Automation is No Longer Optional: 6 Tasks to Boost In-plant Profitability

Kevin Shaw | January 6, 2022

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Be sure to join us on January 13th, 2022, with NAPCO to learn how automating 6 tasks with your MIS software can profitably affect your in-plant print business. RSVP now.


It’s hard to imagine a positive impact the global pandemic has provided us except perhaps saving money on the gas normally used driving to the office and back. However, with every business forced immediately into survival mode, what it has done is force our hand in terms of implementing new solutions to beat the obstacles – staff shortages, revenue loss and productivity flux - it created in the first place.

While the trend towards automation can be traced back decades to the age of industrialization and was accelerated due to circumstance and need over the past couple of years, it is no longer optional.

As in-plant printers, if you’re not continually looking for ways to seamlessly connect and manage your workflow through streamlining processes, eliminating bottlenecks, optimizing your resources, and responding to issues quickly with real-time notifications, you’re competitively falling behind and eroding your profit margin on things you can control.

 Sounds simple, but how?

 There are 6 simple things in-plant printers can automate now with MIS software that can make a positive, measurable impact.

 1. Order Intake: automatically download and process orders from web-to-print portals

  Job submission is so much more than data entry. While we have hopefully evolved from using post it notes, a notepad or sales management system to manage order data, orders have become much more complex as design and finishing options have increased and delivery channels have multiplied. Every bottleneck and manual touch point drags down the ability to complete current orders and add new ones to increase profit and review. An automated process speeds up overall efficiency, eliminates double data entry and rekeying errors and reduces job turnaround time, streamlining customer and stakeholder communications.

2. Order Creation: providing visibility to everyone that needs it throughout your workflow - purchasing, production planning, and operations

 Job creation has many moving parts that requires stakeholder action throughout your organization from procurement to production. Any change requires updating the entire supply chain, something not easily done in a manual process where any missed step potentially results in costly errors or a decrease in customer satisfaction. Automating the order and confirmation process reduces input errors and waste by copying all the job information quickly and correctly.

3. Resource Planning: optimize resources and balance the workload

 Additional resources are not something a print business, or any business, has a wealth of these days. To maximize resources, automate your processes to schedule web-to-print jobs and routine orders, specifying the order in which jobs will run through production and manage finite capacity and automate the ganging of jobs. Provide comprehensive materials management capabilities for both raw and finished goods in real-time while monitoring costs and the delivery of jobs on spec and on time.

4. Production Workflow: connecting ‘islands of automation’

By providing a seamless process to share information and a data-transfer between your MIS software, prepress, production and bindery equipment, sharing updates on job status, costs, and inventory adjustments - all in real time – there is no danger of double data entry or incurring administrative costs.

5. Job Status and Costing: real-time capture of time and materials data

Real-time access to critical and accurate information at your fingertips aids in your ability to make better business decisions, being able to track your annual operating budget and understand your financial snapshot at any point in time.

6. Inter-departmental billing: managing chargebacks

Monitor status of shipped orders and prepare them for chargeback, easily formatting all requirements for the corporate ERP or financial team is set up in the system from the start, eliminating manual compilation and reporting, ultimately saving hours of manual administrative tasks.

Automation isn’t a miracle cure, but it does address the glaring ineffectiveness in business processes and lack of workflow control that are destroying your profit margin and provides the ability to fix them. When you’re ready to optimize your current MIS software or invest in a new system, we’re ready to help. Be sure to join us on January 13th or contact us