Case Study – Auto Auction

January 12th, 2009

I received an email from a print shop that had an automobile auction as a client. The auction needed booklets to distribute at auctions; but, the data for those auctions was available late in the process. The data was available Monday afternoon for an auction on Thursday or Friday.

There were thousands of vehicles in dozens of different categories. Each was listed in a textual report that might go 20+ pages. All that text, the specific vehicle data (mileage, model, year, etc.) had to be extracted from the report, and placed into organized and sorted tables. The kicker to my client was that the auction needed printed booklets on Tuesday morning.

Doing this by hand was out of the question, which is why I got a call.

I received the specs for the project, and delivered the first version the next day. A typical script run would take about 4 minutes, and would yield a print-ready booklet.

The process was to read the data text file, parsing out the vehicle data as it went. Once I had a pile of vehicle data, I wrote the vehicle data out into XML. I used InDesign xml aids that allow InDesign to import XML and create fully formatted tables complete with paragraph and table styling. Then I simply imported the XML into a ready made template. Booklet complete.

This is an extreme example. The job couldn’t be done by hand in the available time. But every creative professional spend a significant amount of time doing repetitive tasks. Likely you do too.

If you spend an hour a day doing repetitive “monkey work”, why not let me do it for you? You spend that extra hour anyway you want. Bringing on new clients, doing higher value work, gazing at your fish tank. What matters is freeing up your time to pursue something you would rather do.

Entry Filed under: Case Studies

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