“HOT job, all hands on deck!” Does this sound familiar?
Your salesperson lands a HOT job, the estimate is approved, converted to a live job, and files arrive. The files usually arrive by a forwarded email from sales or directly from the customer as an attachment to an email, or a link to the customer’s file sharing platform. The CSR writes up a jacket, and delivers the job to prepress. Then…
Prepress is quite busy working on other HOT jobs. The job may sit a number of hours (best case scenario) or as long as a day or two (depending on what time of day the job was entered).
Enfocus Switch is a True Automation Workflow for the Real World Printer! Learn How to Avoid Prepress Delays, and Keep Jobs Moving!
…but first let’s resume tracking this “HOT job” as it progresses through a typical handling process.
Prepress does eventually get to the HOT job, and the preflight process reveals that the file contains a low-resolution image. The image is 100 ppi, but needs to be 250 ppi.
Hours have now passed, and the salesperson is getting anxious. Prepress sends an email to the CSR/salesperson letting them know that the file contains a low-resolution image. The salesperson is now angry and very concerned as to how the delay will look to the client. The salesperson or CSR informs the client (hours or days later), that they will need to correct the issues and supply a new file.
The process starts again… The corrected file arrives (“all hands on deck”). Prepress works the corrected file and attaches the long awaited proof to an email, or posts the proof file to server because it was too big to email.
Everyone waits for the file to be approved while keeping in mind that the deadline has not changed. Final approval is received. The CSR communicates to the plant that the HOT job is ready to print and now has an upgraded status of “SUPER HOT RUSH”!
How Can You Break from this Cycle?
Evaluate Your Process by Focusing on 3 Key Areas:
1. It’s all about the data
- How long does it currently take to complete an average job (from file reception to job delivery)?
- Where is the most time being wasted today?
- Spend the necessary time pulling production time reports and conducting real world time studies.
- Follow a number of jobs through the plant, from Estimating/Planning, entering into MIS, Prepress (include: preflight, proofing, imposition, etc.) and Shipping.
- Be as detailed as possible in your studies – do not assume anything – take a fresh look at the processes.
- Running reports from your MIS should help you identify what jobs and what types of jobs consume the most Prepress time.
2. Swim Upstream
- Place the preflight process as far upstream in your plant as humanly possible.
- Extend new tools to your customers and your plant.
- Forget old ways of thinking, i.e. “the prepress department preflights all files”
- Move the Preflight process into the hands of those encountering the jobs first.
- Identify the “job killers” at the beginning
(The 4 basic requirements for any job, regardless of the printing process)
- Page Size
- Page Count
3. Keep it Simple
- Automate communication between customers, the plant and employees
- Send alerts/notifications at job milestones to the appropriate staff
- Auto send, receive and route approved/rejected proofs
- Auto impose files going to press
- Auto release to press
How do we automate this entire process?
Switch is a flexible solution that can help automate many steps in a production workflow. Switch will detect incoming files from email attachments, FTP/sFTP sites or network hot folders and route files to the next logical step in the workflow, such as renaming the job, saving an archive of the original file, sending the production file to preflight, imposition or RIP software, etc. With optional metadata features, Switch can use variable data specific to each order to determine how a particular job needs to be processed based on product type, size, page count, substrate, etc. Switch can do things like automatically email a press-ready PDF file to your customer for approval, email or notify a member of staff that a job failed preflight or has a warning, etc.
Here is a basic workflow showing how Switch can fully automate the entire journey for the “HOT job”, reducing the typical “stop and go” process between the customer, CSRs and prepress.
** Notice that the job remains within the workflow throughout the entire process **
This process allows for a “True Automation“ workflow
- The jobs are submitted to a “Submit Point” via an easy to use web browser interface
- A copy of the submitted jobs are automatically archived to your server and into your custom folder structure
- Then the jobs are auto-preflighted based on your custom settings, and then sent to a “Pass” or “Fail” Checkpoint
- Awaiting the user at the “Checkpoint” will be a full annotated (point and click) easy-to-read Preflight Report. The jobs can now be released from the Checkpoint
- Proof – Archive – Impose – Send to Press
- Digital Soft Proofs to the Client are automatically generated, Client is notified and approved jobs are allowed to auto process
- Print files and Preflight Reports are archived to your server
- Switch determines the correct imposition template to use and sends the output file to your own imposition tool for processing
- Imposed print files are routed to the correct press
Switch provides the tools for the “Real World Printer“
- The objective is to reduce the touch points, prevent mistakes and remove needless time delays
- The goal is to have a happy customer while increasing the profit margin on each job
When you implement a (truly) automated workflow, you can:
- Process files immediately
- Identify problems as files are onboarded
- Route jobs intelligently
- Ensure quality
- Automate the repetitive tasks
- Increase productivity and production capacity
- Retain existing customers
- Maintain staff morale
The team at XChange is committed to helping you assess your existing production workflow and determine the best way to alleviate your bottlenecks and achieve your automation goals. Schedule a free consultation here to take your first step towards getting more done.