The Advantage of Workflow Automation

Submitted by HankMartin on September 12, 2019
Hank Martin headshot

Workflow automation is an important topic for all companies looking to get the most value from the color inkjet purchase or to help justify a purchase of color inkjet. Along with the increased capabilities inkjet offers, companies are seeing an increasing number of smaller, shorter turnaround job requests from their customers. Whether your company is large or small, there are many areas where an automated workflow can enhance your operations.    

Internal IT teams are pulled in many directions. This can make it difficult to secure the necessary resources to implement the requirements of the various data touchpoints and servers required to connect technologies together in a workflow. This causes pushback on the business due to other overarching priorities that continually task their staff with the need to automate; considered a “nice to have but we don’t have the time or resources to implement.” This is where technologies available in the market today can benefit. 

Various solutions exist from a variety of companies that tie the print and/or mail platform together.    These technologies are often able to utilize data from existing platforms or intelligently build data on the fly that help to drive workflows through the various stages of onboarding a job through delivery of that job on the backend, reducing the dependency on available IT resources.

In addition to building and managing a workflow, the best solutions provide their customers with dashboards that provide management and operational insight to the status of all work flowing through the workflow platform.

For companies who mail or just print and outsource their mail, color inkjet is quickly justified by moving into a white paper factory where all jobs print on a common paper and insert into a common envelope.    While this can be a challenge for a direct mailer, there are opportunities to look at the potential and the use of variable color, with color inkjet presses, to dynamically build mail that maximizes postal discounts while improving overall efficiency with reduced labor. White paper also presents transactional mailers with the options to do householding or combining multiple mailings to the same individual into the same envelope. 

Many companies using mailing software as part of a workflow can do so lights-out; meaning the workflow feeds the mailing software the required data, eliminating the need for a user to interact with the software. Companies that have connected their workflow with mailing software have seen a reduction in staff required to manage the software daily. For example, a company had five (5) IT staff running mailing software daily to process 300-400 jobs a day. Extending their workflow to incorporate the mailing software eliminated four and one half (4 ½) people a day. This allowed the business to allocate those resources to other more pressing activities. While attention to mailing software was not eliminated, it was reduced dramatically with the focus changed to onboarding new business as a less than full time task. 

Another benefit to workflow with mailing software is eliminating IT or data processing as a bottleneck for service level agreement (SLA) performance. One company stated: “Implementing document production and mailing software into a common workflow has eliminated IT from being an SLA point of failure.” 

Using workflow with mailing software can reduce turnaround times on even the most complex jobs by as much as 80% or greater.  Companies achieving these benefits are now able to onboard and profile new customers much more quickly while helping their companies grow and expand. 

While attending thINK 2019, please visit with all the sponsors and ask how they can bring value to the color inkjet purchase.

Hank Martin is the Strategic Partnership Manager for BCC Software. He has worked in the mailing industry for over 40 years. His background working in print, fulfillment, mailing, and software has brought unique experiences to workflow processes that drive efficiency and accuracy to organizations.