Is Workflow the Key to Surviving – or Thriving – for Today’s In-Plants?

Submitted by sjammallo on November 25, 2013
Sheri Jammallo Canon

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.

The majority of in-plant printers are faced with squeezed budgets and simultaneous pressure to grow print volumes, improve service levels, increase productivity and offer an ever-expanding suite of services like producing tabs, binding, transaction printing, fulfillment, direct mail, booklets, and security printing. If they can’t meet the corporate expectations, they don’t just have a bad year – they get lifted right out of the enterprise.

Survival depends on being able to respond to changing customer needs; turn jobs around faster, reduce costs, improve quality and make it easier for internal customers to place orders and track and deliver jobs -- all while fending off threats from outside competitors. Which leads to the biggest challenge in-plants face: staying relevant at a time when economic turmoil makes them especially vulnerable to cost-cutting initiatives. For better or worse, the pressure is on to become an indispensable resource. As a result, success is often directly correlated to the efficiency of the workflow and the ability to provide detailed, timely and transparent reporting to the enterprise. For in-plants looking to boost process efficiency, drive down costs, speed turnaround and satisfy customers, workflow automation is a must.

Here are 10 ways that workflow can help transform an in-house print operation from a cost center to a profit center:

  1. Connecting the print center to the corporate network
  2. Simplifying job submission, tracking and management for customers and internal staff
  3. Automating pre-print services like scanning, editing and composing documents
  4. Selecting and directing jobs to the best-fit device
  5. Converting proprietary files to open PDF format
  6. Automating finishing
  7. Archiving jobs and publishing them to CDs, DVDs
  8. Offering customers a portable, fully searchable, and indexed archive
  9. Giving corporate customers visibility into what you do and how you do it
  10. Publishing document design guidelines that help your customers design efficiently for your production environment.

Workflow solutions can improve the way that work gets done and can also provide visibility across the organization to the benefits of the services that in-plants offer. When guidelines exist and production is carefully tracked it creates a baseline to measure against when the “outsourcing option” is discussed (for the third, or was it the fifth time?) Let’s face it, in-plant shops are often in the basement or located far, far away from headquarters. They may be a “black box” as far as many of their best clients are concerned. Helping customers understand what has to happen to get their job out the door, and allowing them to participate in success can make your group less of a “plant” and more of a partner.

Sheri Jammallo is the Corporate Enterprise Segment Marketing Manager for Canon Solutions America, with a keen focus on marketing strategies across North America in the Transactional, Direct Mail, Data-Center and In-Plant print production space. She brings with her a wealth of industry knowledge that enables her to lead field relevant go-to-market production print strategies and programs for Canon Solutions America that bring value-add to the production print customer and print industry.

Previous to Canon Solutions America, Sheri spent many years in several roles at Xerox Corporation. She was a Production Print Solutions Manager in the Northeast responsible for high end production print technology and services portfolio, leading a business development team of Production Print Sales Specialists within the In-Plant and Commercial print space. Prior to that role, she was a Production Print Business Development Executive as the lead business development strategist to grow market share in In-Plants and Data-Centers within the New England region.

Sheri began her career in the Commercial print space at Standard Register. She spent several years with Standard Register in business development and leadership roles, with a strong focus on go-to-market growth strategies of a vast portfolio of commercial print applications to the Financial, Insurance, Manufacturing, Healthcare, Public Sector, Educational and Retail vertical markets.