As we approach the end of the calendar year, it is a good time to take a look at your workflow.
Print MIS systems can be the path to reduce order errors, keeping workflow on track and identifying problems early in production, and moving towards more automation. But just adding a Print MIS is not enough. To reap the benefits of a Print MIS there must be a commitment to setting up the system, identifying information collection points, and keeping the system up-to-date as new software is added to the workflow and new equipment is added to the capabilities set.
It's time to ask the question that is often missed in discussions about workflow — is the current workflow scalable? Scalable isn’t only a question of getting bigger; it is also a question of complexity. If your workflow was built to handle one type of job, like books or bills or bingo cards, and today you are handling magazines, direct marketing mailers and posters, there may be a mismatch between your work and your workflow.
The team behind ESKOWorld, the North American user conference for users of ESKO packaging, printing and finishing solutions, with the help of their customer advisory council, created a well thought out agenda that addressed the needs of over 500 users and 100 brand owners and agencies.
In another series of workflow blogs we have been walking through the path of auditing the current workflow in your environment and identifying ways to optimize through automation. It’s a long story that has been unfolding over many months. Along the way, many have asked specific questions about some of the fine points of automation and what tools would be on the “must review” list.
As we come to the last few items in the Workflow Quiz, it is time for some of the heavy lifting that comes with optimizing and right sizing tasks and processes in the workflow. Not everyone will be happy with the process because it uncovers their pet projects and sometimes lead to power plays that start with “this is how we have always done this job” and end with annoyed team members.
Dscoop is part tradeshow and part education event, with an agenda that included A-List keynotes and mentalist Lior Suchard as emcee. The sessions were the expected array of customer success stories, successful selling solutions and product reviews, but there were also a variety of sessions covering finishing, packaging and 3D printing.
Ricoh announced on January 18th that they had taken their strategic investment into Avanti Computer Systems to the next step by acquiring the company. The acquisition is not a surprise for those that have been watching the workflow story develop at Ricoh.
There are still a few more items in the Workflow Quiz to work through before we can say that every stone has been turned over in the quest for optimization and documentation. In this segment it’s time to look at what processes you have that might qualify as islands of automation that should be linked together.
We were in Japan last month, and as luck would have it, we were there at the same time that Komori held an open house to showcase its newest digital print solutions. This international event took place at Komori’s facility in Tsukuba, Japan, and drew hundreds of attendees from all over the Asia Pacific region. It also provided the opportunity to showcase its Impremia IS29, a B2-format, sheetfed, UV inkjet printer.
Touch points are the discrete processes required to move a job through the workflow.
In this series we are looking at the world of workflow. Based on your feedback it is a hot topic, especially during the budgeting season. One thing that emerged from the conversations is that we are all using the word workflow, but we don’t all mean the same thing.
Clearly, the idea of documenting your workflow architecture and environment resonated with those who read the last installment. It is not surprising! We all know that every business process should be backed up with documentation, but it is easy to push it down the priority list. Perhaps raising the visibility will help raise the priority!
A truly documented production workflow identifies all of the touch points.
Most companies that have a printing operation believe that they have a workflow process. In-plant departments, packaging converters, direct mail providers, commercial printers, sign shops and transaction producers all know that to keep the business running they must identify each job, break it down into components, and track it through their organization until it is delivered to the end client. However, what most organizations have is a series of processes that have grown over the years to mitigate bottlenecks as they arise.