The ultimate goal of any printer — from in-plant printers to commercial print service providers (PSPs) — is speed to press. Getting an error-free print job to press quickly is the primary way to increase output and profits alike because the faster you get to press, the more jobs you can produce. Simple right?
Unfortunately, not so much. As we talk to leaders at commercial printers, they’re seeing too many errors, too much rework, and production turns that are just too slow.
The Status Quo Isn’t Pretty
For most commercial printers, the status quo isn’t working out very well. There’s pressure to produce more, faster, even as print jobs grow more complex. Your customers want instant gratification, expecting their orders now and balking at additional costs. Your team of employees is likely smaller than you’d like it to be — whether due to budget constraints or difficulty hiring. But the work (hopefully) just keeps coming, so you’re asking more out of everyone, with no reprieve in sight.
Add in supply chain issues and burnout is increasingly likely if you’re not already seeing it among your team members (or yourself).
Worst of all, you’re likely losing money when you don’t have to be: any inability to deliver jobs on time and right the first time destroys the already razor-thin margins in this industry.
Why Printing Businesses Face These Challenges
While the reasons for these challenges are multifaceted and complex, one thread runs through all of them: poor accuracy.
A lack of accuracy (especially in the prepress stage) is the reason printers can’t increase their capacity because they’re constantly circling back to the file specification and preparation stage, doing the same work multiple times because it still isn’t right.
And ultimately, it’s the reason printers are losing money on jobs.
At Ricoh, we’ve helped many printers overcome these challenges through better software tools and prepress automation. Today, we’re showing you how to do that with the help of RICOH TotalFlow Prep.
RICOH TotalFlow Prep Solves Problems with Print Job Automation and Overall Efficiency
With RICOH TotalFlow Prep, you can solve persistent and costly problems with accuracy and speed to press. RICOH TotalFlow Prep does this by reducing manual work and inconsistencies — and the errors that inevitably come along with it.
RICOH TotalFlow Prep automates simple tasks in your prepress workflow and allows you to program and preset elements that deal with commonalities between jobs. Your team still handles the document inspection, but they no longer have to deal with the time-consuming, repetitive prepress setup processes familiar to most print jobs.
RICOH TotalFlow Prep helps you automate and speed:
- Job assembly
- Makeready file creation
- File conversion
In addition, RICOH TotalFlow Prep gives you the ability to make last-minute client edits: now you can perform late-stage edits without sending the project back to the start of the process.
Why Automate Now?
If your current processes are working, even if they’re not perfect, why disrupt them? Why is now the right time to automate?
We see two reasons, both critically important.
First, staffing. This industry is difficult to staff in a normal market. And today’s market is anything but normal: between a broader labor shortage and the ongoing effects of a pandemic, hiring seems nearly impossible. As your current staff reaches retirement age or moves on to other opportunities, what will you do?
Automation is one key way to doing more with less. If you’re struggling to fill job openings, consider whether you’d need so many job openings if you’d embrace automation and streamline some of the manual processes eating up your time and profits.
Second, print job capacity. Most printers live in a constant state of deadline pressure, always needing to accomplish more than can be done given the resources at hand. Some even turn away jobs due to capacity constraints. Imagine taking on more jobs without feeling the resource strain because the errors bottlenecking your workflow are eliminated.
Automation using a tool like RICOH TotalFlow Prep saves printers preparation time on every single job, automating similar steps across jobs and reducing labor-intensive manual work.
Meet the Author
Begum’s 30+ years in the graphics/prepress/print industry has crafted her well-rounded expertise in a multitude of segments with an emphasis on technology, marketing and multimedia including video/audio production. Starting out in the graphics world in 1985 with the very first Apple computer, her career broadened to positions at Pixar Studios, Adobe, Kimoto Technologies, Silicon Graphics and CGS Publishing in Germany, (makers of Oris software for color management) and Xerox Canada prior to joining Ricoh Canada. After operating her own industry consulting firm for 15+ years, Begum now serves as a Global Software Product Manager for the Ricoh Graphic Communications division of Ricoh.