Xplor: How does workflow impact throughput
Printers that have automated their workflows can produce more jobs per day than those with low automation — up to 335 jobs per day versus 125. That’s one of the findings presented at the Xplor breakfast meeting at PRINTING United.
Moderators Pat McGrew, managing director of McGrew Group, and Ryan McAbee, principal at Pilex Expo Dot Consulting, led a panel discussion with Jonathon Malone-McGrew, senior director of engagement at Solimar Systems; Nathan Safran, VP of research at NAPCO Media; and Ernie Crawford, president of Crawford Technologies.
The panel was united in their assessment of the value of automating workflows. Here are some of the highlights:
- Research from NAPCO Media shows that 62% of commercial printers agree that automation is the most important element in keeping companies in the black; 65% of in-plants agree.
- The value includes faster order processing, improved press utilization, less waste, fewer errors, improved delivery times, better margins, better operational visibility, and faster proofing. According to Solimar’s research, its customers see financial benefits from $75,000 to $400,000 after automating their processes.
- Keeping your systems up-to-date ensures you continue to receive support from suppliers. You can avoid costs related to lost productivity and pushing through upgrades in an emergency, which can be dangerous.
- If you’re trying to decide how to begin installing automation software, look to your pain points and your challenges. Other good indicators are complaints from your customers, surprise visits from regulators and auditors, and legacy systems that are falling apart.
- Make sure your staff deals with the difficult issues and try to automate the repeatable tasks. Don’t rely solely on your staff to be the problem solvers for all issues if those issues can be handled by technology.
- While printers want efficiencies, there is an education gap around what’s possible. Remember that one size does not fit all, and optimization is a must.
Denise Gustavson is the Editorial Director and Special Projects Editor for the Printing & Packaging Group, which includes Printing Impressions, packagePRINTING, In-plant Graphics and Wide-Format Impressions magazines, among other brands. She is also the Editor-in-Chief of Wide-Format Impressions.