In a mature market what are the opportunities for growth? I asked this question when I explored the maturity of the wide-format market in this blog.
I looked at how the latest system capabilities in terms of application versatility, service delivery, and sustainable performance, could help win work.
There are other opportunities, too.
Ones that can be achieved through greater optimization and utilization. Here are my top three.
Unused and wasted substrate quickly adds up, which is why ganging and nesting jobs can be a game-changer for profitability. Manually ganging and nesting jobs is a constant trade-off between labour and waste. Profitability is reduced by the minutes spent planning and impositioning print jobs while every square inch of the unused substrate costs money.
Keypoint Intelligence suggests improved planning could transform the fortunes of as many as 82 per cent of wide format print services providers (PSPs) that still gang and nest jobs manually. The associated costs are staggering, with 59 per cent of respondents reporting the task takes them an average of one to 10 minutes per job. Another 18 per cent claim the process can be between 11 minutes to four hours per job.
With costs rising in all areas of print production from energy to inks, an accurate understanding of the margins possible on each job has never been more important. Getting the costings for each and every job right is paramount to a healthy bottom line.
Greater automation can reduce manual labour, increase production efficiency, and save time – particularly for simple daily processes. Cal Newport, associate professor of computer science at Georgetown University, in his book Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World, describes this type of work as ‘shallow’ or ‘non-cognitive, logistical tasks often performed while distracted’. Managing this in an automated way allows skilled staff to concentrate on the more profitable deep work or ‘professional activities performed in a state of distraction-free concentration that push your cognitive capabilities to their limit’ to ‘create new value’.
Automation can also:
- eliminate the need to hire additional staff;
- cut overtime costs in short-staffed operations;
- improve employee morale;
- increase productivity by enabling staff to spend more time performing deep work through the reduction of shallow work; and
- allow staff to add value by undertaking simple everyday tasks.
As well as through investment in the latest hardware solutions, automation can be enhanced with software. Highly responsive systems place PSPs in a strong position to meet the growing demand for signage and other applications as highlighted by the Business Outlook Survey for WhatTheyThink’s Printing Outlook report. They enable the delivery of a wider range of applications on a broader choice of substrates, efficiently and cost effectively. They also help operations make the most of the opportunities highlighted here – opportunities that can be embraced quickly.
Sander Sondaal is director of Commercial Print Sales, Graphic Communications Group, Ricoh Europe.