Is workflow the key to surviving and thriving for today’s in-plants?
By Eric de Goeijen on December 2nd, 2010
In my last post I talked about the impact of workflow on production environments – especially transactional environments – not just as the connective tissue that links people, processes and technology – but a means to reducing costs, boosting productivity and improving quality.
Production print service providers face many challenges today, but in-plant operations arguably face even more. These guys are dealing with squeezed budgets and simultaneous pressure to grow print volumes, improve service levels, increase productivity and offer an ever-expanding suite of services like producing tabs, binding, transaction printing, fulfillment, direct mail, booklets, and security printing. If they can’t meet the corporate need, they don’t just have a bad year – they get lifted right out of the enterprise.
Survival depends on being able to respond to changing customer needs, turn jobs around faster, reduce costs, improve quality and make it easier for internal customers to place orders and track and deliver jobs — all while fending off threats from outside competitors. Which leads to the biggest challenge in-plants face: staying relevant at a time when economic turmoil makes them especially vulnerable to cost-cutting initiatives. For better or worse, the pressure is on to become an indispensable resource. As a result, success is often directly correlated to the efficiency of the workflow. For in-plants looking to boost process efficiency, drive down costs, speed turnaround and satisfy customers, workflow automation is a must.
Here are 10 ways that workflow can help transform a print operation from a cost center to a profit center:
- Connecting the print center to the corporate network
- Simplifying job submission, tracking and management
- Automating pre-print services like scanning, editing and composing documents
- Selecting and directing jobs to the best-fit device
- Converting proprietary files to open PDF format
- Automating finishing
- Archiving jobs and publishing them to CDs, DVDs
- Providing customers with easy web-based viewing and reprint ordering
- Offering customers a portable, fully searchable, and indexed archive
- Giving corporate customers visibility into what you do and how you do it
Workflow solutions can improve the way that work gets done and make the benefits of the services that in-plants offer visible across the organization. Workflow archive and audit features provide a baseline to measure against when the “outsourcing option” is discussed.
Let’s face it, in-plant shops are often in the basement or located far, far away from headquarters. They may be a “black box” as far as many of their best clients are concerned. Helping customers understand what has to happen to get their job out the door, and allowing them to participate in success can make your group less of a “plant” and more of a partner.