The ultimate goal of any printer — from in-plant printers to commercial print service providers (PSPs) — is speed to press. Getting error-free jobs 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. But where efficiency abounds, so do printing industry challenges.
But as we talk to leaders at commercial printers, most aren’t at all happy with their speed to press. They’re seeing too many errors, too much rework, and production that’s just too slow.
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.
The Status Quo Isn’t Pretty with Printing Industry Challenges
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 team of employees is likely smaller than you’d like it to be — whether due to budget constraints or difficulty hiring. But the work just keeps coming, so you’re asking more out of everyone, with no real end in sight.
Burnout is increasingly likely, as one of the many printing industry challenges if you’re not already seeing it among your team members (or yourself).
Worst of all, you’re losing money: 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 preparation stage. It’s the reason employees are burning out, doing the same work multiple times because it still isn’t right.
And ultimately, it’s the reason printers like your business are losing money on jobs.
RICOH TotalFlow Prep Solves These Printing Industry Challenges with Automation and Increased Efficiency
With RICOH TotalFlow Prep, you can solve persistent problems with accuracy and speed to press. TotalFlow Prep does this by reducing manual work — and the errors that inevitably come along with it.
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 printers.
RICOH TotalFlow Prep helps you automate and speed:
- Job assembly
- Makeready file creation
- File conversion
In addition, 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, 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 once you embrace automation.
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.
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.
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