Print shops often grapple with numerous challenges when it comes to output management. From maintaining consistent print quality to managing high-volume orders, these obstacles can significantly impact efficiency and productivity.

Output management processes can remove the complexity that comes with having a mix of platforms, formats, user interfaces, and data streams to simplify your infrastructure and control your overall administrative costs.

This is where printing shop output management software comes into play. By integrating advanced technology into the heart of print operations, these tools are designed to streamline processes, enhance accuracy, and bolster security measures. They serve as a comprehensive solution to the multifaceted challenges of output management, paving the way for improved efficiency and customer satisfaction upon delivery and fulfillment of the finished goods.

Here at Ricoh, we have a long-standing history in the print industry, offering a wide range of solutions from office to production printing environments for more than 8 decades. In this guide, our experts share their extensive experience to further elaborate on the complexities, challenges, and ultimately some solutions for output management.

What is Output Management?

In the print business, output management refers to the process of efficiently organizing, controlling, and automating the production and distribution of printed documents.

This function includes managing print jobs from initiation to final output, ensuring the correct specifications, directing jobs to the appropriate printers, and verifying successful completion. It also involves tracking and reporting on print activities for cost control, security, efficiency, and compliance purposes.

Output management aims to streamline operations, reduce errors, enhance security, and improve overall print production efficiencies in a variety of small-medium businesses (SMB) and enterprise environments.

Watch our webinar on Cost-Effective Output Management.

How Print Shops Benefit from Output Management

Print shops of all sizes can reap significant benefits from implementing strong output management systems and processes.

Many of these advantages can be identified when performing a workflow analysis of your overall print shop’s operations, and here are just a few:

Improved Efficiency

Output management systems automate many of the tasks involved in print production, reducing manual labor and the risk of human error. This management allows even small print shops to handle larger volumes of work more efficiently as many of the tasks are automated, which can serve as a check and balance for the final output, ensuring consistency and customer satisfaction.

Users can submit print jobs into automated queues with predefined prioritization rules, where appropriate printers are identified based on formatting requirements.

At Ricoh, our print software solutions not only automate and centralize the management of printing tasks but also provide real-time data reporting on print activity, including usage and error rates.

Cost Savings

Integrated with automated workflows, output management systems can lead to significant cost savings for printing companies. They can also provide detailed tracking and reporting on print activities, helping print shops identify areas where resources can be better utilized.

Ricoh’s output management solutions can reduce costs by simplifying environments that use a complex mixture of systems and multiple print servers, reducing the strain on your IT department.

Additionally, integrating, easy-to-read dashboard reports from, for example, RICOH Supervisor are driven by real-time data from your print operations, granting your team complete visibility into addressable inefficiencies.

Reliable Security

Output management systems often come with built-in security features that protect sensitive information and ensure that print jobs are only accessible to authorized individuals.

By ensuring that print jobs are managed in a controlled environment, output management gives peace of mind to print shops that work with sensitive customer data and require consistency across functions.

At Ricoh, we can take it a step further by helping to transform print-centric data streams into web-ready documents with utmost fidelity and security, empowering on-the-go users to gain access to crucial information where, when, and how they need it. 

Print Shop Scalability

As print shops grow, output management systems can easily scale to accommodate increased volumes of work, making them a future-proof solution. Output management software accomplishes this by automating the workflow of a print shop and then adjusting for increased volume and complexity of the printing requirements over time.

Ricoh’s print management software tools, such as TotalFlow BatchBuilder and TotalFlow Production Manager, allow shops of all sizes to manage variable print-level volumes with ease and consistency.

Choosing Print Management Software for Your Small Business

Output management can be achieved by selecting the right print management software for your business.

The experts at Ricoh have provided a list of factors that any print shop owner or IT administrator should consider when choosing a print management software solution:

  • Ease of Use: The software should have an intuitive interface that’s easy to navigate, even for those without extensive technical knowledge. This will ensure that all staff members can use the software effectively.
  • Integration Capabilities: The software should be able to integrate seamlessly with your existing systems and hardware, as well as existing ERP and SAP solutions. This integration will ensure a smooth transition and prevent disruptions to your workflow.
  • Security Features: Given some print jobs’ sensitive nature, choosing output management software with robust security features is vital. This can include access controls, encryption, and audit trails.
  • Customer Support: Look for a provider that offers robust customer support. This can be invaluable when you encounter issues or need assistance with the software.

Download the complete whitepaper on output management software.

Output Management Solutions for Print Shops

Output management software is an essential tool for print shops to grow and succeed in 2023. It plays a pivotal role in easing the burden on IT resources by streamlining and automating the handling of documents across the entire printing process.

Not sure where inefficiencies lie in your shop’s workflow and how an output management solution fits into your environment? Contact us today to speak with an expert regarding a workflow assessment or request a demo for a complete solutions tour to determine what’s best for your business strategy and goals.

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Barb Willans

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