Why Workflow Matters


There is nothing better than doing the same task over and over again by hand, is there? You know for certain it is done, the way you want it to be done and you don’t have to rely on anyone else to mess up your way of doing things, you know your way is best & is the way it should be done, each time, every time. This is great if you’re a florist who offers that special service or a chef who knows the ripeness of his ingredients, it makes sense for their businesses doesn’t it. But for print, is it the same? Hell no! By doing that same task again & again you are killing your business in this age, you are stopping your business from growing & you are only making yourself feel needed – there is another way!

Getting a job into production is nothing but a collection of jobs or tasks, if one of those tasks can be joined up so it complements the other and so one, this is basic workflow and most of us are either to stuck in our ways to change or feel too insecure to embrace change until it is forced upon them. Sadly, this is the truth, letting go of an old way of doing things is like losing a well-worn pair of jeans, there simply is no replacement.

So, let’s talk about that ‘new way’ forward. There is not one “new way” for all but let us look at the basics & trust me you already know them, but it takes someone to annoyingly point them out for you to sit up! Imagine if “print” was made up of three simple tasks (yes, I am super oversimplifying here but go with me here):

  1. A job is booked
  2. The job is printed
  3. The job is finished & dispatched

Booking a job in & understanding it takes say 5 minutes, getting the job ready for print after checks takes another 5 minutes to get ready to press the magic print button (any process will do). Once finished & dispatched, we just need to complete the job to invoice, go with me and say it takes 2 minutes for a job & an invoice to be flying out the door allowing you move on the next. So, each & every job follows this made-up process, trust me I love print & am not demeaning it in anyway, just making a point here. We are looking at 5+5+2 which as we all knew equates to 12 minutes, or 5 jobs an hour collectively for any team, on an eight hour shift we are doing 40 jobs, actually we are good at what we do so let’s say 50 jobs a day, 250 a week, 1,000 a month = brilliant. Each job is 150 with 25% margin – We are making 37,500 a month, we might not be growing but the wolves are not at the proverbial door.

But we don’t just want to maintain our business! How do we grow, add staff, faster presses, we are already going full speed? What if we could have the new jobs coming in linking to dispatch & accounting while sending the artwork direct to press in an orderly queue, optimised with no need for checking saving 4 mins on the new job, 4 mins on the checking and 1 min on the finishing & dispatch. So, 9 minutes on a 12-minute job, or 75% or ¼ of the time it was, we can now increase our capacity by 75% / x3 more jobs equating to x3 more profit which as you can figure out is 150,000 profit each month, boom we are growing! This is a super basic workflow example, as workflow is a journey with no end but constant efficiency reviews.

Workflow directly equals profit, that is why it matters so much to print production & the more complex the process the more important that workflow & its automation is, not to lose people but get those people to be doing more jobs that effect & support the business helping it to grow. Think about it, if you are paying someone 15,000 a year to manage a process that could be automated for 5,000, then your business could reduce costs and improve efficient.

Now, all of this is great but will being online actually bring in more orders? Can workflow effect that? It certainly can as the world has moved online – check out the ONS comment on how people who move online, don’t go back to doing ordering the way they did but as a printer you can tap into this growing market. It is estimated that 50-65% of print is now online & with some good marketing & a Web2Print solution that links to your automation you can drive those profits in the right direction as you scale up your business, moving online with both B2B to keep those repeating jobs & B2C to find new ones. Help is out there; you just have to take the first step & embrace change!

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