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International Printing Company Utilizes Thor to Optimize their Operations 

Our client company provided their customers with desktop publishing, printing and duplication services. Their desktop publishing service included the design of logos, business stationary and personal resumes. The printing and duplication services included black and white and color printing from business cards and letters to full-size construction blueprints.

The typical customer may utilize the desktop publisher to create original content or they may deliver their own artwork and content on diskette, Zip or Jaz drives. To meet customer expectations and demand for the latest imaging software and hardware, the client company determined a need to upgrade their existing hardware and software platforms. In addition to keeping current, the client company also wanted to provide a foundation on which to offer more internet services.

Each client company store consisted of an Ethernet network: Novell Netware or Windows NT server, Power Macintosh Computers, high-end Xerox printers and high-performance Fiery print processors. The Mac OS7 based computers utilized many of the Adobe imaging products such as Photoshop, Illustrator, PageMaker as well as Microsoft Office Professional.

The “legacy” hardware platform was being outclassed by newer models and was replaced with new Macintosh G3 and Pentium II/III powered machines. The deployment of computers using the latest Pentium processor outnumbers that of the new Macintosh in an effort to move to a PC-only platform. Furthermore, the software products were outdated and required upgrades to new versions for both Macintosh and Windows.

Thor was brought in as an on-source solution to the project from the beginning. The scope of the project included the deployment of new hardware and software to 1,000 stores across the continental United States including Puerto Rico. Where necessary, legacy equipment could not be discarded and was integrated into the new system. The integration with new and existing high-end Fiery devices and Xerox printers was of key importance. The existing network at each client company’s store had to be maintained yet configured for future expansion. The redesign included a structured TCP/IP network and standardized Windows NT Server.

Using our in-depth consultative approach to identify business challenges and recommend matching business solutions, Thor developed a team with experience in developing and deploying computer hardware and software on a large scale. Because the client company’s computer environment was so diverse, Thor provided a team experienced in multi-platform computer technology including desktops, servers and networks. This included platforms such as Windows 95, Windows NT, Novell Netware, and UNIX. Our team was also skilled in network and could design and implement TCP/IP networks and convert from iPX and NetBEUI. Lastly, the Thor consultants had experience in integrating all of this technology into specialized printing environments.

Thor worked very closely with the client company’s headquarters to specify, install and configure the equipment and software for the stores with new equipment and the stores with legacy equipment that was required to be integrated or upgraded to the new environment. The legacy equipment integrations was a particular challenge our client had been facing due to the fact that it required knowledge of many older systems and how to fix a problem with little or no assistance. Thor professionals were able to take on this issue.

During the process, Thor was given the responsibility of documenting the entire project, including the configuration of each piece of hardware and software, as well as on-site installation instructions for field technicians.

Thor performed the installations and beta testing from a separate development lab and later performed test installations in the field. Upon the success of these, other staff was brought on board to perform nationwide field installations and upgrades based on our documentation.

This project has provided the client company with an updated hardware and software platform to satisfy current and future customer demand. The new TCP/IP network design has allowed the rapid deployment of Internet connections in many client company’s stores. It also provided a foundation on which to build future service offerings.