How AI is Revolutionizing the Print Industry
AI is everywhere these days, from the biggest enterprise computer systems all the way down to the predictive text function in your phone’s keyboard. So it should come as no surprise that the print industry is taking advantage of AI technology as well. Using it to cut down on waste, speed up production times, and otherwise deliver solutions that might feel like they’re straight out of the future, these AI-powered solutions are reshaping the way print shops interact with their customers. They’re also improving their services, with faster turnaround times, reduced costs, and greater flexibility for customization that come as a result of an AI-infused printing process. Here are some of the ways that we’ve seen AI revolutionize the print industry.
AI-assisted print layouts help minimize waste by automatically making the best usage of your print material. Whether you’re printing simple circles or complicated diecuts, smart layouts proactively plan to maximize the capacity of each sheet. As one of the most frustrating and time-consuming parts of the printing process, automating this process saves time, as well as materials. AI-enabled systems are able to quickly calculate the best use of space, delivering clever solutions for even the most complex and irregular patterns.
Press monitoring and adjustments
Introducing AI to the print monitoring phase lets shop owners breathe a little easier, as these smart systems are able to make real-time decisions based on sensor feedback. This includes detecting and correcting common hangups like paper alignment and image quality. These functions can dramatically reduce the amount of time spent on monitoring for quality control and immediately reduce the risk of wasting material on bad prints. Imagine having a print run automatically notify you when something is out of alignment, then take care of the problem itself without any intervention on your part. That’s AI at work.
In any industry, workflow automation is one of the most common uses for AI, and the print industry is no different. The goal of workflow automation is to speed up processes and reduce manual workloads by programming the machine to perform certain tasks – especially the repetitive ones. In the print industry, this means processing orders quickly, assisting with shipping and other logistics, tracking inventory and automatically placing resupply orders, and generally taking on much of the “busy work” that eats away at your time.
Automated diecut algorithms
Imagine letting your customers shape their designs any way they want, with no regard for the complexity of cutting out the finished product. That might sound like a guaranteed recipe for migraines, but with AI it becomes possible to give your customers the reins without worrying about what they might break. The combination of AI-assisted layout and automated diecutting machines opens up a whole realm of possibilities that make it easier for your customers to get their ideas onto the page. Allowing customers to create their own designs also lowers your overhead, which affords you the ability to offer more competitive pricing. With AI-based diecutting calculations in place, you’ll see continued improvements to customer experience and a reduction in the fixes you need to make.
AI is famous, or maybe infamous, for its ability to micro-target advertisements. The phenomenon when you see an ad for something you just mentioned? That’s not your phone spying on you. That’s AI profiling your internet browsing habits, social media posts, and everything else it can glean from your digital data trail to decide what you might be thinking about. As an advertiser, you can use this to your advantage by creating targeted ads and serving them up to specific audiences. It also makes it possible to automate complex marketing campaigns based on conditional behaviors, like triggering a followup email for an abandoned shopping cart.
Print shops rely on a lot of file transfers, and some even allow customers to connect phones and other devices directly to their printers. All of these represent a risk when it comes to cyber security, but AI can help mitigate the danger. Advanced analytics allow AI to monitor your network for anomalies which can reveal security breaches before they become a major problem.
These are just a few examples of how print shops can change the way they do business by using AI, automating processes and creating new and innovative solutions for customers. For now, these changes can give you a competitive advantage, but with their widespread appeal and easy adoption it’s only a matter of time until they become the standard rather than the exception.
Piragath Mahalingam is the VP of Digital Products & Technology at StickerYou, a global, e-commerce leader in custom-printed, diecut products that empower consumers and businesses to create high-quality materials for personal expression, marketing, and packaging.