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Why do we need an Australian Standard?
How will this affect the industry and my print business?
Is it compulsory to comply with the Australian Standard?
What is the ISO?
What other ISO standards are being considered for adoption?
What are the benefits and costs?
Is there a certification process endorsed by ISO?
How do we implement compliance?
How does it relate to colour management?
Is the Australian Standard available now?
- Australia is behind the eight ball internationally – with the print industry being more globalised we run the very real risk of being left behind as print buyers source their print from those businesses that can guarantee consistency and reliability of colour reproduction across all their markets. Think Coca Cola, IBM, Johnson & Johnson…..they are all moving more and more towards global contracts, or at least guaranteed results contracts. AND, if you think that China is way behind us, you are wrong….from Printing Industries’ Business Matching Tour in 2006, most of the large Chinese print firms were already ISO 12647 compliant across many disciplines.
- Government Departments are demanding it – as the ‘professional skilled print buyer’ is replaced by inexperienced commodity contract administrators they are relying more upon contractual specifications and compliance with Australia Standards as the quality benchmark. Most government departments are now moving to include some form of standards compliance in print.
- Customers are demanding it – for the same reasons that government departments are demanding consistency and reliability so too are local private clients – they want / demand the identical colour from Perth printers as Melbourne printers.
- Advertising agencies expect it – advertising agencies have been calling for years for consistency and reliability in colour outputs to help them deliver increased confidence to their clients when they engage with our industry.
- Leadership by LIA and Printing Industries – both organisations, after lengthy consideration have formally endorsed the adoption of an Australian Standard as being in the best interests of the Australian print industry. This is part of the objectives of both organisations.
Adoption of ISO printing standards will require the industry to accept a transition towards a more quality controlled production environment, something that has existed in almost all other industries for decades.
The industry will be encouraged to move away from the ‘craft’ based skill sets where individual companies market themselves on the basis of their employee knowledge and skill base. It will be more about being able to meet a standard that is consistent and reproducible across Australia and the globe.
This doesn’t mean that printing companies will all become identical. Just as compliance with OHS legislation, environmental standards or accounting standards doesn’t mean that all businesses are identical.
The adoption of an Australian Standard may however require a change in culture, business and printing practices for some printers. Meeting the client’s needs will become more about ‘matching a standard’ and having a ‘proofing system’ that is capable of accurately predicting and repeating the result when that standard is achieved.
Winning jobs will depend on your ability to guarantee results that meet specifications as described in the standards. Quality control will be about legally binding, measurable consistency and not just about producing a particular result that satisfies the client on a job-by-job basis.
For some printers there may be ‘no change’ because their clients may not require compliance with the Australian Standard. The risk to businesses that do not adopt the Australian Standard is that competitors may seek to use their compliance as a commercial advantage to attract your clients to them.
The International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) is a worldwide federation of national standards bodies from some 147 countries. ISO, a non-governmental organisation, was established in 1947.
Its mission is to promote the development of standardisation and related activities in the world with a view toward facilitating the international exchange of goods and services, and to developing cooperation in the spheres of intellectual, scientific, technological and economic activity. ISO’s work results in international agreements that are published as international standards.
The results of ISO technical work are published in the form of international standards. There are nearly 10,000 international standards and technical reports covering hundreds of industry fields.
The role of ISO is to establish standards by identifying the parameters by which they can be measured. The ISO has no role in certifying compliance.
It is a forum of industry experts that promote specifications for adoption and incorporation into the standard. ISO standards are agreed upon by vote after lengthy and comprehensive consultation. It is up to practitioners in the industry to adopt or conform to the standard.
It is the intention that all standards under the Graphic Technology banner, particularly those affecting the printing and graphic arts industry, will be examined by the Australian TC130 as they come up for review by the ISO. These may include areas outside the traditional domain of graphic arts such as photography and multimedia.
Already there is a revision of ISO 12647-2 (2007) which is under consideration. Australia’s formal voting (one vote each for LIA and Printing Industries) and our participation in the ISO process means that we are able to take advantage of the new revision at the same time as Europe.
Standards-based print production has been given impetus by the development of Process Standard Offset printing in Europe. This method aims to reduce make-ready and other production costs by identifying a set of known and controllable printing parameters. Constant monitoring of these parameters simplifies the production process by providing a consistent and repeatable target regardless of the type of copy.
One of the benefits of standards based production is that you will have a known target for which to aim. This can save valuable time in terms of make-ready. If proofs have been supplied and they have been produced according to the standard then they will provide an accurate prediction of the final printed result. Further savings will flow as clients start to appreciate the consistent quality that is delivered, generating increased customer loyalty.
Finally, disputes about re-work and colour compliance can be more definitively ‘put to bed’ if you are able to demonstrate Standards certification compliance.
Like any new system being introduced into a business there will be both set up costs and on-going compliance costs. However, just as there were objections at the time to the systems required to comply with the introduction of more stringent OHS compliance, these quickly became adopted as a normal part of business, with benefits including reduced lost time, workers compensation premiums, payouts and increased employee relations.
The international Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) defines standards to be used by industry but does not offer certification to these standards. Currently there is no certification or any other form of endorsement issued by the ISO or Standards Australia.
That said, print research institutions, such as Fogra and Ugra, and third party vendors with the necessary expertise offer their own brand of ‘certification’ to the ISO standard as a means for printing companies to display their ability to match the standard. These certifications are based on their own set of criteria and have varying degrees of credibility based on the standing of the institution or vendor.
Alternatively, individual enterprises may implement their own quality control measures based on ISO standards. Having systems in place that ensure these standards are being met is the most important part. Having staff properly trained so that they understand the process and the importance of compliance to the success of their business is also vital.
A list of available third party certifiers in Australia can be found on this web site.
By adopting quality control practices that ensure consistent print production in accordance with the Australian Standard.
Having a properly colour managed workflow is a vital part of the successful implementation of standards based print production.
Without systems in place to measure and control the capture, editing and output of colour reproduction getting predictable and consistent results will be very difficult. Tolerances and parameters described within the ISO standards require constant monitoring to ensure an accurate, quality controlled environment.
Yes (by using the ISO Standard)
Following a unanimous vote of support for the adoption of the international standard ISO 12647-2 by the industry on 20 May 2008 Standards Australia issued a new Australian Standard. In reality, this new Standard is a co-branding of the ISO Standard without any significant changes.
You can buy the ISO Standard from Standards Australia’s web site.