The Ecosystem: Produce—Make It Happen

*This article is the fifth in a seven-part series on the print ecosystem. To read the sixth article, click here.

If you’re running through the print ecosystem, getting to the produce stage means you’re rounding that final curve. You’ve streamlined your input process, ensured automatic management of projects, and visualized what success looks like. All that hard work leads to the stage where the real magic happens – produce.

In the produce stage, a printer focuses on optimizing its job files so that the output matches what the customer wants. It’s also about job tracking and workflow automation, mainly on your shop floor. To do this, a printer’s best choice is to invest in the growing trend of print software programs.

How do we Modernize Our Print Shop?

Every printer has to handle various jobs, from cut-sheet pages and binding to printing and mailing. Some jobs require more complex processes or additional steps, while others use a range of wide-format devices in addition to their production cut-sheet and continuous feed presses.

With so many production variables, deciding where to focus your energy can be difficult. The key here is to optimize your production workflow, which automatically allows your jobs to move seamlessly from one process to the next, thus avoiding exposure to possible human errors and maintaining the quality and integrity of the output.

An Optimized Workflow

Why not just stick with what you’ve always done? It’s indisputable that an optimized workflow can reduce human error, increase your profit margins, and improve your relationship with customers through their overall satisfaction.

In-Plant Production

An in-plant printer has to create a workflow that promotes efficient use of its resources as it produces several types of output. Success requires a flexible production environment with as much automation as possible to support growing workloads, shorter delivery timeframes, and increasing requirements for departmental budget controls.

A common problem is that its mix of job requests can be burdensome to manage and process. Learning how to successfully manage your smaller projects vs your larger print runs will reduce your overall administrative costs and bottlenecks. To learn how you can address these problems through automation, tracking and batching, download and read our In-Plant Printer Ecosystem eBook Series.

Print Service Provider Production

Commercial print shops need to set their businesses up for profitability by accounting for the many production variables that can change at any moment. To do this, a PSP needs to ensure a smooth production line that is automated, flexible, and timely, with the ability to track each variable and course correct where required.

Optimizing your print production process will help you protect your bottom line and increase your profit margins. As order volumes decline and the number of jobs increases, efficiently managing your print process is more important than ever. To learn more about how to optimize your commercial printing process successfully, check out our Print Service Provider Ecosystem eBook Series which walks you through each stage of the ecosystem: input, manage, prepare, produce, and output.

Data Visualization of Your Shop Floor

Optimizing your workflow is one way to improve how your print shop produces outputs. The other important part of the equation is the power of data visualization. The produce stage happens on your print shop floor, and having a finger on the pulse of everything happening there will improve your production phase and lead you to solid outputs.

Imagine it’s 3:30 AM, and only one printer operator is on the job. Your equipment suddenly stops working, wreaking havoc on your project timelines. Typically, this would be a huge problem that costs your business big. That’s why having a system in place that can see this problem in real-time, pivot, prevent further complications, and move the process to a different piece of equipment is essential to maintaining your job timelines, no matter what happens.

The right print software will integrate with your shop floor equipment and provide real-time data visualization so you can stay on top of what’s happening on your shop floor. The best way to achieve high-level results is to integrate your project management software with a data visualization tool.

For example, Ricoh ProcessDirector™ tracks jobs from receipt through delivery for complete piece-level visibility. It’s a top-level project management software that automates your business’s critical processes, reduces costs, eliminates errors, and manages personalized communications across channels.

Integrating ProcessDirector with Ricoh Supervisor™ software connects your end-to-end processes with powerful data visualization capabilities. Ricoh Supervisor collects your operational data and illustrates it with user-friendly dashboards that are easy to access and navigate. You’ll be able to easily track crucial data, such as the number of jobs in progress, their status, and whether any job is at risk of missing a deadline. Supervisor also provides data insights and reports to help your business continue improving.

Combining these two impactful software tools empowers print shops to optimize their workflows, efficiently monitor the print shop floor through peak capacity, manage staff, shift resources, eliminate errors, and, ultimately, improve their bottom line.

Make it Happen with Ricoh

If something is going to go wrong in your print ecosystem, it’s going to happen during the production phase. Optimizing your workflow, automating processes, and receiving live updates from your shop floor are all vital tasks that will lead to successful production.

At Ricoh, we offer a variety of software solutions for in-plant printers and print service providers that work to streamline and improve every phase of the print ecosystem. Our software will help you monitor everything and keep your jobs on the right timeline. Print clients as diverse as mortgage providers, insurance companies and retailers have reaped significant ROIs from Ricoh ProcessDirector because it lets printers visualize every job and make decisions that cut six-figure annually recurring costs.

If you’re ready to start enhancing your print shop operation’s production, contact us for more information and learn how a workflow assessment may help determine your workflow needs. 

To browse each of the seven blogs in The Ecosystem series, click here.

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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