Print shops deal with a bunch of issues every day. Customers send in jobs through email, web tools, FTP sites, or file transfer services, and handling all these pipelines gets complicated. In the print operations world, job onboarding is a big deal.
Job onboarding helps to get started the right way - from the very beginning of the process.
Without it, job details arrive from various sources, resulting in confusion, delays, and wasting time and money.
But how do you streamline job onboarding when you have a lot of different sources? And how can you get a better understanding of your process without making a huge capital investment?
In a recent interview with Begum Walji, Product Marketing Manager at Global Software at Ricoh, Begum walks us through the importance of streamlining operations and pinpoints exactly how technology can help solve these problems.
Here’s a breakdown of Begum’s main points:
- The importance of job onboarding
- Overcoming the challenges of onboarding jobs with different requirements
- How a SaaS solution can improve your job onboarding experience
- The positive impact of a smooth job onboarding process, for both operations and customer experience
The Importance of Effective Job Onboarding
Nowadays, customers engage with print services through multiple channels. Some rely on web-to-print tools, some have an FTP (file transfer protocol) site, while others opt for the traditional route of email communication.
But this creates chaos in the inbox. Emails pour in from different sources and some files have to be tracked down while other information needs to be completed. The back-and-forth exchanges, whether via phone or email, create confusion within the shop and with customers.
Because multiple pipelines must constantly be monitored, operators must switch between different systems and devices. So the main problem lies in managing all these channels and keeping track trough which ones the jobs are coming in.
So, by starting right with an effective onboarding process and centralizing everything in one place it simplifies the workflow. That way, you can easily schedule and see what's in the queue, making due dates more visible and improving the production process.
The real solution lies in efficient onboarding and centralizing job requests in a single, accessible location, which is the key to optimizing the production process.
Navigating the Job Onboarding Challenges
The job onboarding process can differ depending on the company's size. While larger companies may have customer service representatives to handle this task, smaller to medium-sized shops often lack the luxury of CSRs. In such cases, the production manager is usually the one to juggle all these responsibilities.
Because of this, people working in small to medium-sized companies tend to run everywhere. The solution for these frenzied environments, with people scurrying around and communication spreading thin, lies in centralizing information.
Before a job can even begin, there's usually a considerable amount of back-and-forth required. In the interview with Begum, she mentioned research recently uncovered that “approximately 30 percent of jobs come in through emails, and a majority of these require follow-ups due to unanswered questions and unspecified specifications”.
Technology, such as web-to-print tools, can help make things easier by helping streamline some aspects of the process. A lot of the time, some things are already pre-assigned, such as the quantities, and a specific type of stock, but it's crucial to manage the remaining follow-up efficiently.
If that follow-up isn't managed efficiently it can affect the company, not only by damaging the reputation, but also by causing unnecessary internal costs and time delays.
For example, missed deadlines are a typical result of juggling multiple pipelines, leading to reprinting and the subsequent financial burden, which the print shop almost always endures.
So, from the bottom line, that is a huge concern where, you're having to reprint something to correct the mistakes, based on what the customer wants. But if you already had this in writing, it gives you a foundation to return to the customer and confirm their requests.
With RICOH TotalFlow Producer, you can use automation to help address these issues. The product helps centralize information into a single dashboard and automate communication and preflight checks, allowing print shops to save time and reduce manual interventions.
Benefits of SaaS Solutions in Addressing Onboarding Challenges
Regarding streamlining job onboarding processes and addressing production challenges, the emergence of vendor-agnostic Software as a Service (SaaS) solutions helps make the process more efficient and convenient.
These tools are built to work well regardless of what printing engine you're using and they offer a way to tackle the core issues of job management, so print shop employees no longer need to be tethered to particular technologies or engines; they can rely on the simplicity and flexibility of these SaaS tools instead.
"RICOH TotalFlow Producer is completely vendor agnostic. When we set out to do this, we talked to many of the customers and the biggest complaint was that it doesn't matter what engine is at the end. Customers needed us to solve incoming jobs and fix production issues. So what we've done is we've made this application completely vendor agnostic, where we're not having to rely on engines or technology on the ground. We output directly to a HOT folder. "
Moreover, this SaaS solution is hosted in the cloud, eliminating the need for IT installations on local devices. Users are only required to install a minimal utility for establishing a connection.
This user-friendly approach is designed to be accessible to individuals with a range of skill levels, minimizing barriers to entry.
RICOH TotalFlow Producer customers can easily access the software online, request a 30-day trial, and explore its functionalities. With the support of the provider's team, users can set up and configure the system within an hour or less.
The Positive Impact of Using SaaS Solutions to Streamline the Job Onboarding Process
The feedback Ricoh received from its users underscores how a SaaS solution can significantly ease headaches and improve the job onboarding process. From Ricoh’s customers’ perspective, it's not just about speeding up job processing; it's about achieving a newfound ability to schedule their workloads efficiently.
With a solution like RICOH TotalFlow Producer, all job information is centralized, reducing the chances of churning customers because of missed emails, non-forwarded information, and frustrating delays. And more importantly, allowing print shops to run smoothly, like clockwork.
From a customer's standpoint, the onboarding process doesn't require them to change their processes. If you’re accustomed to sending emails, you can continue with a specific email address designated for job submissions.
In cases where file sizes are too large, customers can conveniently upload files directly to a portal. This hassle-free approach provides a more secure alternative to public shared drives like Google Drive or Dropbox.
"People were not able to get into the office, right? So, when we looked at the types of solutions that the customers were looking for, they want something that they can do from any location."
Having well-run work onboarding procedures will be crucial to the success of print operations in the future. Due to the smooth job flow and the combination of primary and specialized automation that guarantees optimal efficiency, the return on investment (ROI) is evident.
Print operations are transitioning into a future where automation and streamlined job onboarding are at the forefront, boosting productivity and customer satisfaction.
Meet the Author
Begum has more than 30 years in the graphics/prepress/print industry and serves the industry as Ricoh’s Global Software Product Manager. A former business owner for 15+ years, Begum has developed well-rounded expertise in a multitude of segments with an emphasis on technology, marketing, and multimedia, including video/audio production. Before joining Ricoh Canada, Begum held positions at Pixar Studios, Adobe, Kimoto Technologies, Silicon Graphics, CGS Publishing, and Xerox Canada. After operating her own industry consulting firm for more than 15 years, Begum now serves as a Global Software Product Manager for the Ricoh Graphic Communications division. Begum holds technology degrees from Miami Dade College and business certifications from the University of Toronto. She is a certified EFI Fiery Expert and an Idealliance G7 Expert, and writes on technology strategies.
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