The last decade has seen a quantifiable move to shorter print run in various print segments.  Commercial print, POD and the book market have all experienced this trend, making it more difficult to schedule and prepare. From single copy prints to short-run efforts, you may find that there is more involved because the run length doesn’t determine the administrative requirements of moving the job from order entry to delivery. The current trend can lead to narrowing margins and lower profit, unless you welcome workflow automation into your shop.

If you think that automation means loss of control or rigid policies that won’t fit with how you process work, welcome to the new era! Today’s workflow automation is driven by the rules and policies that you set. You set the attributes that control the automation, and then you can change as you add new equipment and new products. To get started, follow these recommendations:

#1 Rethink How Your Categorize Jobs: Many printers think in terms of the customer, the type of work they buy, and the order that work comes in. Take a step back and think about print requirements in terms of substrate and finishing requirements in addition to deadlines. You may find that new scheduling options surface, aided by batching jobs and automating imposition. Batching jobs based on substrate, due date, and finishing may give you a different level of efficiency that allows short-run jobs to integrate into the workflow without an undo number of physical touchpoints. Even capacity grows as you automate batching and use smart imposition options.

#2 Work Backwards from the Product: A good way to understand your categories is to work backwards from your finished products. Consider a quick visual aid, starting with a grid to group all like finished work. For example, group mailed products, but also consider different envelope types, different fold requirements, and different substrates. Do the same for pallet deliveries. That grid, plus the work done in the first step, gives you the perfect view of how to tag products for batching and imposition. To be most effective, set up a training session so that sales and customer service teams begin to think in terms of the ways you can batch and schedule for efficiency.

#3 Make Production Visible: This is an integration story. An effective workflow is one that operates transparently, sharing updates among systems. The web-to-print and order entry systems should have visibility to the inventory and the Print MIS, as well as prepress. Job scheduling becomes more efficient when upstream processes optimize the files by batching, reducing bottlenecks.

Empower your workflow with RICOH TotalFlow BatchBuilder™. It brings a new tool to the efficiency paradigm that will change how you think about automated workflow. Its vendor-neutral approach to organizing files for intelligent batching puts you in control of how to group work. Pair it with Ultimate Impostrip® for a seamless integration that ensures you have the most effective imposition for your needs, no matter how complex!

To learn how to empower your workflow with RICOH TotalFlow BatchBuilder and Ultimate Impostrip, we invite you to join our experts on May 20, 2021 at 11 am PT/ 2 pm ET. Secure you spot by registering today as space is limited.

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Barb Willans

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Barb Willans


Commercial Print
Print Production
Print Software
Workflow Automation

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