Five ways automation can support your future growth

By Clive Stringer, Director: Continuous Feed and High End Software, Graphic Communications Group Ricoh Europe

Efficiently managing fast turnaround, short run or personalised, multiple digital print orders is essential to the success of Print Service Providers (PSPs).

Keypoint Intelligence’s latest research confirmed the pressure European PSPs are under with the average number of monthly print orders surpassing 3 500, equivalent to 117 per day, in 2020. Nearly a third reported that dealing with a high number of small jobs is a primary challenge for their current workflow.

To effectively manage this greatly increased number of print orders, often at lower print volumes, PSPs need to be fast and highly flexible in their delivery of responsive on demand print.

It is something the Production Printer Market is addressing according to Mordor Intelligence. Its technology innovation and continuing focus on addressing just in time production is driving an expected CAGR growth of 5.26% between 2021 and 2026.

Enhancing automation throughout the production process is a key way to respond to these demands, delivering production efficiency improvements as well as many other operational improvements.

Here are five ways you can benefit from automating key stages in production:

1. Order receipt

A positive financial impact can be made by improving job onboarding and levering optimisation techniques in prepress according to Keypoint Intelligence’s research.

2. Job creation and processing

Job creation and production time can be maximised by streamlining processes.

3. Planning and production

Enhanced production efficiency, operator and equipment productivity, and a reduction in errors are enabled by smooth workflows.

4. Colour management

Fast, accurate processing of graphically rich PDF content from creative design and page layout applications ensures greater profit margins are being achieved across multiple jobs, substrates, and devices. The result is increased production speed as well as reduced waste and costs.

5. Reporting

Greater transparency and reportability helps ensure every step in the print production process is as efficient as it can be.

These are just some examples of how automation allows operations to make improvements in a measured, step-by-step way that suits their timeframes and budgets. It supports the efficient and effective development of what is in place.

This is something Keypoint Intelligence’s research highlighted. It said for the first time in the past three years more PSPs were “mostly automated” rather than reporting lower levels or no automation in their workflows. This increase was attributed to multi-year digital transformation initiatives accelerated during the pandemic. The largest shift was with PSPs who previously reported “some automation” and had completed transformation projects. They now considered themselves “mostly automated”.

Where are you in your journey towards automation and where do you want to be?