As the print industry embraces the transformation that comes with the new digital era, trends like automation are reshaping the very foundations of print production.

Jürgen Krebs sheds light on the evolution of print job processes and the transformative impact of automation. Through this article, we’ll explore intricacies surrounding automation, dissecting its multifaceted role in reshaping the landscape of print production – and how Ricoh stands as a visionary in driving these advancements.

The Evolution of Print Production

Print production has traditionally followed a linear process, with jobs coming in through various channels, mainly agencies and email. However, as customer demands for quality, quick reaction times, and cost-effectiveness increase, efficiency becomes crucial.

The decreasing run length of jobs, coupled with a growing number of channels and an influx of jobs from individual designers, calls for automation to streamline processes and eliminate manual touchpoints. This shift prompts the adoption of technologies like web-to-print platforms and pre-flight checks to manage diverse jobs efficiently.

As Jürgen says, “Automation is nothing in itself; it’s coming from a need”; a need for efficiency, quicker response, and a reduction in manual tasks.

The Role of Automation in Modern Print Jobs


So, automation steps in to make things quick, and budget-friendly – to say it had a transformative impact on print production would be an understatement. It became a tool for small to medium-sized print service providers to enhance competitiveness and respond to evolving customer needs.

However, Jürgen also discusses how an onboarding process still needs improvement. He highlights the importance of understanding the customer’s customers, and the need to involve the end customer in the innovation process, creating a collaborative, trustful working relationship.

“In the print service provider realm, job intake often triggers time-consuming interactions with customers, involving annotating and modifying PDF files for numerous clients.”

And this is where Ricoh’s solutions come into play.

Ricoh’s Innovations in Print Automation

“Recognizing the need for efficiency, our focus is on revolutionizing this process. We’re introducing a smart solution, streamlining job intake and enhancing communication with print buyers. This aligns with our commitment to evolve RICOH TotalFlow™ Producer, providing a collaborative experience for all stakeholders in the print production journey.”

RICOH TotalFlow™ Producer is a cloud-based solution that seamlessly aligns with the demands of both print buyers and providers. So this isn’t just about implementing a system; it’s about introducing a strategic tool that effectively mitigates the complexities associated with job onboarding, fostering interactions that are not just seamless but also strategic.

There’s also RICOH Auto Color Adjuster, which offers precise color management without necessitating expertise. Since Jürgen notes that automation of color management is also an area for improvement, using an auto color adjuster like this one helps ensure consistency, especially when transitioning from offset to digital printing.

The Benefits of Automation for Print Production

“Automation isn’t just about doing things faster; it’s about opening avenues for innovation” – and one such notable advancement lies in the realm of intelligent template plating. Collaborating with end customers, print service providers can co-create innovative solutions, elevating the quality and capabilities of print products. This collaborative approach extends beyond the traditional print job, as illustrated by Jürgen through real-life example:

“We worked with another client, an insurance company, introducing an across-media solution to their direct mail pieces. We assisted them in incorporating QR codes and personal URLs into the mailings. This upgrade notably enhanced their direct mail campaigns, leading to a reported doubling of the response rate.”

The outcome of such integration is profound, as “automation becomes a catalyst for customer-centricity, making business with print service providers more seamless, efficient, and innovative.” This is what helps create satisfied customers and foster enduring relationships.

So the biggest benefits of automation are beyond cost-cutting; it becomes a catalyst for collaborative relationships, enabling print service providers to evolve into trusted advisors.

Overcoming Challenges with Automation

While the promise of automation is compelling, the journey isn’t without challenges. “Understanding your customers is the starting point,” notes Jürgen. He emphasizes the need for print service providers to deepen their relationships with end customers, going beyond the print buyer. This involves engaging directly with marketing departments and other stakeholders to grasp their goals and aspirations.

Addressing the skepticism surrounding automation, Jürgen advocates for a collaborative approach. “Automation is not a one-size-fits-all solution” – instead, he encourages print service providers to identify specific pain points and start with targeted automation initiatives, gradually expanding based on needs.

By building a trustful working relationship, print service providers can identify automation opportunities that genuinely meet customer needs.


The evolution from traditional to automated print processes not only enhances efficiency but allows print service providers to innovate alongside end customers. Automation became necessary for staying competitive and delivering high-quality, personalized print solutions.

Jürgen Krebs advocates for a customer-centric approach, positioning automation as a strategic enabler, and encourages exploring Ricoh’s solutions, such as RICOH TotalFlow Producer, to set new standards for efficiency and innovation in print production.

Learn more on how Ricoh software is reshaping the industry, setting new efficiency and innovation standards by seamlessly integrating automation into print production.

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Jurgen Krebs

Meet the Author

Jurgen Krebs

Jürgen Krebs is a Sales Manager of Ricoh Graphic Communication Software at Ricoh Europe.

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