Guest Article from Canon- Six Steps to Optimize Your Transition to a New Digital Print Technology
Looking for a method to help you succeed in the deployment of a new digital printing solution within your business?
When you add a new print technology into your business, it’s an opportune time to identify areas of your current workflow that can be optimized or approached in a more cost-effective manner. However, a change to your workflow process, addition of new skills sets, integration of workflows from what may have previously been independent departments, transition from a sheet-fed to a roll-fed environment, move from monochrome to color—these can have major impacts on an organization. Whether you are expanding or developing your digital print production capabilities, transitioning your workflows, or integrating new systems, it’s critical to have an implementation plan that achieves your deployment time lines and objectives.
A thorough implementation plan includes six steps.
- Assessment and needs analysis — Building the case to grow your business and expand services begins with a thorough investigation of current capabilities and an understanding of the key requirements and potential gaps to achieve future goals. An assessment and needs analysis will help identify existing pain points and potential gaps as well as new opportunities, then detail the requirements for a solution that will meet your business objectives.
- Integration services — Sometimes new software tools will be needed, especially if you are planning to add new application capabilities to your business. Often existing software tools can be integrated within the new system. Your digital press manufacturer can help you determine what may be required to integrate your new digital press technology and software into your existing infrastructure. The integration process should work to integrate new print platforms with existing prepress systems, back office platforms, host data streams, and legacy data and print streams. Having these discussions early in the planning process will provide a good understanding of what you should budget for software in addition to hardware.
- Support solutions — A new digital printing system brings with it an opportunity to review current workflow processes and supporting programs. Especially if you are looking to add new product offerings to your portfolio, ask your digital press manufacturer to recommend partner solutions that would be a good fit for your business goals. Both the press manufacturer and the solutions partner should work together to ensure that such solutions are integrated properly into your business operation.
- Implementation and training — Whenever new workflows are implemented or new software is required, it is critical to have an installation and implementation plan in place. You need to access the right personnel to get your solution up and running quickly. Key steps to system architecture design and solution deployment can include proper training of key team members, integration into current systems, establishing processes for optimizing color quality, and understanding new workflow processes and new product offerings. Any training needed should be specific to your environment and your applications.
- Project management — Integrating new software, workflow improvements, and product offerings into your business can be a complex endeavor. Before any new product offering is made available, you need to be confident that the new system functions as designed and your team is competent in delivering its services to customers. It helps to designate a project manager to plan and manage the implementation of your digital print solution. Expect this person to set schedules, coordinate resources, identify and troubleshoot potential roadblocks, and maintain your installation schedule.
- Post-installation support — Support services should not end when the installation is complete. Keeping up with the latest developments in printing technology can be difficult. When evaluating a new digital press solution, ask about support services that are available post-installation from your digital press manufacturer. Look for regular reviews of your system and equipment performance, on-site activities with specialists to work with your organization to build skills, and ways to increase print volumes.
Expanding your digital print system capabilities can be a significant investment for your business. Take the time to consider all aspects of the investment and its deployment by using these six steps to maximize your return on that investment.
For more comprehensive advice on how to transition your business to inkjet technology, you may be interested in reading a new book, The Inkjet Edge – How to Transition Your Business to Inkjet. Published by thINK, an independent community of Canon Solutions America production print customers, in collaboration with Canon Solutions America, the book captures the knowledge and insights of some of the most successful inkjet service providers in the country, who were interviewed for the book. It can be purchased for $25 by visiting: pps.csa.canon.com/InkjetEdge.