If 2020 has been a slower-than-normal year for your business, you’re not alone.

According to a survey by Quocirca, a market research firm specializing in print and digital technologies, 70 percent of print industry executives report a significant decline in print volume, and more than 75 percent expect this market disruption to continue for the foreseeable future.

On the bright side, nearly 80 percent of those surveyed see the downturn as an opportunity to innovate and introduce new products and services. At Avanti, we’re encouraging print shop owners to add one more item to that list: a workflow audit to review the flow and efficiency of your production and make recommendations for improvements.Workflow Improvements

A workflow audit is hard to do when presses and personnel are working at full capacity. However, few tasks offer greater potential to improve efficiency, reduce waste and save money over the long term. Here are three ways a workflow audit can help:

  1. It can identify tasks you could and should be automating.

Your manufacturing information system allows you to automate dozens of tasks, but you may not be taking advantage of all those options. For instance, are you still producing estimates from scratch? The Avanti Slingshot Print MIS has a template that can automatically populate a quote for simpler jobs, taking all supplies and tasks into account. Do you manually develop your production schedule? The MIS has tools to automate the order of jobs, identifying opportunities to gang similar jobs for more efficiency, and making sure quick-and-easy runs don’t get stuck behind larger, less-urgent projects.

Altogether, your Print MIS can help you automate at least 10 daily functions, enabling you to focus on the tasks only you can do. Our team can help you identify and implement areas of automation.

  1. It can discover “Islands of Automation.”

When you conduct a workflow audit, our team can create a report that reveals disconnects or breakpoints in the way your systems communicate with each other. In other words, we look for “islands of automation,” places where one step in production is not smoothly and comprehensively passing information to the next step. Those breakpoints could be slowing down your shop as employees manually collect and transfer information.

During the workflow audit, you’ll see a day-in-the-life snapshot of your entire process, from start to finish. This will tell you exactly where your Print MIS can be reconfigured to provide the most efficient flow of information.

  1. It gives you access to a workflow specialist focused specifically on your business.

Our Avanti workflow experts have extensive experience reviewing print shop operations and evaluating how businesses can do things better. They can show you how the Print MIS could and should work, using your actual job samples. They can provide insights on how to stay ahead of your competition by fine-tuning your operations. If you have specific questions or topics you’d like to cover, they can address those as well – all in a live, online consultation.

Avanti provides the basic workflow audit free of charge to customers and non-customers alike. For those with more intensive needs, additional on-site audits can be arranged for a small cost.

A workflow audit can happen when you’re considering switching platforms, before you implement an MIS, or any time following implementation.

Perform an Audit once a yearFor customers, we recommend doing an audit at least once a year, perhaps during a product update, since it makes sure your Print MIS is up-to-date and working at optimum capacity to boost productivity and profitability.

As you seek to end 2020 in the most positive way possible, a workflow audit is a smart and reasonable step. You’ll not only find ways to increase profits at no administrative cost, but you’ll prepare your shop for the post-COVID print rush likely to come in 2021.

Want to talk to an Avanti specialist about your workflow audit? Click here. You can also read Three Actions to Take Now to Position Your Print Shop for COVID-19 Recovery, or check out our trend sheet on A First Step to Recovery for the Printing Industry.

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