By Eef de Ridder, Vice President, Ricoh Graphic Communications, Ricoh Europe
Ricoh Europe, London, March 10, 2023 – How efficiency can lead to greater profitability, how to manage lots of small jobs cost effectively, and how to achieve greater visibility of jobs to better understand their value. These questions, and others, were explored during our Unravel Your Print Workflow webinars.
Some of the most pressing challenges facing all stages of the print ecosystem – input, manage, prepare, produce and output – were examined during the three, free, well attended, events. Experts in their field shared their knowledge and experiences and joined panel discussions that detailed real life challenges and examples.
The first webinar focused on the importance of ensuring a successful hand off between the different workflow steps to propel businesses forward.It highlighted how for every 1 euro spent on print, 3 euros go on the print process. This is why streamlining the latter can have such an impact on operational profitability.
The panel discussion featured Ralf Schlözer, a technology analyst with 30 years’ experience in the printing industry. He stated attention should be paid to ensuring efficiencies throughout the whole production chain and processes to avoid costly errors that require reprints. He was joined by Geert Fransen, Consultant and Managing Partner at MY-IT, who said the focus should be on standardising where possible to maintain flexibility.
Jürgen Krebs, Software Sales Manager, Ricoh Europe, added how online printers successfully apply this approach to selling standardised applications. Linnea Wolken, Ricoh’s Director Global Marketing, Alliances & Operations suggested gains could be made by looking at where commonalities are in the workflow. But operations should also retain their uniqueness and opportunities for differentiation.
The second webinar detailed ways to improve productivity that directly impact profitability. It looked at how jobs arrive, are onboarded and then managed.
The panel discussion featured Philip Dodd, Owner and Managing Director of Healeys in England, Arndt Eschenlohr, Owner of Escon consultancy, and Ralf.
Philip said clients are increasingly requesting a larger number of smaller, more complex orders, which is why Healeys is keen to create a workflow where decisions are automated. Arndt explained that while small batches can be well managed using PDF in a B2B environment, bigger challenges are experienced with B2C work files submitted by clients. Ralf added that is also makes sense to consider when not to automate such as when a company is highly specialist in their field.
The third webinar considered the need for as much flexibility as possible without sacrificing automation. Streamlining processes holds no value if there are bottlenecks that cannot easily be identified or rectified. It also considered how estimated costs compare with actual costs.
Ralf and Linnea were joined in the panel discussion by Christian Haneke who is currently driving a strategy of innovation at Sattler Media Group. Christian explained how Sattler has transitioned volume for offset to become an increasingly digital operation. As a result, a robust and strong toolbox was required to use all the technologies in the most automated and effective way. Recent attention has been focused on costs – energy and paper – with his team reviewing makeready and warm up times. He added that although it is sometimes difficult to see costs of a batch rather than one single job with digital printing, there is the opportunity to build a better understanding.
Ralph explained there are automation benefits in batch building and looking at the whole workflow though to finishing and fulfilment using analytics. While Linnea added research has found that many companies don’t have the visibility they could have. Changes are made on the fly, additional copies are requested, or there is a last minute switch of substrate – all these affect visibility if the right measures are not in place.
All the webinars concluded with a review of what help is at hand whether that is in the form of Ricoh Supervisor™ for real time operational visibility, Ricoh ProcessDirector™ for the capture, transformation and management of information or MIS integration for the management of key business and operational processes including estimating, scheduling, shopfloor data collection, shipping and fulfilment. Also highlighted was Ricoh’s EDGE consultancy designed to support clients’ strategic business development needs.
To explore these topics more closely or discover others covered in the webinars watch them here. To learn more about solutions that can help you unravel your print workflow contact your Ricoh representative.