How to: workflow automation in the printing industry
Better. Faster. More cost-effective. Ambitious printing professionals are in a never-ending pursuit of increased efficiency on numerous levels. This pursuit has made workflow automation an indispensable part of the printing industry. Workflow automation speeds up the printing process, reduces errors, and, ideally, is not limited to internal processes. The best automated printing workflow, after all, is one that collects customer and job data at the same time the job files are being submitted. It is a workflow that is extended to where it all begins: the customer’s desktop.
The backbone of a printer’s workflow automation
Extensible Markup Language (XML) is what drives printing workflow automation systems. Embedded in files, XML can carry job specifications (Which colours are expected? Is the file a draft or the final version? What are the binding preferences?, ...) and customer information (Name? Address? Customer number? Outstanding payments?, …). Once picked up by automation software, it enables the system to organize the files, pass them on to an automated preflight solution, send them off into production and keep the customer posted on the order status.
Involving customers in the automation process
If you’re a printing professional, we needn’t explain to you that your customers are the weakest link in your printing process. Often not fully aware of the exact specifications their files must adhere to, they rely on the printer to check and, if needed, correct files for them. A habit that quite often leads to a prolonged proofing cycle, less billable press time and missed deadlines. Unless you use Connect, that is, which enables you to remote-control your customers’ PDF settings so all jobs they send in are automatically print-ready.