Stack of printed paper

What a workflow assessment can do for your business

by Ryan Kiley

eBook: The production print guide to workflow automation, part 2

As John Nash, the subject of "A Beautiful Mind,” noted, it’s not just important to focus on the task at hand; you have to look at the task as a whole and trade off individual efficiencies so that the whole task becomes better.

Nash was quick to recognize patterns. And so is InfoTrends. According to their "U.S. Production Software Investment Outlook"[1], print providers are expecting year-over-year revenues to grow 4.8 percent on average, with 20 percent expecting double-digit gains as a result of investing in production workflow software to support service expansions, improve operational efficiencies and target niche segments. These anticipated growths clearly demonstrate that workflow is key to growth and must be evaluated throughout your overall operation.

Assessing workflow isn’t easy. It’s a good idea to partner with someone who has deep experience on a print shop floor, who’s wrangled with a variety of solutions — and who’s dealt with engineering, back office and customer-facing processes.

Workflow is key to growth and must be evaluated throughout your overall operation.

When I talk with printers about operational challenges, most say that they would like to spend 75 percent of a hypothetical budget on improving efficiency — speeding workflow and shredding redundancy. Such trouble spots bubble to the surface during a skilled assessment in which you should be able to spot:

  • Manual operations that can be better handled by automation

  • Pieces that should be tied together to improve the movement of paper through the presses

  • Outdated technology that should be replaced or upgraded

  • Financial controls that should be tightened to present a true view of the costs of facilities, salary, and equipment in order to price jobs accurately.  

A good assessment can also reveal parts of your business that could be expanded by additional services, especially in the area of color management, substrates, and even campaign management.

An experienced partner should also clue you into what other shops are doing down the road and across the country. What once was a stable industry has experienced a sea wave of change. Your business must stay agile to ensure customer loyalty and growth.

[1] Source: "U.S. Production Software Investment Outlook 2016." InfoTrends.com. March 2016. http://store.infotrendsresearch.com/ProductDetails.asp?ProductCode=150458

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