Leveraging Process Integration in a Hybrid Environment Leads to Profitability, ProductivityJuly 2014 By John Henze
Today's print buyers are demanding a wide range of value-added services such as personalization and multi-channel communications, together with shorter run lengths and faster turnaround time—and, of course, with no compromise in quality. For print professionals, this means that both business and production processes must be as automated as possible. The more human intervention that is required across the entire workflow, the more time, cost and potential for error should be factored in.
Increasingly, industry professionals are processing jobs using a combination of both offset and digital printing technologies, and in many cases, a single job may contain elements of both. In addition, many commercial printers are adding wide-format capability to address the growing demand for signs and display graphics, and also as a way to serve a broader array of customer needs. To efficiently address these requirements, a single point of entry into the workflow is a definite plus.
These evolving market dynamics have placed integration across various systems and solutions throughout the entire printing operation high on the list of important goals for modern printing businesses. Inevitably, this requires multi-vendor collaboration to ensure seamless integration with as little hassle as possible.
Many suppliers to the industry are working together to meet these demands. Doing so is in the vendors' best interests, as it makes it easier for vendors' joint customers to automate business and production processes and to reduce demand on staff and operators.
Modern Litho, in Jefferson City, MO, is a stellar example of a company that has jumped on this automation bandwagon wholeheartedly. With a primary focus on publication printing, Modern Litho makes it possible for its customers to upload content for publication issues and, within moments, receive a digital proof—a process that not so long ago took a minimum of four to five days. This has been made possible by an in-depth integration of the ERP software it has from one vendor with the prepress workflow it has from another.
In addition to the customer benefits this integration delivers, Modern Litho has achieved significant internal efficiencies. The company was able to take on 50 new publications in 2013 and experienced revenue growth in excess of 25 percent, all without the need to add prepress staff. In addition, costs have been substantially reduced, delivering a healthy bottom line for the printer.