When bringing together two print automation solutions, they must connect completely to maximize the benefits of each, rather than simply creating islands of automation that still require manual transfers of information.
With the business management capabilities of Avanti Slingshot® and the production automation and data collection features of RICOH ProcessDirector™ you get the seamless connection needed to provide greater control with fewer manual touches in your order input process.
Most print shops today receive orders from customers in multiple ways—creating estimates to respond to a request for quote, accepting job files through email, using a customer-facing web-to-print (W2P) portal for “self-service” style jobs and bringing repeat orders and contracted transactional printing AFP files going directly into the print workflow through an FTP connection. In each of these scenarios, the combination of Avanti Slingshot and RICOH ProcessDirector allows for all job information to be captured in a single place with dashboard visibility for everything from estimate to job status in production, actual costs and final shipping and invoices.
Each works slightly differently, however, and some may require specific Avanti Slingshot add-on modules to fully implement.
1. Responding to a Customer RFQ with an Estimate from Avanti Slingshot
Estimating is one of the core modules in Avanti’s print MIS. Estimates created within Avanti Slingshot, once accepted, can be quickly translated into a sales order and job ticket, with that job ticket containing all of the JDF information needed to export the job to RICOH ProcessDirector for printing without reentering information in the production automation system.
2. Entering an Emailed Order into Avanti Slingshot
Orders received through email and entered into Avanti Slingshot’s sales order and job ticketing modules follow the same path to reach RICOH ProcessDirector, giving each a job number and barcode that allows the system to instantly track that job at each step along the way.
3. Accepting a Web-to-Print Order Through Avanti Slingshot
When Avanti Slingshot is integrated with a W2P storefront solution such as XMPie StoreFlow, the transition of orders from customer to production with RICOH ProcessDirector has even fewer manual touchpoints, as the orders can be sent directly through Avanti and into the print workflow.
4. Reprints, PDFS and FTP Transfers Directly to RICOH ProcessDirector
Some jobs may originate in RICOH ProcessDirector. Printers with established monthly contracts for transactional printing may already be receiving AFP files directly through an FTP connection, or reprints of previous jobs may be initiated within RICOH ProcessDirector. When that happens, Avanti Slingshot still maintains complete job information, as that information is sent from RICOH ProcessDirector by XML and JMF data as the job begins, allowing the business to still maintain a single source of truth in Avanti for all information about each job in the system.
Two-Way Data Transfer and Greater Control
By utilizing industry-standard JDF, XML and JMF data transfer formats, Avanti Slingshot and RICOH ProcessDirector work together seamlessly, including connecting with and operating a wide range of hardware due to the vendor-agnostic nature of both software solutions. The two-way data transfer enables Avanti Slingshot to maximize the availability of production data collected by RICOH ProcessDirector to provide detailed real-time job status updates and costs for each job in the system, integrating with both Avanti’s core modules and with advanced modules such as the customer relationship management (CRM) module to put valuable information at the fingertips of everyone in the company who needs it.
The combination also allows the best of all worlds regarding workflow automation by giving the business flexibility in deciding how much or how little to automate the transfer of jobs to RICOH ProcessDirector. Rules can be established that automatically push every job to RICOH ProcessDirector immediately, or jobs can be held and sent from Avanti’s optional scheduling module only when the print device is ready to receive it. Those still wanting hands-on control can establish automation rules that specify each job must be released manually. The integration provides flexibility to meet the specific needs of each individual print operation.
Learn more about the symbiotic relationship between Avanti Slingshot and RICOH ProcessDirector in our latest eBook: Better Together: Avanti Slingshot® + RICOH ProcessDirector™. It outlines how the combination of these solutions provides greater control and visibility into each job, along with reducing manual input and errors through integration of the entire business and print process. If you are unsure about how these two solutions might work together in your shop, chat with a print workflow specialist or request a free workflow evaluation.