… yes, it’s definitely time for automation.
Automation is nothing new. So why is it, that many very experienced LFPs seem to be nervous of taking the first step and getting the instant benefits? Anything that puts more £/€/$ in your pocket must be worth exploring…
It’s true, ‘clear benefits for productivity’ and ‘more effective color management’ seem like buzzwords when we read them so often. Most technology producers are guilty of over-using the jargon (we may be too). We can also see how it’s hard to translate that jargon into ‘yes, but how can I get Mick and Mary to work faster?’, or ‘how will this software make me more money, this week?’ We understand, there are lots of reasons why automation might seem too much to take in, let alone take on. But let’s dispel some myths:
- Automation does not mean thousands of £/€/$ investment, up-front.
- Automation does not mean you’re going to replace experienced teams of people, overnight.
- Automation does not mean you have to replace your current printers or learn complex new systems.
This is the easiest way to bust the number one myth that’s still connected to ‘becoming automated’: you and your teams are probably automating your workflows already, even though you don’t realise it. It’s not difficult to do.
You use Adobe, right? It’s hard to imagine any digital large format printers who aren’t using Adobe products in their pre-press, and all of that Adobe software is now sourced and supplied via Adobe’s Cloud. These days, all kinds of software – whether it’s paid for monthly or on an annual contract – accesses features that aren’t installed on a hard-disk. That instant access to outsourced software is the first step on the road to automation.
It’s not scary. In fact, the idea of buying ‘pay-as-you-play’ automatic services has been around for years. If you have a Pay-As-You-Go phone, then you’re already signed up to an automated service. It gives you ‘x’ amount of data – automatically – and ‘y’ hours of phone time – automatically – plus ‘z’ texts – automatically.
Our automated workflow software works exactly the same way: you tell us the printers and devices you’re using, and we give you access to the software you need, via the Cloud, and charge you accordingly. What’s more, we can show you with our workflow software calculator, exactly what those regular costs would be.
One of the greatest advantages of automation is, quite simply, the fact that your people don’t have to do the same repetitive jobs, over and over again. This is important for at least three reasons:
- People can make mistakes (sorry, they do), which means you’re in danger of losing time, resources, and money (to say nothing of your reputation).
- Even if your people are great, other people have a habit of changing their minds. With automated workflow software in place, your people have a reliable way to handle last-minute changes and (more importantly) to repeat a job, or a process, with a 100% guarantee of consistency. Accurate color, every time? That’s what automation delivers. It’s a level of constant quality that has a tangible value to your business.
- And your people – if they’re not tied to a computer doing the same pre-press color tweaks or laying out the same jobs, over and over again – can be freed up to use their experience and expertise in the right place.
Connected workflow tools take the strain. ‘Smart’ layouts reduce waste. Templates make life easier, and all of these outputs come under the heading ‘automation’. In short, automation removes the pressure from your people and makes sure you can deliver higher quality outputs, 24/7, anywhere in the world.
Perhaps the biggest misconception about automation, is that you have to change your business model or your machines to ‘get automated’ in any way. Not true. On the contrary, a straightforward installation of a more advanced, Cloud-based RIP can deliver immediate benefits for you and for your customers. For example:
- Automation means accurate control over media, which means accurate quotes and invoicing
- Automation means guaranteed consistent color, which means no strike-offs or wasted print runs
- Automation means instant reporting in real time, and the ability to work faster (and smarter)
Small businesses in our sector might not be thinking about changes to software that could increase their profits, but we think that’s a character-flaw in our industry, not in their business models. As a rule, printers don’t spend hours poring over industry magazines, learning about ways to make more money. What they are doing, every day, is trying to focus on product quality and client service at the expense of manufacturing efficiency.
Buying patterns are changing. Run volumes are reducing. Demand for consistency and repeatability (on demand perfection) is increasing, and LFP businesses in every sector are having to adapt to meet customer expectations of lightning-fast turnarounds. That’s challenging.
Outdated ways of working are costing wide-format printers thousands in missed revenue opportunities. And, just to push the point home, back in 2018, InfoTrends’ European Software Investment Outlook stated that 41.9% of printers who increased their revenue in the last five years said “automation software made it happen” – or words to that effect.
Automation isn’t complicated.
Isn’t it time find out what it could do for YOUR large format print business?
Drop us a quick email. We’ll get in touch, find out just a little about the type of business you have, and explain the instant automation benefits that PrintFactory’s RIP-based workflow tools can give to your business.