10 Benefits to Automating Print Job PrepRESOURCES

10 Benefits to Automating Print Job Prep


The order has arrived to your StoreFlow web-to-print store. Now what?

StoreFlow combines the strength of an end-user-commerce experience with the power of FreeFlow Core so you are already poised to automate your workflow.

Learn how you can achieve even more efficiencies by leveraging these powerful tools. 

Automating the way jobs flow through a shop can have a favorable impact on your costs, turnaround and output quality, while enabling new business that keeps your shop relevant. Industry experts have advised through research that  for every $1 spent on print, another $3 is spent on managing the print workflow.*  Automation can improve every step in the print production process, enabling efficiencies that are needed to thrive, not just survive.

10 benefits from making workflow automaton a priority:


1. Enabling New Business

Workflow is a great source of opportunity and value, an enabler of new applications that drive new business to meet the changing needs of customers. Your Web-to-print system generates incremental business from orders placed after hours. Adding a Web-based repository enables new client asset management services. Adding variable information capabilities enables automatic delivery of customized sales communications. Most new applications require new workflow, and automation helps you meet and exceed cost, quality and speed targets.


2. Bridging Print and Digital Media

More particularly, automated workflow helps enable multi-channel communications that incorporate print and digital media—email, PURLs, social media and mobile communications—and deliver better business results than traditional approaches. Automated solutions can orchestrate multi-media campaigns and personalized fulfillment. Increasingly, this is how marketers work today, and workflow automation helps add value to those efforts.


3. Tightening Ties to Customers

When your systems integrate with those of your customers, you become more valuable, even indispensable to them. Web-based ordering is significant, and managing digital assets makes you part of the team. Contributing to a marketing automation system can give you a seat at the strategy table, boosting your relevancy.


4. Reducing Costs

Cost reduction is the benefit most in-plants associate with workflow automation, and for good reason. Studies show that most print operation costs are locked inside workflow—75 percent or more.  These include labor-intensive, non-printing activities like estimating, preflighting, finishing and job tracking. Automating these processes frees staff for more value-added work.


5. Accelerating Turnaround

Of course, print engine speed and reliability are critical factors in production speed, but workflow is the key to managing job-in to job-out turnaround. A leading multi-channel print management organization, went from manually pre-flighting, imposing, and processing each job to a completely automated workflow with the help of Xerox FreeFlow Core. They increased print capacity 70% and taken what use to be a 3-4 day manual process and shortened it into two hours. That’s the kind of speed that underpins efficient, productive operations.


6. Eliminating Errors

When performing repetitive tasks, automated systems make fewer errors than people. Further, many systems incorporate error detectors, such as bar code readers that track a job’s progress and alert operators when errors occur. Transactional printers have developed automated systems to ensure that the millions of checks they produce are in the correct amount and delivered to the right person, preventing errors that literally cost money. Similar technologies can be applied to minimize errors in any print production environment.


7. Improving Output Quality

In traditional printing, achieving top image quality is a craft, but in digital, many quality processes can be automated to achieve extremely fine tolerances, including color measurements beyond what the human eye can distinguish. The shop still needs to perform regular maintenance on the press, but even that is less burdensome with in-line spectrophotometers to automate the color calibration process. Today’s digital presses also incorporate systems to automatically achieve flawless registration and proper image density for color fidelity. These tools take the uncertainty out of color and image-quality management, enabling the delivery of every job with confidence.


8. Easy to Implement, Maintain and Scale

Some customers shy away from workflow automation systems—or fail to take full advantage of them—because they can be complex to implement and maintain. But today’s systems are designed for use by print operations, not programmers, with simple drag-and-drop operations to build workflows. Look for open, industry-standard architecture to ensure easy integration with your existing workflow, and modular design that permits easily scaling up as needs change. Cloud-based systems can further ease these concerns, offering nearly immediate implementation and eliminating the need to install system updates.


9. Affordability

Today’s workflow systems are more affordable than ever. For example, the award-winning workflow automation platform from Xerox, FreeFlow Core (www.xerox.com/automate) , is available at a list price of $2,500 in its most basic configuration. In addition, cloud-based systems can contribute to affordability, with monthly payment plans that eliminate large, upfront capital expenditures.


10. It will help you Survive and Thrive

Many print service providers have cited automating their print production workflow as a priority. That’s because, in the mature print market, operational efficiency is key to success, and workflow is where efficiency can be controlled. Certainly most print operations know by now that traditional offset workflow systems are too staff-intensive for the greater job quantities that typify short-run, on-demand digital operations. Workflow automation helps printers compete successfully with external firms, meet cost-cutting goals and enable new business.


For more information on Xerox’s print production workflow software for automation and more, visit https://www.xerox.com/en-us/digital-printing/workflow-software


*Source IDC, Infotrends