When it comes to modern print production workflows, a significant transformation is taking place as businesses increasingly adopt cloud printing solutions.

When speaking with Jason Jones, an advisory engineer at Ricoh, we gained valuable insights into the journey from traditional to cloud-based print production workflows.

This article delves into the evolution of print technology and explores the benefits and challenges of the transformative process of adopting cloud-based technologies.

The Historical Context of Print Production

Traditional print production was all about manual work, complicated processes, and a heavy reliance on physical setups. But things took a turn with the rise of digital technology, introducing more efficiency and flexibility into the industry.

“A lot of our customers have been coming to us and saying I need some sort of automation in place or else the competitor down the road is going to pretty much take care of all the jobs that I have because they can turn those jobs around quicker.”

He highlights how many customers are struggling to find skilled individuals to manage print jobs efficiently. As a result, businesses are increasingly turning to automation to streamline processes and remain competitive.

This digitalization is essentially what paved the way for what we now know as cloud-based solutions. Take RICOH TotalFlow™ Producer, for example – it’s all about working smart from anywhere. This cloud-driven model empowers customers to manage and monitor print jobs seamlessly from any location, minimizing the need for constant on-site presence.

Cloud-based solutions like this one are what’s setting the stage for a more agile and interconnected print production.

Embracing the Digital Transformation

Embracing digital transformation in print is crucial for businesses to stay ahead of their competitors. One of the key benefits of this transformation is the heightened efficiency it brings to print workflows. The manual methods, often involving cumbersome processes and reliance on physical infrastructure, are replaced by streamlined, digital workflows.

This not only accelerates production timelines but also minimizes errors and reduces operational costs. Businesses can now achieve more with less – which is a crucial aspect in today’s competitive market as it helps with swift adaptation to evolving market needs.

So, as technology continues to advance, the importance of cloud-based solutions will become more pronounced in achieving a competitive edge.

“I think the cloud impacted the print production industry in two ways. Firstly, by no longer requiring businesses to have this huge infrastructure that costs a lot to maintain. Now they can move everything in the cloud. And secondly, as far as working from anywhere, businesses can now have individuals pretty much sitting on the beach somewhere as they’re managing the workflow, getting jobs down to the printer. Again, we still need somebody to load the printer and to ship that paper out, but manipulating those files and managing that workflow doesn’t necessarily have to be done on site.”

These modern cloud-based solutions provide scalability and cost-effectiveness that allows businesses to adapt to fluctuating workloads without the need for substantial infrastructure investments.

Ricoh’s Role in Pioneering the Shift

Jason highlighted the significant strides that Ricoh has taken, with products like Ricoh Total Flow Producer leading the charge. This cloud-based solution empowers businesses to manage and monitor print jobs efficiently, from customer interaction to the final output device, all without the need for constant on-site presence.

Jason emphasized that Ricoh’s approach caters to the changing workforce dynamics, where remote work has now become a norm.

“Ricoh’s got products that cover both grounds. We’ve got some that are on-premises, some that are cloud-based, and even some that are offering a hybrid solution so you can have the best of both worlds.”

Inside the production space, Ricoh still has a mix of older on-premises products and newer cloud-ready ones. It often boils down to what makes sense for the customer’s budget and infrastructure needs.

For instance, investing in a server for on-premises operations comes with its own costs – the server itself, power consumption, and ongoing maintenance. On the flip side, embracing the cloud means leveraging reputable services that handle all the infrastructure maintenance and updates, offering a more scalable and cost-effective approach.

Overcoming Challenges in the Cloud Transition

Despite the evident advantages of cloud-based solutions, businesses often face challenges during the transition.

“Some of the challenges I’ve seen customers face is somewhat of the fear of the unknown – what’s going to happen if my network goes down and I don’t have access to that cloud? And it’s definitely a valid concern because your files are not going to hit your printer if your network is completely down.”

But the risks of potential disruptions to network connectivity can be minimized by using reputable cloud service providers that offer high uptime.

Additionally, Ricoh’s hybrid solutions allow businesses to maintain some on-premises infrastructure while harnessing the benefits of the cloud. By addressing these challenges, Ricoh aims to make the transition smoother, ensuring that businesses can focus on their core operations without compromising reliability and security.

Looking Ahead: The Future of Cloud-Based Print Production Trends

“So as far as individuals that have moved some of their stuff to the cloud, It’s allowed them to free up some of those resources and not in a sense that those resources are no longer with the company, but allow those resources to now do other things inside of the company that can still help move those jobs along and still help production get completed.”

The future of print production technology holds exciting possibilities, with machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) taking center stage.

Jason suggests that customers should stay informed about products leveraging these technologies to enhance efficiency, but he also emphasizes the importance of integrating business intelligence tools into operations.

“Relying solely on manual methods like spreadsheets can lead to overlooking valuable information. Instead, look into more automated tools capable of quick and accurate data analysis.”

This will help businesses make well-informed decisions based on factual insights, moving beyond just trusting their gut feelings.

Conclusion

This evolution of print production towards cloud-based solutions represents a transformative journey driven by digital technologies. It seems that embracing cloud-based print production is not just an option, but a strategic imperative for businesses seeking sustained success in the ever-evolving print industry.

Ricoh’s contributions and innovations in this space, as highlighted by Jason Jones, underscore the company’s commitment to shaping the future of print production. Looking forward, the integration of AI and machine learning heralds a new era in print technology – which will also spike the need for improved print security.

As businesses navigate challenges in the cloud transition, Ricoh’s solutions provide a reliable path to a more agile and efficient print production environment. Explore Ricoh’s solutions here.


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Jason Jones

Meet the Author

Jason Jones

Senior Solutions Engineer at Ricoh USA with expertise in engineering and a passion for building software and 3D printing.





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