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How Intelligent Automation Can Help Print Businesses Work Smarter

Print businesses have undergone huge digitalization over recent years. They’ve had to so they can drive process and cost efficiencies in tough times and accelerate their competitiveness. The cost of inaction just isn’t worth it—it’s “do or die”.

Yet technology still has much more to offer, especially around intelligent automation, the use of AI, and machine learning to optimize systems and processes.

Businesses can wield technology to make operations run more effectively and, in doing so, drive down costs, errors, bottlenecks, and wastage. They can also harness it to improve productivity, workload capacity, and time to market.

As a result, automation can lead to improvements in efficiency, customer service, and profitability, making it well worth pursuing.

Why print businesses are embracing automation

Automation is clearly on the rise. In 2020, Keypoint Intelligence1 asked print businesses to compare their current usage of automated workflows for on-site print volumes with their expectations for the future. The survey discovered that while 63% of volume was produced without any automation in 2020, that figure will drop to 36% by 2022, indicating that print business owners expect to increase their use of automated workflows significantly.

One of the biggest drivers for automated workflows is speed: the ability to rapidly complete client jobs. According to the last published FESPA Census, almost three quarters of print businesses are seeing increased demand from customers for faster turnaround times.2

Furthermore, 59% believe that customer demand for ‘just-in-time’ deliveries will increase. Expanding your use of digital printing, combined with intelligent automation, can help on both fronts.

Improving uptime with remote monitoring

Having the right technology can make all the difference.

For instance, remote monitoring tools that come with modern large-format printers enable you to monitor the usage levels of print fleet so you can control your print costs and maintain uptime and productivity.

As well as making your operations more streamlined, and highlighting where cost efficiencies can be made, automation technologies like these will enable your business to create more accurate quotes, and negotiate more competitive prices with suppliers.

However, many print businesses have some way to go. According to the FESPA Census, print businesses have been largely indifferent to MIS software so far. An alarming 58% said they had no plans at all to invest. A change in outlook could be one way to stand out from the crowd.

How e-commerce platforms could create new opportunities

While a lot of businesses will continue to receive their orders off-line, customers are showing an increased appetite to specify and place orders online. There are natural synergies between e-commerce and digital printing, offering print businesses the opportunity to expand their customer reach, use online platforms and automated backend processes to fulfil orders more quickly and efficiently, and add analytics to
print sales and services.

Why now is the time for change

Print businesses large and small are building on the transformation journey they began in recent years and accelerated through the pandemic. Smarter use of automation can create new efficiencies, control costs, and hasten turnaround times for customers that increasingly demand just-in-time services. Digital printing levels the playing field and gives smaller print business owners the power tools they need to compete with larger competitors. But regardless of whether your print business is large or small, now is the time for change, with intelligent automation presenting itself as a game changer.


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