- Streamlines the sharing of images with internal teams, partners and resellers
- Speeds the distribution of images
- Secure web portal for centralized access to all digital images
- Provided small-footprint web-based accessibility
- Easy creation and storage of images in multiple file formats
- Reduced the time required to process special digital asset requests
- Encourages consistency and reuse of assets
- Eliminated the need to FTP, email or ship CDs of digital assets
Customers around the world know Dorfman Pacific as one of the largest full-line, in-stock headwear and handbag companies. The product images used in the company’s hardcopy and online catalogs and marketing materials visually define how the public view them. With its product line expanding, managing its collection of digital images and product materials became time consuming and difficult. With images stored in multiple locations, Dorfman Pacific’s marketing team had a hard time updating or creating new product catalogs. More importantly the process was error-prone.
Dorfman Pacific recognized that managing their product data and associated images was a complex task. For example, an item might be manufactured in different styles and colors, and each of those product variations can have an associated image. Photos taken using different camera angles or image resolutions may also need to be associated with the item. The large number of possible product and camera parameter permutations meant that any single catalog item may have very many associated images. And the images include Adobe® Photoshop® files typically 20-30 Mbytes each.
Dorfman Pacific resolved to implement an electronic solution that would centralize and automate the management of product information, including digital catalog images, and facilitate distribution of the information to their factories. The company also wanted to reduce the time required for the graphics department to find, retrieve and distribute requested product images to resellers and distributors.
Dorfman Pacific turned to Alfresco Gold Partner, Formtek, to build a new Image Management Application (IMA) based on Alfresco Enterprise. Dorfman Pacific was impressed with Formtek’s successful track record of building secure and scalable mission-critical content management applications for use in demanding environments.
Formtek recommended Alfresco Enterprise ECM software because it provided rich functionality out of the box that would minimize development costs. Within months, Formtek was able to design, implement, test and roll out the new IMA application using Alfresco on a VM server with MS Server 2003. Most importantly, Alfresco offered Dorfman Pacific a lower total cost of ownership, not only for the initial implementation, but for their ongoing systems management.
To efficiently search content in the new IMA application, Formtek developed a content data model unique to Dorfman Pacific’s requirements that tags and stores all the associated metadata for items and digital images. The new metadata structure accounts for each product’s various style, manufacturing, and camera parameter. Users can now easily search the system using any of these metadata parameters and find images that match specific criteria.
Alfresco provides Dorfman Pacific staff the flexibility to access the IMA content in multiple ways. Users in the graphics department can leverage the IMA repository as a standard network drive and interact with the repository directly from their graphics applications, such as Adobe® InDesign®, without needing to start the browser-based client.
Formtek designed the IMA application to be available via any browser allowing both internal and external users access to the content. When there is a request for images from a partner, Dorfman Pacific can send a secure URL with an individual login and password. Partners can search the Alfresco repository using style number and other criteria to locate and download the images needed in the appropriate resolution and file formats. The portal can also be customized allowing Dorfman Pacific to market new products directly to the partner.
Formtek also sped up the input of large numbers of product images by creating a batch input program. The program validates the names of documents to be uploaded with data stored in Dorfman Pacific’s STYLES database, reports any conflicts that are found, and allows the user to correct those conflicts. The images are then batch uploaded, into the IMA repository, and the filenames are parsed into metadata fields to provide added search functionality.
The Dorfman Pacific IMA solution has met the requirements of the project charter and succeeded in producing significant efficiencies. Prior to implementation of the IMA solution, fulfilling a single image request often took 30 minutes. With the implementation of IMA, up-to-date and accurate product information is being distributed to the factories, and customers can fulfill their own requests for images and other information, eliminating the effort required of Dorfman Pacific’s graphics department.
The initial success of the application has led Dorfman Pacific to engage Formtek in discussions regarding upgrading and expanding the use of Alfresco and the IMA solution. One additional project being considered is to improve the custom product ordering process. This project would involve adding document types such as emails, purchase orders and specification sheets to the IMA repository, enabling automatic check-in of in-bound emails, and modeling the custom order workflow process within IMA.