RETHINKING PRODUCTIVITY: FOUR STEPS TO WIDER OPERATIONAL EXCELLENCE
Signmakers and graphics producers heading to FESPA 2019 have good reason to be optimistic about the future of their business. Reading FESPA’s 2018 Print Census, the story is upbeat; digital output currently represents 44% of total revenues, and is forecast to grow to 53% of turnover between 2018 and 2020. As technology, media and ink innovations stimulate sustained market growth, customer demand for a broader range of print applications continues to rise.
In response to this growth, most Print Service Providers (PSPs) have tended to concentrate their investment plans on improving productivity. Looking deeper into the Print Census, this is still a dominant criteria for buying new technology; 63% of print businesses list faster speed as the key attribute they look for when buying a new wide format printer. Increased capacity also comes high on their list of priorities, with 54% of wide format PSPs giving this as a core motive for their capital spending plans.
But to genuinely optimise productivity and expand production capacity, output speed alone is rarely the answer. Your focus should go further, taking a holistic view of your whole operation, with the goal of achieving operational excellence in every area of the business. Bigger thinking will deliver benefits that reach far beyond improved productivity; enhanced quality and consistency, reduced waste, lower operating costs, better deployment of skilled staff, and the ability to offer your customers smarter business models that really set you apart from the competition.
Visiting an event like FESPA 2019 is the perfect opportunity to stand back and think about whether you have the right foundations in place on which to build for your future.
Here are a few pointers to shape your thinking:
- Production efficiency: As job complexity increases and the breadth of applications you produce becomes more varied, evaluate whether your production solutions (printers, finishing devices, workflow tools and so on) are capable of maximising your production efficiencies for the long term. Customer demand for faster turnaround times is a fact of life, so it’s worth considering whether there are repetitive or routine processes you could automate, and how you could use workflow software to make job changeovers more efficient, streamline order intake, improve load balancing across your output devices, and so on.
- Operational costs: While maximising efficiency is a top priority, it’s also important to focus on minimising operational costs without compromising output quality. This means scrutinising all sources of waste, considering the total operating cost of any piece of equipment (taking into account downtime), and thinking about areas where you can bring costs down without compromising your end product – for example by working with lower cost media or reducing the need for secondary processes like laminating.
- Quality consistency: Digital print technologies may have brought about wider media versatility and applications diversification, but there is now added pressure on you to deliver more work in less time, while maintaining the quality standards your customers expect. Poor or inconsistent quality can lead to wasted time, staff and media costs, reducing your margin and even losing you customers. This makes workflow software and colour management tools a must-have to deliver consistently high quality output, job after job, and maximise profitable production from your available capacity.
- Fitness for purpose: Longevity and durability are just as important as print quality when evaluating wide format applications. Depending on where they are installed, your prints need to resist a range of environmental stresses such as lighting conditions, changes in temperature and moisture, or physical knocks and abrasion. For interior graphics used in sensitive indoor environments, inks must also adhere to stringent product emission standards. Making informed choices of inks and substrates, along with primers and coatings for more specialist applications, could be key to both productivity and performance.
No matter how long you’ve been in business, developments in printer technology, workflow software, automation and media mean there’s so much scope to improve your practices, gain efficiencies, and progress towards excellence, with calculable benefits for your customers and your bottom line.
Find out more with a visit to Canon at FESPA 2019, Stand B5, E30, and fuel your vision of your future business. For free entry visit www.fespaglobalprintexpo.com and use code FESM924.