As stated in the article "The world belongs to the brave! // Be Brave: Automate!", digital printing has become an indispensable part of the printing industry. The changed demand structure - "I need my individual poster/photobook/manual, my personalized calendar or the brochure/postcard tailored to a certain customer group, etc. printed at high quality by tomorrow and at lowest price possible" forces the printing industry to rethink.
Print service providers come up with different models to meet these requirements:
A widespread approach is to outsource processes that are too far away from the core competence - the actual printing. Repro houses are often commissioned for prepress, bookbinders and other specialists take care of the finishing.
Outsourcing - a widespread, but expensive and risky approach
The thought behind it: When a print shop outsources areas outside their core competence,
- they don't have to build up expert knowledge for this area
- they don't need any additional staffing to cover these tasks
- the outsourcing is cheaper for them than having to cover it manually with their own staff
and then they keep their fingers crossed that everything runs smoothly in the supply chain that they can meet the customer's delivery date at the end.
There is no question that the concept can work for personnel-intensive services/production steps.
Insourcing: Prepress as a margin saver
In the case of repetitive processes, however, the insourcing and automation of steps can be an attractive – In the sense of very profitable – model: for example, the insourcing of prepress activities. The preparation of print data for posters, calendars, business cards, roll-ups, banners, books, etc. follows a very similar pattern:
After order receipt, the print data is being created. Typical work steps that occur here: Preflight, color management, creation of bleed and varnish masks, imposition, etc., etc. With prepress software that is directly connected to the leading system (MIS, ERP, Excel, Web Shop, etc.) via an interface, the job parameters are taken over by the workflow management system and the files to be printed are being processed through a rule-based checking and preparation path. In accordance with the requirements/rules, the software sets bleed, converts file formats, images and color spaces, sets imposition patterns, tiles oversized subjects or nests subjects in smaller formats in order to make optimum use of the printed sheet…
Depending on the complexity of the print job, 20 minutes to 1 or even 2 hours can quickly be spent preparing the data for printing manually.
With the use of fully functional automation software – such as OneVision, for example – the print data is created in just a few minutes: error-free, optimally matched to the respective press or the selected color profile, so that nothing stands in the way of high-quality printing.
The advantages are obvious:
In a fraction of the time and cost, the software produces high-quality print data. Print shops can meet delivery deadlines and increase their margin per job.
Print service providers have control over their processes and schedule and are not dependent on a supplier, his availability and reliability.
Throughput – More jobs in less time
Printers need less time per job and can increase throughput, which again means they can accept and process more jobs.
Continuous End2End workflow
The connection of the automation software to the leading system (MIS, ERP, web shop, Excel, ...) and the RIP means that manual intervention is no longer necessary; a continuous end-to-end workflow from order receipt through RIP to finishing/embellishment is guaranteed.
Profitability, efficiency and effectiveness
The margin per job and thus the overall profitability increases for print service providers: costs for outsourcing prepress are saved; the costs for the automation software are usually recovered after only a few months.
And last but definitely not least: Customer Loyalty
Print shops make their customers happy and satisfied, because they receive their printed products printed in high quality on the desired delivery date at reasonable prices. This ensures customer loyalty and follow-up orders…
Proof of Concept: Can practice keep the promises being made in theory?
Everything sounds fantastic in theory, but whatdoes it look in practice? Who has actually successfully implemented the concept?
Many! OneVision has over 3000 customers worldwide who work successfully with the software and literally save money every day. Not everyone likes to talk openly about it, because they consider utilizing the software as one of the decisive competitive advantages and would like to keep it that way by not disclosing their secret...
In coordination with our customers we can name the following success stories:
The specialist in foil printing from Steinheim/Muhr has been using OneVision's Wide Format Automation Suite since the end of 2017. At that time, the print shop had 2 LFP Canon Colorado presses in production. Production could only be expanded, if the prepress activities no longer had to be done manually or if the headcount in the team were significantly increased. The bottleneck was in the data preparation of the PDFs. Since the Wide Format Automation Suite has been in use, a further 7 presses have been ordered in about one and a half years. The production of the constantly increasing orders is running like clockwork...
Thie Franconian company has specialized in the printing of very high-quality labels for wine and spirits producers and had to master the challenge of preparing and printing labels that are very complex to prepare and come at a high variety. In other words, high load in data preparation, time-consuming manual work steps prevailed…
By using the Label Automation Suite from OneVision, processing times could be reduced from 2 hours down to 15 minutes! Of course, without compromising or making concessions to the design or high quality of the labels. Purely through automating the work steps...
These are just two of the many examples that show how the use of the right automation software has fundamentally changed the profitability, effectiveness and efficiency of print shops for the better.
Conclusion: With automation software properly connected and configured, production times get accelerated, print quality ensured and margins increased.
Finally, for the sake of completeness, I would like to mention the following:
In many articles, we repeatedly talked about digital printing. Our software can be used independently from the printing process. The majority of our customers still use offset machines. This shows once again how important the flexibility of the software is and how you can solve as many challenges as possible with just one purchase…