Production Workflow Automation Software: Improving Your Printing Business’ Processes

Matt Prusa | August 22, 2022

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Automation is no longer the ‘future’ of fast and efficient business processes, it’s here and now It’s not something you should wait around to get to. With margins so slim, print organizations need to be able to rely on a streamlined operation so they can confidently grow, maximize profitability, and keep their customers happy.

Workflow automation software is the answer. It reduces human error, streamlines processes, and increases productivity. By providing a seamless process to share information and transfer data between your MIS software, prepress, production, and bindery equipment, workflow automation removes the danger of double data entry or incurring unnecessary administrative costs.

Why Your Workflow Isn’t Working

Many business processes have to deal with “islands of automation” before being completed. Take a basic printing order as an example. The customer fills out an order online that has to travel through your order processing department, then to accounting, then to prepress, production and bindery, and finally to shipment. These separate departments make up the different “islands” of your workflow.

So, what’s wrong with this? Inherently, there’s nothing wrong with having separate departments with their own separate workflows that pass along a project until it’s complete. But it is by no means the best way to do things.

If every department has its own methods, some details are bound to slip through the cracks. Putting your projects through these piecemeal workflows leaves them vulnerable to human error and slows them down significantly. It also reduces your profit potential.

How Workflow Automation Benefits Businesses

Your printing business shouldn’t be limited by inefficient workflows. And, if you’re looking to grow, Excel sheets and disconnected processes aren’t going to cut it. Today, 67 percent of companies report using business process automation to improve their business’ end-to-end processes. By investing in workflow automation software, your enterprise will see exponential growth and a significant return on investment.

A print MIS will reduce errors and streamline processes by automating tasks that involve human interference, data entry, or file sharing between people and systems. It can benefit printers in many ways.

Fewer Errors

Leaving data entry and analyses up to your employees to manually enter can often result in errors. Workflow automation virtually eliminates errors by requiring information to be entered into a single system, just one time for repeat orders, eliminating re-keying and managed in an integrated, collaborative environment all stakeholders have access to

Faster Processes

By automating your production workflow across all departments to reduce human error and close gaps, your business processes will become faster and more efficient, freeing up resources and putting more jobs on press.

Happier Customers

Reducing errors and speeding up your processes means faster, more accurate deliverables to your customers. Automation also frees up your employees, leaving them more time to invest in more difficult and customer-centric tasks. It also buys them time to invest in their own improvement . Finally, they’ll have more time to interact with customers and deepen relationships with them.

Motivated Employees

A 2017 report found that 90% of all workers felt burdened with boring, repetitive tasks like data entry and other manual jobs that could easily be automated. By automating some of your business processes, your employees will feel less bogged down with meaningless tasks and more motivated to work hard and improve their productivity.

Increased Profits

Human errors can cost a company big time; and workflow automation gets rid of this threat almost entirely. It also reduces the amount of administrative work necessary to enter data manually, which will increase your profit margins. Automating workflow will make your customers happier, too, increasing your potential earning opportunities from client referrals.

Self-Check Your Current Workflow

To fully take advantage of workflow automation software, you first need to understand where your business currently stands. You can easily assess your current workflow by using a Workflow Evaluation Checklist to identify points of improvement. Here are some questions you may want to consider:

  • How do you currently process your key documents?
  • How do you share information between different departments and within the same department?
  • Where do the most human errors occur?
  • Which processes take employees the most time to complete?
  • Which processes have the highest administrative costs?
  • Where does your business lack efficiency?

These are only some of the questions to consider when performing a self-assessment of your business’s workflows. To take a deeper dive and receive a personalized, expert analysis of your business processes and workflows, request a workflow evaluation from a member of our team today.

Why a Print MIS?

A print management information system, often called a Print MIS, is a software application that automates critical business processes, integrates operations, and produces powerful data reports that you can use to improve your printing business. One of the key components of a print MIS is workflow automation.

Using a print MIS allows you to easily see the real-time visibility status of jobs and get an overview of all aspects of production, planning, shipping, and billing. An advanced print MIS can also shed light on the profitability of every project.

Workflow Automation Software: Avanti® Slingshot

Avanti Slingshot incorporates business intelligence to allow for short-run digital work to be handled easily and without cumbersome administration overheads. It is the only JDF-certified, cloud-based Print MIS in the market today. Avanti Slingshot integrates and exchanges data between your workflows to automate processes from web-to-print and accounting systems, including order intake, offline finishing equipment, prepress, and bindery.

Avanti Slingshot is also cloud-based and flexible. You can access it from anywhere at any time using a browser-based device. It’s also scalable, meaning it can grow with your businesses without limiting its potential.

You can easily manage your customer relationship management (CRM) system using Avanti Slingshot, too. It uses easy-to-read dashboards and powerful reporting tools, allowing you to share updates on job status, costs, and inventory adjustments – all in real time. It even analyzes the profitability of a particular job or client to help you make better decisions. Avanti Slingshot incorporates all aspects of production planning, from warehousing and shipping to billing and order intake, into one easy-to-implement platform.

Request a Workflow Evaluation from Our Experts

Automation is a growing practice among companies that want to see significant growth over short periods of time. But it all starts with a good workflow. If you’re looking for a workflow solution that doesn’t limit your business, request a workflow evaluation from our team today.