We often read about how, as an industry, we need to transform our businesses to keep up with an evolving market. For years we have also been hearing about automating our processes as a way to reduce our costs and cycle time. It all sounds very logical. And when looking at vendor product messaging, you would almost think it as easy as signing a check to purchase the ultimate solution. However, it is really not as easy as purchasing a solution. Transforming and automating business processes, in a way that meets your needs today but can continue to meet evolving market demands, requires a serious investment of more than just dollars.

Beginning in January 2013, this new series will look at the changing requirements, as well as some of the tools that are available to help you make those choices and changes. But more importantly, it will specifically discuss the steps you need to take to evaluate your business and enable necessary changes. We will also be examining actual customer implementations so that you can see how they were able to succeed in this important process. Some of the topics we will be covering include:

  • JDF. What is the state of implementation and adoption? Is it everything it was promised, or is there more to do?
  • Successful automation requires normalization or constraint of input; what are the methods and tools that can be used to embark upon those important steps?
  • How do you currently use your ERP/MIS solution, and what are the other potential benefits available if you further integrate it into production workflows? Perhaps more importantly, do you have an ERP/MIS solution?
  • Is it better to move to an all-inclusive workflow solution or bridge component solutions? How do you make those determinations, and more importantly, what should you be looking for in supplier partners?
  • Lights out imposition: Can you set up a system that will detect what you are sending and impose automatically?
  • It is becoming increasingly important to create a better bridge to your customers and their internal workflows. Many have used web-to-print solutions, but do they really serve the needs of all types of work and customer integration? Are all of the web-to--print solutions the same? How can you determine how to integrate systems (internally and externally) and become a more streamlined and customer-friendly operation?

These are just a few of the many topics we will be covering. If you have any topics you think are important and would like us to cover, please let us know!

Look for this exciting and informative new series to begin in January on WhatTheyThink.

David Zwang, travels around the globe helping companies increase their productivity, margins and market reach. With over 40 years of industry experience, David specializes in process analysis and strategic development for firms in the fields of publishing, design, premedia, and printing.

Please contact him at david@zwang.com