We’re off to a fast start in the Wizarding World of Workflow 2017. The stars are telling us that this could be the year that more shops that are struggling with spreadsheets, sticky notes, and yellow legal pads might jump on board the workflow automation train. Why? Because the biggest bottlenecks we see in the market are around getting customers on board! It was in our Fast Five Take-Aways from our most recent software investment survey.
The print market, despite the cries of decline and doom, is a vibrant market. Many digital print companies are growing because they can accommodate the fast turnarounds, interesting finishing, and short run requirements posed by print buyers of all types. The survey respondents told us that their businesses were growing because they had invested in more efficient equipment, expanded their service offerings, invested in their sales teams, and invested in their software. They told us that they are spending money and that they are expanding their businesses into new areas, all of which requires appropriate support from their workflow.
That isn’t a surprise. With a shift from long run to short run, or the addition of short run capability to what they offer, the old workflow schemes struggle. So if you are in that boat – trying to make an old PrintMIS or other workflow components do work they weren’t built for, here are some ideas on how to enter the wizarding world of workflow.
Start by looking at what you have and what vendors are supporting you. Many vendors have been rethinking their approach to workflow and are moving to a new style of software that look more like apps for your phone than traditional products. Companies like HP and Enfocus have solutions that let you buy from app stores, while Ricoh, Xerox and others have frameworks built that could grow into the same style solution sets. If your vendor has options to plug new solutions in from a store, it’s worth your time to take a look and see what tools might be out there to help you. There are estimating tools, onboarding tools, shipping and logistics tools and many more!
If you think it’s time to update your entire workflow program, there are many solutions that will let you modernize and become more efficient. The Enfocus Switch Library is a cavalcade of solutions and it is a great place to start. It looks like an app store because that is what it is! Just perusing the offers may give you ideas about ways to reconfigure your workflow to make it more efficient.
Check out my Workflow Blog for the step by step guide on how to evaluate the workflow you have and don’t forget to stop by here every month. There are new solutions coming to market and existing solutions being updated. I am going to try to look at the most interesting ones!
Pat McGrew is the Director and Evangelist for the Production Workflow Service at KeyPoint Intelligence/InfoTrends. As an analyst and industry educator, Pat works with InfoTrends customers and their clients to promote workflow effectiveness. She also has a background in data-driven customer communication, and production printing with offset, inkjet and toner. Co-author of 8 industry books, editor of A Guide to the Electronic Document Body of Knowledge, and regular writer in the industry trade press, Pat won the 2014 #GirlsWhoPrint Girlie Award for dedication to education and communication in the industry, and the 2016 Brian Platte Lifetime Achievement Award from Xplor International. Find Pat on Twitter @PatMcGrew and on LinkedIn.