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Ernie Crawford

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Save-The-Date: PDF Day France, Toulouse, April 4, 2019

PDF Day France will be the first French-speaking event of the PDF Association, organised by our member ORPALIS. It will take place in Toulouse which is the home ground of Airbus and we are very happy that Airbus will present a case study around its usage of PDF in their document management environment!

Electronic Document Conference: Call for Papers

Prospective presenters at the Electronic Document Conference 2019 are invited to submit high-quality original proposals for 25-minute presentations on subjects of interest to developers and technical product managers concerned with electronic document implementations.

Have we passed ‘peak PDF’?

How do we gain insight into how users’ views of documents are shifting? Google Trends is an increasingly interesting source of high-level marketplace data. By aggregating Google’s search data over time, reporting a term’s popularity as compared with all other searches.

Participating in the PDF Techniques Accessibility Summit

The PDF Techniques Accessibility Summit’s objective is to establish a broad-based understanding of how PDF files should be tagged for accessibilty. It’s an opportunity to focus on establishing a common set of examples of accessible PDF content, and identify best-practice when tagging difficult cases.

Members supporting PDF features!

The typical adoption curve for PDF technologies until approximately 2007 tended to track with that of the original PDF developer. Since then the marketplace has shifted; it’s no longer clear that Adobe drivesPDF feature support worldwide. Accordingly, we are happy to report that adoption of PDF 2.0 continues apace, with new vendors announcing their support every month.

Solutions for the production of Human Resources (HR) documents

Gesellschaft für Innovative Personalwirtschaftssysteme mbH (GIP) is a managed service provider headquartered in Offenbach, (near Frankfurt), Germany. The company provides software and services to the public sector across Germany, providing solutions that aid the production of Human Resources (HR) documents for 2.5 million public servants.

The City of Offenbach shares a unique history when it comes to the world of printing and producing high volumes of output. Manroland, one of Europe’s largest printing equipment manufacturers and a print innovator, are headquartered there and Offenbach was once considered the European Center of Typography.

GIP needed to find a way to solve a number of issues; saving paper, selecting the right archive standard and helping 15 German data centers to reduce their software and services costs.

Now, thanks to Crawford Technologies’ award-winning solutions, GIP has reduced the need to print millions of pages annually helping their clients become more environmentally friendly while archiving documents in the ISO Standard PDF/A format to ensure longevity of retrieval. Adding CrawfordTech’s innovative software solutions has helped GIP consolidate the services they provide to data centers and reduced maintenance and support costs.


GIP needed a solution to an age-old problem; how to reduce costs…

GIP provides HR systems management services that deliver – into a single management portal – functions such as benefits administration, payroll, recruiting, training and performance analysis. Millions of public servants across Germany rely on GIP’s systems, software and support teams to deliver payroll and other related documentation.

An SAP software development partner since 2008, GIP has a team of staff monitoring daily changes in payroll codes, tariffs and legislation to ensure that calculations being made are up-to-date and correct.

GIP is responsible for providing managed service and software solutions to 15 data centers across Germany, which in turn provides document output and management for 2.5 million public sector workers. The amount of documentation GIP is responsible for is staggering since each monthly salary period generates up to 300 pages of output per public servant. That means their systems and support teams create up to 9 billion pages of crucial content every year.

One third of that documentation is given to the employee, while the other two thirds are sent to the company and an archive solution. Due to German laws, the companies are required to keep their portion of the output as a paper archive, so it is not possible to eradicate printed documents entirely.

However, paper volume was not the only problem GIP needed to solve.

Historically, the data centers that GIP services have bought a number of software components from dozens of different vendors in order to create a full solution for their end clients. This has led to each data center having different solutions for the same problem and having to pay multiple support and maintenance contracts to various suppliers.

Additionally, GIP needed a way to interact with new archiving hardware, software and processes that conform to Germany’s laws on document retention. Depending on the document type, not only does the organization need to archive the output, but they also need to destroy it at the right time. Interfacing with systems that can manage this process is paramount.

“There is a lot of paper wasted every year. We calculated that we could save 750 million pages per year in just the HR area if we could find the right solution,” said Patrick Jehle, Product Owner at GIP.

“Our main intention was not to change the whole process within each data center, but to take the AFP printing file created by each location and generate the correct documents, in the correct format, without changes,” Jehle continues.


CrawfordTech’s PRO AFP to PDF/A Transform is the key solution component for GIP

Jehle and his team began investigating solutions that would allow them to complete their three objectives without making changes to the processes or systems already in place. The discovery and implementation phase took time to complete though due to the complexities of working in the public sector.

“With public sector solutions in Germany, it takes a lot of paperwork” Jehle explains.

Choosing to work with CrawfordTech products came down to two main factors; the breadth of operating systems, platforms and solutions the software will work with, and the total cost of ownership of the system. By keeping the costs relative to the task at hand, CrawfordTech were able to help GIP provide the data centers with a cost-effective solution. The flexibility and open nature of the software also helped with implementation timescales, and GIP were able to put the software in place without changing their processes – a key element in their overall strategy.

The solution now works as follows: Every month, the HR department of any public company in Germany starts the payroll process. The HR software calculates the amounts for each person and all the payment instructions, and the resulting documentation is put into an AFP file. CrawfordTech’s PRO AFP to PDF/A Transform processes this huge print file and the resulting output is printed and/or archived.

During the processing, CrawfordTech’s software also looks for instructions in the files for forms and splitting information. On the next day the employee and HR department can login to their system and access the individual documents in PDF/A format thanks to the speed of the software, despite the huge monthly volumes.

Having a local CrawfordTech reseller able to provide full software and support services has also helped Jehle and his team implement a successful solution. “We’ve worked really well with Rasterpunkt. They understand our issues and help us to solve the problems quickly.”

Rasterpunkt’s Managing Director, Richard Mayer, is quick to point out that the CrawfordTech solution was not just chosen because of its low total cost of ownership and platform independence; “CrawfordTech has the only solution available that achieves what GIP require from a technical perspective. It really is the best choice for the job.”


CrawfordTech becomes a key part of the overall solution

GIP had already calculated the amount of paper they could save, although it is potentially just a drop in the ocean. Saving 750 million pages per year is realistic if only used within the HR-related part of their offering. GIP believe that in the future, by extending the CrawfordTech solution to other business areas, that the total saving could be closer to 2 billion pages per year.

And Jehle is in no doubt that an important component for these savings is the CrawfordTech PRO AFP to PDF/A Transform. “An important part of the solution that is responsible for saving 750 million, and possibly 2 billion, pages per year is from Crawford Technologies.”

In addition, CrawfordTech’s software has helped GIP realize their strategy of consolidating solutions for the data centers, helping them to reduce their maintenance and support overhead.

Finally, the production of ISO Standard PDF/A files are helping to ensure that those files that are stored for later retrieval are going to be readable in the future. PDF/A files contain all the resources necessary to reproduce the output in years to come, avoiding the issues of creating ‘graveyard archives’ of files that can no longer be used.

What about the future? “We like the software a lot. We thought a lot about the future and what may come, and this is also the reason why we chose CrawfordTech as our software solution provider for this and future projects.”

With far-reaching plans to make it possible to provide a single, overall solution to the data centers that includes best of breed products, and a strategy that will bring all the data types (HR, payroll, employee data etc.) into a single central system, Jehle is looking forward to using CrawfordTech software to help make those ideas a reality.

Tags: AFP, ISO Standard, Offenbach, SAP, data center, documentation
Categories: PDF, PDF/A