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The Datamax Thinking Blog

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Pressed for Time? 4 Reasons to Pursue Print Workflow Automation

print workflow automation Datamax

By taking measures now to streamline and, where possible, automate your workflow processes, your commercial printer, quick copy shop or In-Plant Center has the potential to lower costs, accelerate production time and eliminate processing errors.

Growing up, I distinctly remember the sound of my father’s brass wind up clock, ringing every morning from across the house.

Today, of course, I have an iPhone with an automated function to set my alarm for the same time every day. It does the work for me — I don’t have to remember to wind it up daily.

Today’s digital presses have evolved in the same manner. We have technology at our disposal to make what we do simpler, faster, and more effective. Any tool that can help declutter the production workflow process should be contemplated given the number of challenges all print operators face today. These include:

  • Increasing customer demands
  • Faster delivery and lower prices
  • Shorter run lengths
  • Higher number of small jobs
  • Many different job submission channels

Recent research from Keypoint Intelligence brought the lack of production print automation to light. 87 percent of respondents stated they are working with all or mostly manual processes, while 57 percent of the same professionals surveyed said that their strategic business direction is to focus on reducing production costs and improving efficiencies.

Just as anything else, automation is itself a process. You must crawl before you walk, and walk before you run. But by taking measures now to streamline and, where possible, automate your workflow processes, your commercial printer, quick copy shop or In-Plant Center has the potential to lower costs, accelerate production time and eliminate processing errors.

4 Reasons Print Operators Should Pursue Print Workflow Automation

1. Cut out redundant tasks. 

No one likes brushing their teeth every day, but it’s a required routine task that we all concede to doing. Basic print settings are similarly essential. Simple required tasks like two-sided printing, black and white/color settings, etc. don't have to be selectable features that we have to remember over and over again. 

Going a step further in automation, hot folders and presets relieve users of the repetitive task of configuring print settings for multiple jobs. Presets allow you to configure job properties once and save them as a custom name.

When you cut out monotonous, manual tasks, you also eliminate the inevitable human error factor.

2. Get time on your side again.

Turn around times certainly aren't getting longer. You don't have more time - you have less.  So getting time on your side is a valuable advantage for today's print environment. 

Manually imposing jobs isn't just error prone, it's time consuming. Skilled staff can easily create
imposition templates to automate this task. Often, I find that customers have advanced imposition features on their digital equipment, but simply don't know how to properly utilize them.

Automation with tools like Fiery Hot Folders gives the production staff the ability to drag and drop jobs with identical layout and setup requirements. This functionality ultimately allows them to spend more time on valuable customer service needs and less on redundant and repetitive tasks.

3. Create workflows that stay ... when employees don't.

In any industry, any market, any business, employees come and go.

If your organization creates hot folder work flows, variable data processing workflows, or other forms of automation, when turnover occurs these workflows stay. Creating automation creates a faster, shorter learning curve for those in your operation.

4. Jump to the next project (or money-making project).

The print world is moving fast these days — are you keeping pace?

Whether it's broadening your range or turning around jobs faster than ever before, your workflow process is a core differentiator for staying competitive. Automation can catapult you out of the slow, manual, day-to-day grind and have you jumping to the next money-making project already. 

So, how to get started? This EFI eBook "Automation Building Blocks" eBook shares 6 easy ways to get going with your automation steps. Click the thumbnail below to get your copy! 

E-Book-Template-EFI-6-Easy-Ways-to-Streamline-Your-Print-Production

Topics: Automation Production Print Workflow