How to Leverage Automation for Print Production in Hard Times

A Discussion on the Overlooked Benefits of Automation for Periods of Business Disruption



Ryan McAbee


If the print community has learned anything this year, it is that having a flexible and adaptable organization is key to combat the disruption from the COVID-19 pandemic. Print service providers that have widely implemented workflow automation could more easily pivot because of:


  • Their ability to accept customers’ orders online
  • The option for customers to self-service the tracking of orders
  • The use of cloud-based or remote access to critical business software and workflow components
  • The time they had for employees to find creative solutions and new applications instead of focusing on manual processes and tasks


Unfortunately, many PSPs in North America have yet to implement workflow automation across most of the organization. According to our most recent research, only 7% of respondents in North America were mostly automated across departments or fully automated after job onboarding. The reality for most is that there are “islands of automation” where connections have been made in certain areas, such as order details transferred from the online order (web-to-print) and the print management system (print MIS).



There is a tremendous benefit of removing remedial tasks from print production workflow processes. The stigma for many PSPs is that it requires a lot of time and costs to implement automation. Today, the excuse is less about time (since most shops order volumes are down considerably) and more related to costs. Luckily, there are some solutions that provide a fast return-on-investment that can be demonstrated by your vendor of choice by automating: preflighting, imposition (ganging/nesting), job on-boarding, and data integration between prepress and offset/digital presses.


Another often overlooked benefit of workflow automation is the value from unlocking employee creativity. Automation can free employees from repetitive, low-value tasks—which provides time for them to tackle larger operational or strategic challenges creatively. Perhaps Diego Diaz phrased it best in our recent webinar by saying, “When you take talented people and set them free, they will always make your business better.”


Now is the perfect time for PSPs to reevaluate their workflow and increase levels of automation. First, your essential staff currently has time to focus on projects that too often get pushed aside due to the daily demands of print production. Second, software vendors are offering free trial periods and creative purchasing options due to the pandemic. Finally, the automation improvements made now will carry through the pandemic and strengthen the business to be more adaptable for whatever comes next.


Click here to watch the full replay of The New Workplace Virtual Summit webinar on Leveraging Automation to Push Back in Hard Times.