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Print automation – the world belongs to the brave...

The figures speak a consistent language:
According to a recent Napco survey, 58.6% of respondents said they want to increase productivity by "investing in automation, more efficient workflows and faster job turnarounds."

Based on the Printing United Alliance's State of the industry report for 2022-2023, nearly 65% plan to invest in capital equipment, hardware or software in 2023:


The initial situation
Looking at the statistics, we see a stabilization of sales in the German printing market after the decline caused by the Covid 19 pandemic:

If you dive any further into the numbers, you'll find that

  • print service providers are exposed to cost increases and intense competitive pressure: rising material costs (for printing plates, inks and varnishes, paper), labor and energy costs as well as logistics costs cannot be passed on directly to the customer.
  • the competitive pressure is immense, the market is consolidating: the number of printing companies has fallen from 12,000 (2004) to ca. 7,000 (2022) (according to the Federal Statistical Office).

More statistics can be found at BVDM

Automation expert OneVision

Our automation solutions are not off-the-shelf – after all, neither are your requirements. That is why we first define together with you which processes are already in place, where there is a need for optimization and how new processes can be implemented with OneVision software solutions.

Many companies 
are willing to invest

Survey of bvdm (German Print and Media Association):
Costs and Competitive Pressure continue to rise

The costs of the German printing and media industry are rising continuously. However, many companies are unable to pass these increases on to their customers due to the ongoing competitive pressure. Sales and profits in the industry fell in 2020 and 2021. Nevertheless, companies are still willing to invest.

Based on these facts (fewer companies but constant industry turnover), it is easy to deduce that the number of orders for existing print shops is rising.
In addition, print service providers report that the print run per print job is constantly decreasing, while the customers' call for personalized print products is getting louder and louder, thus also the call for digital printing: small print runs can be implemented quickly, efficiently and comparatively inexpensively using digital printing.

The solution: print automation
Critical aspect: the margins are low for print service providers – just to remind you: the rising prices cannot be passed on to the consumer due to the high competitive pressure; with every manual intervention the margin decreases further...
The solution: Automation! Let recurring work steps and processes in the value chain run automatically via software. This lowers the error rate, increases the job throughput and obtains/increases the margin per job.
Of course, there is no "one solution for all". It depends on many factors:

  • which print products are produced
  • how is the system landscape structured
  • which printing and finishing machines are in use and must be connected to them
  • what are the objectives of the individual printing companies
  • the degree of automation to be achieved
  • etc.

The "catch"
Automation does not just happen, you have to do something. But as Theodor Fontane has already said so beautifully: The world belongs to the brave!
Software companies that do their work properly conduct an on-site assessment, gain an overview of the print service provider's goals, product range and current production processes, and propose solutions that automate production and make it more economical.
This requires the cooperation of the printing company: the people involved must take the time, usually in addition to their day-to-day business, to determine the actual situation and the target figures, together with the software company.
However, this time investment is rewarded!

Why the world belongs to the brave
A short calculation example: Imagine, you repair bleed, cut lines, marks, color spaces, page formats, convert RGB images, nest and tile subjects, create cut lines and and and... manually. All prepress tasks that follow a similar pattern and can be automated based on rules.
Rule-based automation does it all in a matter of minutes, not hours or days.

The parameters:

  • Fully burdened budgeted hourly rate: 30$
  • Time spent on manual work per file: 20 minutes

→ 10 $ per file
→ 30 files per day: 300 $ / day
→ At 21,75 days / month the cost is 6.525 $ / month
→ And that again results in 78,300 $ per year at 12 months

Our automation software for printers does the job in a fraction of the time. Even if you take a very defensive approach to the calculation and assume that automation takes 50% of manual processing time, the print shop saves almost 40,000 USD per year. This, in turn, would mean that the investment in automation software usually pays for itself after just one year...
In addition, it should be noted that only the savings made by the pure work on the production file are taken into account here. Software also automates the transfer of the order to production and again the transfer of production to printing and finishing.

Further positive side effects of automation:

  • Existing staff can focus on those areas of the business where the human component is irreplaceable: service, customer service, sales, strategy, etc.
  • No additional personnel has to be hired for print file preparation as the number of orders increases
  • Peaks in incoming orders and in production no longer have to be handled by expensive temps; the software covers that.

It is try before you buy: We provide our solutions for a non-binding, time-limited test in your production facility, enabling you to measure the ROI.

If you want to survive in the long term and be profitable, you have to face the changing market conditions and act successfully. The Darwinian principle "Survival of the Fittest" applies. The strongest will win. Or in the figurative sense: The courage to change will be rewarded. So be brave and automate!