The Ecosystem: It’s all in the smooth handoff

The Ecosystem. Though a widely used and accepted term in the print industry, I admit to struggling with what it actually means. It seems a little too clean a term that tries to explain a very complex model. The answer to ‘What is a print production software ecosystem?’ fluctuates depending on who you ask and what they are using it for.

Some reduce the term ecosystem to being the print process from concept to delivery. Others describe a convoluted process with lots of industry buzzwords including end-to-end and optimization.  

To simplify what can become ridiculously complicated, this is a preface to a 5-part series for in-plants and print service providers that breaks down every step in a print production software ecosystem in vivid detail.

Think of it as a relay race. Every runner has their role, but it takes a team plan to ensure that everyone understands the pace and handoff points. The lead runner has a starting block to help them launch, so they spend extra time understanding how to use it to get the best advantage when the starter pistol fires. Every additional team member understands their role in the race and the importance of each handoff.

Input: Much More Than File Submission

This is the starting block that captures job orders using a process that standardizes every element. Given the potential variability of each job, how files are entered often determines the outcome.

Manage: Performance Matters

Track every step of the job through estimating, scheduling, relying on real-time data to maximize your resources and being able to quickly course correct to ensure a smooth production process.

Prepare: Looking Towards the Finish Line

Visualizing what the result looks like and preparing for the output is the key to avoiding costly obstacles and pitfalls that hinder your bottom line.

Produce: Make it Happen

Optimize the job files so the output matches the customer’s intentions. 

Output: Finish and Regroup

Deliver the best product possible based on customer specifications and take corrective action over any issues that may have arisen before inputting the next job.

A job should not succeed or fail in a single stage.

Take a proactive approach to managing your software ecosystem infrastructure to drive your business. The days of relying on whiteboards, spreadsheets, and team knowledge to bring work onboard, capture the right specifications, and optimize production should be in your past.

No matter the size of your plant or facility, limiting human touchpoints on a job through automation and having a smooth handoff from step to step is your path to efficiency and improved profitability.  That is my definition of an ideal ecosystem!

Meet the Author

Linnea brings over 20 years of global business strategy, brand development and product management experience to Ricoh, where she is responsible for growing the worldwide awareness and demand of the production workflow software and solutions portfolio. In her role of Director, Global Marketing, Alliances & Operations, Linnea also manages global strategic partnerships and marketing operations for Ricoh which provides her a comprehensive view of the business, customers and markets. Prior to joining Ricoh, Linnea held key leadership positions at Hunter Douglas, US West/Qwest, and PepsiCo. Linnea earned undergraduate degrees in Business Administration and International Affairs, and holds a Masters in Business Administration with a concentration in International Business from Hofstra University. A New York native residing in Colorado, Linnea balances her time with her active family, dogs, enjoying the local ski slopes, and volunteering her ample skills as an accredited global marketing leader and speaker to various non-profit organizations and small businesses.

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