quality, and the Xeikon 9800 produces the perfect quality for them. In addition, the cost of producing a document is of absolute importance so print costs must stay under control. The press should be robust and reliable. Timely delivery of documents is expected even when the data to print is available last minute.
Even the best press needs service, and reliable and qualitative service provided by the supplier should complement its robustness. To close our list, ease-of-use to print is a must-have.”
Hervé Lesseur continues: “The Xeikon press, in particular, is excellent at creating high-value print documents. It relies on dry toner technology and the way Xeikon has exploited that technology, and it is unmatched by other suppliers. Above all, the print quality the Xeikon 9800 delivers is perfect. In that respect, the press can be used for any kind of job at TagG: it can print basic insurance statements just as easily as it can create important asset management overview, or the highest value direct mailing pieces. Think for example of having a fifth color, possibly with an invisible toner only detectable with UV light, or guilloches that are different for every document. These possibilities represent an even higher value and are quite easy to achieve on our Xeikon presses.”
Because of the variety of jobs TagG produces, the production plant has a mix of different but complementary printing presses. For the company, it would be unthinkable that all that printing equipment comes from one supplier. Today, they still need black and white printing equipment, although to a lesser extent, and full-color digital printing capability. Cut sheet equipment is used for short runs and reprints while for larger production, work roll-fed equipment is indispensable. For the highest production runs, TagG needs the capacity of inkjet presses but the best quality is still achieved on toner presses. In a nutshell, a diverse set of printing machinery is a must.
Best quality-speed-cost digital press
Lesseur adds: “The paper flexibility of the Xeikon is unbeaten. The look and feel of the paper is a determining factor for the quality of a document and often it is prescribed by the customer. So it is a big plus that the Xeikon press delivers on all paper types TagG ever put on the machine, several offset papers included.
The Xeikon press not only produces top quality, it is also very flexible. Unlike inkjet presses, it takes only minutes to start a job. It is the preferred choice for all jobs that are lower than 25,000 documents. Over the years, the presses got easier to operate and today they basically achieve a ‘push-the-button’ level. Still, the press is compatible with the high-end finishing equipment TagG runs: roll-fed, 500 mm wide, ensuring the secure handling of documents carrying confidential information.”
Intelligent Print Data Streams
Last but not least, TagG uses a not so common workflow. Since day one it has been using IPDS data stream that was originally developed to connect main frame computers to printers. According to Hervé Lesseur, it still has unique advantages even though today a PDF-based workflow is most common in the industry. Thanks to IPDS real time, on-the-fly printing of full variable data is possible. That way, a computer host drives the press with data. There is bi-directional communication between press and server which ensures tracking and tracing of every single document in real time. If something goes wrong at any point of the production chain, it is always possible to intervene and correct. Every addressee will get his or her document, guaranteed. An IPDS workflow also allows customers to monitor their jobs in real time via on online platform. Hervé mentions that some of their jobs could not be done on a PDF-based workflow. Working with Xeikon as a partner and supplier has enabled TagG to build a native IPDS workflow that connects a controller developed by TagG to the digital press via the Xeikon X-800 digital front-end.
Dimitri Van Gaever, Market Segment Manager at Xeikon claims: “We can only congratulate Hervé Lesseur and his team for what they have achieved over the past decades. They fully realize that innovation and investment are key to stay ahead in the market of direct marketing and Xeikon is very proud to keep contributing to TagG’s success.”
TagG Informatique was founded in the summer of 1991. Its mission was to innovatively change the way documents were produced and handled. By doing things in a different way, focusing on R&D and choosing the correct technology and partners, TagG has become a reference in France and beyond for major brands that need their communication in printed form. Today TagG employs about 110 people on different sites.
Since its inception, it was important for TagG to offer solutions to customers and to be able never to have to say ‘no, we can’t do that’. It was a clear choice from the beginning to have development resources in house. Today a team of more than 30 engineers work daily on IT systems, software and automation solutions to ensure marketing campaigns are fully adapted to customer needs, with relevant information for the end-customer or consumer. Thanks to this team of developers, TagG is able to always develop new solutions while keeping campaign costs as low as possible for its clients.
TagG is active in different markets. It started in the transactional business with printing invoices, bank statements, insurance documents, compliance documents, voting ballots, etc. TagG now has a wide range customers ranging from banks, manufacturing companies, distribution and logistics, to health and charity organizations. Documents were originally produced by combining offset prints with b&w digital print, and this gradually changed to a full color digital way of printing. Today the focus of TagG is direct marketing, combining different communication channels with the conception of custom-made campaigns for its customers. By constantly innovating and developing new tools and software internally, the company succeeded in joining the top league of the European companies delivering direct marketing. TagG is an integrated company that takes care of a campaign from beginning to end: from the conception, the development of software, the production, all the way to the delivery. Documents are printed at different locations and on different equipment. They are then finished, and order fulfilment and logistics are organized using the best possible way. While printing b&w does still exist at TagG, about 75% of all printing is being done fully digitally in full color.