Why Optimisation Is No Longer Optional
Why Optimisation Is No Longer Optional
26 March 2020, Wednesday
Rethink Print Workflow, Automate Your Business
The Efficiency Crunch: Why Optimisation Is No Longer Optional
Statistics from the 6th Drupa Global Trends Report are sobering, with 41% of printers reporting a fall in profit margins and less than half experiencing revenue growth1. The pressure is on to develop agile, cost-effective solutions, and for companies aiming to differentiate. One focus area continues to hold prominence: workflows.
Print workflows comprise a sequence of steps that directly affect the speed and quality of output2. They could be related to any operational component, including machinery, individuals, or a group of staff such as account executives or press operators. Workflows are crucial to success because they can unify print technologies that would otherwise require different processes. An integrated workflow can also avoid bottlenecks, facilitate critical job paths, and enhance production capacity.
The key point about workflows is that they are repeated processes. This means that optimising workflows can have huge impacts on efficiency, which is critical in manufacturing environments like printing.
The Importance of Automation
Print automation most commonly refers to streamlining and removing human touchpoints from the prepress side of a workflow3. The most prominent benefit is fewer opportunities for errors to occur, delivering more consistently accurate output. This, along with improved asset utilisation, leads to increased efficiency and lower costs.
In addition to this, the advantages of automation include:
- A more efficient use of resources and increased throughput;
- Greater workflow transparency and accountability;
- Improved responsiveness to customers;
- The ability to run a greater variety of jobs, including shorter runs that were once unprofitable; and
- Improved margins.
These all translate into cost savings, allowing a printer to do more with less, and increasing profitability. When implementing automation solutions, printers will also gain insights into workflow processes, helping them identify where inefficiencies lie, and which areas can be improved. This can impact the customer in very positive ways, not just through cost savings and faster turnaround, but from increased satisfaction. The end goal, and ultimate upside to all of this, is that ever-important factor: customer loyalty.
The Consumer Landscape Evolution
Consumer habits are changing just as rapidly as market dynamics. With steepening demand for shorter turnarounds and increased personalisation, printers are often faced with lower value jobs and tighter deadlines. Automated hybrid workflows hold the edge here, as customers seek out print providers that can provide integrated, highly customised services.
Key features of modern workflows include1:
- Modular architecture, enabling workflows to be scaled and automated as required;
- Browser-based workflows to simplify software installation, support and management;
- Standardised PDF conversion to support a variety of PDF formats;
- Pre-flight to highlight and file problems, producing higher-quality output;
- Imposition tools to automatically layout pages based on job properties;
- Scheduling and job processing by printing each job automatically, or batching jobs to optimise set ups and post press finishing;
- Implementing rules-based logic that intelligently routes and programmes jobs, optimising the productivity of print engines; and
- Job Definition Format/Job Messaging Format standard compliance, allowing a seamless integration with other systems and equipment in the workflow.
This changing, customer-centric environment has altered the way printers operate and necessitates an equally adaptable approach.
The Flexible Workflow Solution
AccurioPro Flux is a collection of solutions that support and elevate professional printing standards. By addressing the evolving requirements of modern workflows, these solutions aim to improve output management with a three-pronged approach: a central point of control, professional workflow automation and convenient web-to-print.
One of the main benefits of this software suite is its make-ready functionality. This maximises business flexibility by allowing even complex last minute changes to be made with no impact to output, as well as enabling real-time previews without needing sample prints. The collaborative nature of AccurioPro Flux facilitates integration with systems such as MIS and ERP, creating a highly connected digital landscape. Specific workflow pain points can be targeted and resolved, ensuring that efficiency is enhanced without compromising quality.
AccurioPro Flux offers essential functionality that minimises costs and maximises ROI. This software caters to a wide range of customers, including print service providers, central reprographic departments, in-house print shops, local councils, universities and corporations.
The Ultimate Cure-All?
It is vital, however, to note that powerful automation software is only one half of the equation. Of equal importance is ensuring that internal processes and mindsets are refreshed as well, enabling external solutions to develop and progress what has already been established. This combination offers the best potential for elevating your business to all new heights.
1 Drupa (2019, April) “6th drupa Global Trends report”, cited in Konica Minolta, Print Future, prokom (2019) “The Route to Efficiency and Automation”
2 Konica Minolta, Print Future, prokom (2019) “The Route to Efficiency and Automation”
3 Prokom (n.d.) “Print Automation Drives Efficiency and Customer Satisfaction” Retrieved from: https://www.prokom.org/business-zone/hot-topics/automation/print-automation-drives-efficiency-and-customer-satisfaction/
4 Konica Minolta, Print Future, prokom (2019) “The Route to Efficiency and Automation”
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