Printers readily admit if and where they struggle with their workflow. This year 55% of printers said dealing with a high number of small jobs was their biggest workflow bottleneck and challenge as part of Keypoint Intelligence - InfoTrends 2019 North American Software Investment Outlook. Yet, 43% of those printers said their workflow processes were mostly manual in many of their departments.
Finishing solutions in your shop can be a necessary piece of infrastructure or a differentiator that brings you new business. How you treat finishing in your production often depends on the type of business you operate. For transaction print and mail operations, finishing may revolve around slit/merge, perf/punch, fold and insert operations, while for direct mail print shops there may be a wider range of options for folding, scoring, creasing, and tabbing. Book printers often focus on book block assembly, binding, and cover-based workflows.
Chuck Werninger is Senior Manager of IT Administrative Services at Houston Independent School District. You might be familiar with Chuck as he was a speaker on the "Investing in Inkjet" panel at this year's Inkjet 101 — or perhaps you know him from his active contribution to several other industry publications and events. It’s safe to say that wherever people are talking about the future of print, Chuck is sure to be part of the conversation.
There is widespread agreement that automating your inkjet production workflow has numerous benefits. Automation reduces errors and lets you do more with fewer resources. It supports increased throughput, allows you to make better use of your equipment, and gives you the tools and foundation to take on more work. All of this impacts your bottom line and can lead to increased profits, so automating your workflow appears to be a no-brainer.
Online ordering, whether in print or not, is now second nature. Thanks to e-commerce behemoths like Alibaba and Amazon, business-to-consumer (B2C) and business-to-business (B2B) users now expect a completely easy and seamless experience when ordering print online. Printers that have not prepared for this reality are now behind the curve since web-to-print (W2P) solutions have been on the market for over a decade.
Whether they are large or small, corporate enterprises or quick print shops, all printing operations face challenges when it comes to managing production demands. Effectively managing these challenges involves planning and documenting patterns and processes that strategically integrate with business and manufacturing processes.
Companies that incorporate workflow automation into their production processes can decrease their operational costs, increase print production and manufacturing, and can ultimately keep – or move – themselves onto the path to profitability.
David Zwang, Principal Consultant, Zwang & Co. hosted a thINK member customer panel to discuss workflow that works. Did you miss it? Read a summary below and view the recorded session.
David Zwang, Principal Consultant, Zwang & Co.
Jared Carr, Production Manager, Merrill Corp.
John Slaney, Chief Technical Officer, Content Critical Solutions
Andrew Hennings, Director of Operations, Epiq
Bryan Haynes, CIO, Maryland State Treasurer
One of the challenges with selecting a workflow solution for print is that specific tasks and processes that have to be managed and ideally, automated for different segments of the print industry are strikingly different. Jobs flow differently in commercial print shops than they do in high-volume transactional operations, direct mail houses, service bureaus or CRDs/copy shops in enterprise environments. The work is different, the flow is different and that means the workflow solution must be different as well, doesn’t it?
Workflow is more than just the connective tissue that links people, processes and technology – it is a means of reducing costs, boosting productivity and improving quality. Sadly, many in-plant operations are saddled with inadequate workflow solutions that cause a tremendous amount of extra work for staff to manage jobs – staff that is often already overburdened.