Throughout all of history, technology has been invented to ease the manual burden put on people by their jobs, families, personal interests, and much more. Printers are no different, from paper presses to 3D printing - the innovation never seems to cease.
Well, it is an exciting time in the print industry as we turn to the next page of technology—automation.
This isn't buying a robot to clean your floors (although that is pretty cool), but rather this system can handle the large load of tedious tasks that are taking up your employees' time. From order intake to customer communication to producing final deliverables, Ricoh ProcessDirector handles it all.
Excitingly, a revelatory whitepaper from UK-based customer communications consultant Aspire forecasts encouraging viability for print companies in the years ahead, and even a potential for wider profit margins than has been the norm.
As the document explains, this bright future begins with omnichannel communication, a marketing strategy that competitive businesses must employ, which inherently requires the print medium. More will be said on this in a moment.
Only those printers that remain competitive can expect this bright future. This makes automation indispensable to printers. Ricoh ProcessDirector is at the cutting edge of workflow automation technology, and it will give you the winning edge in today’s highly competitive market.
An Omnichannel Perspective
In collaboration with Ricoh, Aspire predicts in its whitepaper that print communications, specifically direct mail, will remain essential to what it calls “omnichannel communications” between businesses and their customers. The firm defines this as “the ability to begin a conversation in one channel (print or digital), and seamlessly continue it across any medium.” Omnichannel communications are in turn vital to elevating the customer experience.
Aspire goes on to explain that printers can adapt to the omnichannel world by providing a superior customer experience to the businesses that rely on them for the same.
Practically speaking, what does that look like for your print shop?
Automation Creates Opportunity
Our findings place the burden on automation. If a printer wants to thrive, it will mean investing in automation software. There are several reasons for this, and the first is perfectly illustrated by this figure in the whitepaper:
Automation Frees Up Labor
When you save on labor costs, you’ll be spending less money on labor, obviously, but there are opportunity savings as well. Your talented team members will gain more time to focus on quality control and handle more intricate jobs directly.
They’ll also be less harried and therefore less prone to error. Plus, your MIS software—like Ricoh ProcessDirector—reduces manual touchpoints so much that it virtually eliminates human errors!
Automation Transforms Workplace Culture
Imagine a workplace where your current team members have a significant amount of their manual input tasks—like when they’re moving information between disparate systems—taken out of their hands. With just a small time investment, Ricoh ProcessDirector will reduce the stress on your employees, making them far more effective at their more important tasks.
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Automation Generates Data
Data is power. It adds value to your customers and improves their overall experience. Feed it to them and let them make educated decisions with it. As Aspire puts it:
“Empowering customers to make decisions for themselves is one of the first and most fundamental ways to begin improving their overall experience. Data analytics can provide the metrics you need to offer clients the detailed cost and production Service Level Agreements (SLA) they must have to make informed decisions. Some transactional print service providers are even enabling clients to start or stop production and select paper quality. Going one step further, web-to-print capability enables customers to request and submit jobs on the fly themselves. It can even be integrated with marketing automation solutions so that direct mail production can be automated.”
(Read more of these winning insights in Aspire’s whitepaper, “Profiting Through Data-driven Decision Making: Top 10 ways to increase production workflow efficiency.”)
In short, your customers will thank you for giving them more flexibility and direct control of their jobs, because they’ll start making smarter decisions.
Automation Shows Your Customers You Adapt with the Industry
We’ve said it already: although counterintuitive, printers can increase their relevance to customers by embracing digital trends. You’ll show them you’re not stuck in the stone age (or the paper age), and that your business is available to solve their problems.
Specifically, a Print MIS can enable you to work off the cloud to offer more web-based print ordering. Ricoh ProcessDirector allows you to create a hybrid workflow between your print shop floor and the cloud.
Up Your Game
Automation increases your relevance, cultivates data for you—and your customers—by which to grow, drastically reduces errors, and frees up your team members to focus on the projects and interactions that really matter.
Meet the Author
Linnea is Ricoh’s Director of Global Marketing, Alliances & Operations. She is responsible for growing the worldwide awareness of and demand for the production workflow software and solutions portfolio. Linnea is a brand specialist with more than 25 years of experience, having previously held key leadership positions at Hunter Douglas, Qwest, and PepsiCo. Linnea holds an MBA from Hoffstra University and Bachelor’s degrees in Business Administration and International Affairs from the University of New Hampshire. Linnea manages global strategic partnerships and marketing operations for Ricoh, giving her a comprehensive view of the business, customers, and markets. An accredited global marketing leader, Linnea is passionate about small businesses, even volunteering her marketing communications, social media, and digital marketing expertise to small businesses and associations. Her goal is always to help other businesses thrive. She authors many Ricoh blog posts to this end.
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