Automation and the Cloud

Cloud-based solutions bring ultimate flexibility to your production workflow processes. Software as a Service – SaaS – solutions allow you to expand and contract as you move through seasonal changes in volumes without investing in expensive server upgrades, storage expansion, or other on-premise upgrades.

The capacity is always there as you grow and hit new plateaus. That scalability can be integrated with anywhere, anytime access to your critical business processes, including Customer Relationship Management (CRM), inventory management, and Management Information Systems (MIS).

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Now, add in task automation, and you have a state-of-the-art print shop that can reduce touchpoints and labor, save money, and add consistency to every process.

End-to-end process automation that streamlines repetitive tasks, shares information across systems, and displays statuses gives your production environment superpowers. You can process more work with fewer touchpoints leading to a better use of staff time and optimized machine capacity. To gain a competitive advantage, begin by walking your workflow. Do a deep dive into what you are doing today and where your inefficiencies may be impacting your bottom line.

While integrated automation can add benefits to virtually every workflow task, the research tells us that in most print environments, in-plant and print-for-pay, job onboarding is the biggest opportunity to gain efficiency with software tools that link the crucial processes together to streamline your path to profit.

Automate to Accelerate

Job onboarding is where most print companies lose time and negatively impact their profitability. The time lost in downloading and virus testing job files is significant for printers who still accept inefficient job submission methods such as email from their clients. In addition, there is always a chance that an infected file can land on a production server which can potentially damage your systems and could be a lengthy process to remove, further delaying job turnaround times.

Without process automation, chasing files, repairing specifications, solving file problems, and waiting for information cause the most complaints, and they can all be mitigated with a welldesigned automated print management solution. To get a sense of how cloud-based automation could change your profit profile, start with how you onboard jobs. In-plants and print-for-pay operations have slightly different workflow steps, but the process always begins when the customer defines their job specifications, and you move them to your order entry environment.

Some printers find that they receive jobs with the same challenges every time they come in the door. It can take hours or days to resolve the issues, impacting production schedules and adding costs that decrease profit. Others see that some of their biggest customers are the slowest at responding, causing production delays that have a domino effect on productivity. When there are disparate and unconnected systems and processes in use, including email, phone calls, and chats, there is no single source of visibility, resulting in duplication and miscommunication, leaking profit with additional touch point or delay.

Automating job onboarding processes brings consistency to how the job arrives and how the job specifications are documented whether you operate a single site or many. Your workflow can be designed with consistent notifications that reject problem jobs and return them to the client with information on the problems found without staff members lifting a finger. It increases productivity because the process automation knows the rules, applies the rules consistently, and only alerts the team if there is a problem the system doesn’t recognize. When the job onboarding is automated it improves your workflow and will affect your overall job management through the life cycle of each job. In order to maximize your resources and profitability, schedule an audit to understand your workflow.

The benefits of effective job onboarding and process automation touch every part of the business. Files no longer move into a process unless they are ready for the next production step. The accuracy of rules-based automation ensures fewer delays, superior print quality, optimized turnaround time, and reduces waste from print rework.

Automated job onboarding also increases security. Every file can be scanned for viruses and malware, regardless of the customer. The time savings are significant, and it keeps intrusive malware from entering the production environment, where even Digital Front Ends (DFEs) can be infected.

Cloud-based Automation for Customer Satisfaction

Improving job onboarding through automation often means adding client portals. They can have a remarkable effect on productivity and efficiency. There are fewer delays, calls, and mistakes.

Client portals give you and the customer control of the work submitted for print. They can be programmed with rules to only accept the agreed job specifications, generate proofs, and let customers track the status of their work without asking their customer service representative (CSR). If they find an issue with a job proof, the best systems provide tools to make corrections, keeping the work moving on its path to production. An automated future that leverages current technology and establishes the infrastructure for the next generation of automation options can seem like a tall order, but the power of cloud-based SaaS solutions is that they can be implemented in shorter timeframes than on-premise software tools, easily integrated, and automatically updated without causing unplanned downtime. The good news is, there is help available.

 

The team at Ricoh has introduced RICOH TotalFlowTM Producer, a comprehensive cloud platform designed to automate print production workflows beginning with job onboarding and detecting malware. It also leverages data from the production floor to expose printer availability, ink and paper stock levels to ensure that every job is produced efficiently with maximum profit.

Talk to your Ricoh team to learn how this cloud-based, small-footprint solution can power your print production today and in the future without a huge investment.

Request a free trial today and learn how a cloud environment can boost your productivity and profitability through automation.

About RICOH TotalFlow Producer

RICOH TotalFlow Producer is a cloud-based workflow technology offering simple, easy-to-use tools for end-to-end production workflow which does not require expensive IT expertise. Regardless of vendor, this SaaS solution can automate the submission and consolidation of jobs from multiple sources and feed them to any hot folder or printer. Further, it allows for preflight automation of jobs, and has PDF editing capability.

Client portals give you and the customer control of the work submitted for print. They can be programmed with rules to only accept the agreed job specifications, generate proofs, and let customers track the status of their work without asking their customer service representative (CSR). If they find an issue with a job proof, the best systems provide tools to make corrections, keeping the work moving on its path to production. An automated future that leverages current technology and establishes the infrastructure for the next generation of automation options can seem like a tall order, but the power of cloud-based SaaS solutions is that they can be implemented in shorter timeframes than on-premise software tools, easily integrated, and automatically updated without causing unplanned downtime. The good news is, there is help available.

Key benefits:

  • Seamless production integration regardless of vendor
  • Jumpstart job onboarding and output automation capabilities
  • Automate job submission from multiple sources
  • Easy to set up and cost-effective customer-facing portals

RICOH TotalFlow Producer leverages a cloud-based approach to equip your organization with scalable and flexible print-on-demand production workflow tools, without a heavy IT investment.

  • Automates the order entry and file preperation process of jobs coming from multiple online sources
  • Helps make production decisions quickly by providing information transparency throughout the workflow process
  • Allows for the re-assignment of employees to more profitable tasks
  • Seamlessly integrates with your existing software and hardware with its vendoragnostic design
  • Improves security and reliability via a cloud-based environment, helping prevent disruptions and increase productivity

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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Pat McGrew

Meet the Author

Pat McGrew

Always promoting best practices for the print business, Pat leverages decades of industry experience as an owner, executive, marketer, analyst, evangelist and consultant to enable your hardware, software and services business growth. Always an advocate for the customer, particularly in workflow and bizflow effectiveness, business management and portfolio messaging, Pat’s vast experience spans all customer communication channels and segments in order to assist you in your strategic goals. An experienced professional speaker, analyst, podcaster and host of #PrintSampleTV, Pat is well recognized and awarded for her contribution to the industry, and sought out globally to perform triage on your business needs. Pat is certified as a Master Electronic Document Professional by Xplor, as a Color Management Professional (CMP), CMP Digital, and BrandQ Professional by IDEAlliance.





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