FIRST Prepress Operator Certification
FLEXO: Was there any part of the material taught during the FIRST Prepress Operator Certification training that conflicted with how you were used to doing things?
Steve Blass, Production Manager: The material in the FIRST training course was very much in line with what we were currently doing in our workflow, but it supports the value and importance of the process control, inspection and documentation taking place.
FLEXO: Did the training’s material cover things you hadn’t seen before, or was it refreshing what you already knew?
Blass: The training program is supportive of our current knowledge and workflows and does not contain material entirely new to us regarding our internal production. Some of our prepress operators have not had extensive exposure to pressroom situations. The sections that teach material related to presses, inks and other press-related info are very valuable, as they do provide some new learning for some of our team members.
FLEXO: What task or responsibility have you changed the way you do the most since completing the certification?
Blass: Because the material in the FIRST Certification course was very much in line with what we were currently doing in our workflow, we are not making a lot of changes, but there have been some additional opportunities for refinement.
FLEXO: What’s different about how you build graphic files since achieving FIRST Prepress Operator Certification?
Blass: We have changed very little in our prepress file assembly, as we were relatively aligned with the FIRST methodologies prior to the certification process.
FLEXO: How has working with customers during the proofing phase changed?
Blass: Our workflow processes for internal QC, and customer approvals of both virtual and physical contract proofs are not being modified, but the terminology used to communicate with customers throughout the process is now more consistent, and our internal representatives have a better understanding and a higher level of confidence regarding how the work we are executing relates to the needs of the customer.
FLEXO: What would you say about FIRST Prepress Operator Certification to someone in your position at another company?
Blass: This certification is very valuable for prepress operators because they fill a specific and important role in the whole process but are not regularly exposed to flexo print production environments on a day-to-day basis. The training courses provide a very thorough look at flexographic print production, along with the rest of the production workflow, outside of their own responsibilities. The press-related information specifically is most valuable, so that operators have a more complete knowledge of the entire production workflow right from concept of design to final printed product.
FIRST Implementation Specialist Certification
FLEXO: What was your reaction when you heard about FIRST Implementation Specialist Certification?
Ian Dobie, Technical Customer Service Manager: Those of us who were focused on the FIRST Implementation Specialist Certification were excited about the opportunity and availability of an industry standard training program. As we worked through the program, we were surprised by and impressed about how in-depth and detailed the training is.
FLEXO: One of the central tenets of Implementation Specialist Certification is improving communication externally—with customers, printers and suppliers—and internally—with coworkers. Have you noticed a change in your interactions with others in the supply chain and in your office?
Dobie: There has been a significant change in both external and internal communication after completing the Implementation Specialist Certification. The change has been noticed not only in the content of the communication but also the improved clarity during the communication.
FLEXO: How does the certification impact your ability to do your job effectively?
Dobie: FIRST Implementation Specialist Certification has allowed us to be more confident with our knowledge and understanding of aspects not only in our direct daily functions, but also in the functions of others in the supply chain.
FLEXO: What’s something you couldn’t do well before FIRST Implementation Specialist Certification, that you can ably handle now?
Dobie: We have improved our existing abilities to confidently, productively, and proactively assess customer needs and challenges so as to be able to provide valuable feedback as early in the process as possible to help prevent issues or unexpected results.