No matter how digital technologies seek to replace paper products, the need for printing photographs for family albums or large-format advertising has not disappeared. But since the world does not stand still and takes a lot of time, come to the print salon to order a print and agree on a layout. Remember how long it took you to agree on the poster layouts the previous time? We bet for about an hour. How can both the customer ordering process, production, and fulfillment processes be as efficient as possible?
To succeed in such a case, we suggest changing the existing workflow and implementing new technologies that will automate the processes or replace outdated, inefficient ones that are no longer useful.
Removing manual operations from the print workflow and replacing it with an automated one, we call it print automation that increases efficiency.
Print Software Market valued approximately USD 4 526.6 billion in 2021 is anticipated to grow with a healthy growth rate of more than 7.62% over the forecast period 2018-2025.
The main focus of most printers in processes automation is eliminating the number of “touches” in their workflow. That means to cross out the number of times when a human’s interaction or manual assistance to progress is required.
This approach intends to reduce the possibility of human error in a project’s quality and speed. On another side, there are specific types of orders or products that require more “touches” to make everything correctly and with a shorter turnaround.
As a result, we believe that print automation isn’t so simple it is needed a particular approach with tailoring.
Print automation is a sophisticated process. You need to assess all strengths and weaknesses of individual workers along a given workflow. Automation must achieve an ideal balance that varies from a print shop to print shop, so no two automation processes will look the same.
Although, business automation software stands on three key data recording points in the print order acceptance, processing, and fulfillment processes to identify and analyze inefficiencies and introduce new automation opportunities.
Usually, changes start from the beginning by reviewing order entry processes in printing companies. There are several ways of placing an order that connected either the customer or a sales representative.
The route an order takes through print business is the third key point in the ordering process. We tried to provide information in the diagram.
These three points of data for each order are used to see how specific classifying details for each can be correlated with the route they’ll take through the business, which can help us find shortcuts for particular jobs.
Why is print automation essential?
The print media industry had undergone a cordal transformation when digital media appeared and absorbed many customers in the market. According to industry leaders, all of the ‘hollowing out’ due to digital replacement of print is behind us.
There was a constant movement of customers from print to digital platforms, and a certain equilibrium was finally achieved. The demand for print has reached a stable and predictable volume.
Some printing companies that didn’t adapt to change during this digital “revolution” period have closed or otherwise transformed to capitalize on the most profitable parts of their businesses.
It is also worth mentioning that the life cycle of printed material is short enough to match the nature of digital competitors, where photographs can be easily edited, and fewer customers will replace more orders.
Printing companies are facing rising prices for paper and other materials and increasing demand for more specialized print orders.
As a result, they have to raise the price of their printed products. Printing companies would also have to eliminate a large portion of their production costs, including trimming costs in business sectors such as fulfillment and shipping, sales, estimating, customer service, planning, pre-press, proofing, and even accounting. Some companies might do so, but there is another way.
Manage your workflow with accuracy
Print workflow and automation solutions enable your staff to select print jobs and direct them to devices according to which is the most available or the most efficient. Users of the tool can re-route print jobs based on the machine’s capacity to finish a job quickly.
Implementing the automation solutions can give the ability to receive orders 24/7, streamline pre-press work, speed up printing and finishing and manage all aspects of the on-demand print business efficiently. With optimization comes increased profitability.
Integrating production systems with digital solutions makes printers more scalable and productive, again promoting workflow, speed, and efficiency.
The advantages of implementing print workflow automation
There are many advantages of implementing print workflow automation into a process; most of them are related to increased efficiency of operations and, as a result, higher profitability.
Let’s dive into details and overview of what kind of value we are talking about. Here is a list of 6 benefits of applying print workflow automation.
- Make the process of placing orders more convenient for customers. Automation streamlines submission and tracking orders for customers and enables print projects to market quicker, making your customer happier. Print workflow automation also ensures communication with the customer, as well as within the print organization itself. Online templates provide an opportunity to control the company’s supply chain that will also gain efficiency.
- Reduce errors and delays. Misunderstandings are one of the reasons businesses lose money. Messaging and talks cause delays and misinterpretations. A robust print workflow automation tool allows us to eliminate those costly issues.
- Reduce time for print quotes, customer approvals, and delivery. With print workflow automation, companies can provide a job quote quickly and accurately so the customer can approve the proposal faster. Such an approach makes shorter the turnaround time for delivering the job, making the client happy, and allowing the print organization to move on to new projects.
- Financial control that makes for accounting more accurate. Manual accounting is no longer in use because it leaves a lot of space for errors given the amount of data entry, archiving, filing files. Print workflow automation allows companies to go paperless with their job accounting, thereby reduces the probability of errors.
- Pre-flight jobs during submission and spot problems before starting production. The bigger the job, the more expensive a mistake is. You may quickly identify issues like wrong resolution and readability when utilizing a print workflow automation tool. Fixing the matter before a single letter of a font printed saves the printer the time and money associated with these types of mistakes.
- Integrate order information into online business platforms. In the case of internal usage of the print workflow automation tool, the software connects with other software and various IT platforms to introduce enhanced quality control tools, further reducing the likelihood of costly errors. Order information can also be automatically integrated with a company’s accounting platform, making it easier to process, track, and finalize orders and costs associated with every job.
- Make the process of placing orders more convenient for customers. Automation streamlines submission and tracking orders for customers and enables print projects to market quicker, making your customer happier.
- Print workflow automation also ensures communication with the customer, as well as within the print organization itself.
- Reduce errors and delays. Misunderstandings are one of the reasons businesses lose money. A robust print workflow automation tool allows us to eliminate those costly issues.
- Reduce time for print quotes, customer approvals, and delivery. With print workflow automation, companies can provide a job quote quickly and accurately so the customer can approve the proposal faster.
- Financial control that makes for accounting more accurate. Print workflow automation allows companies to go paperless with their job accounting, thereby reduces the probability of errors.
- Pre-flight jobs during submission and spot problems before starting production. You may quickly identify issues like wrong resolution and readability when utilizing a print workflow automation tool. Fixing the matter before a single letter of a font printed saves the printer the time and money associated with these types of mistakes.
The benefits of workflow automation are many, but they all have one trait – they lead to happier customers and more efficient and productive print management.
You may try different methods to stand out, but it is crucial to identify what works out well. We recommend to follow the trends and adapt to innovations. According to Harvard Business Review, the companies that are ahead of their competitors are those that learn to adapt to new advancements. Print professionals have predicted that the automation trend will impact workflow in 2020 and further. Automating your workflow will provide you a competitive edge.
Improving your workflow is a trigger to bring your printing business to a whole new level. You can now achieve superior productivity and deliver better services to your customers.