Log In | Become a Member | Contact Us


Market Intelligence for Printing and Publishing

Connect on Twitter | Facebook | LinkedIn

Featured:     Print 2017     Production Inkjet Tools & Resources     Industrial Print Analysis     European Coverage     Conversations on Print Podcast

Thought Leadership Video Series

Workflow Automation and the Advantages of Enfocus Switch

Published on December 5, 2012

Richard Romano talks to Andrea Mahoney, President of Tribay Enterprise and Ted Vahey, Owner of All Systems Integration, about workflow automation and the benefits of Enfocus Switch.

Richard Romano: Hi, this is Richard Romano, Senior Analyst for WhatTheyThink.com and welcome to the Educational Video Series sponsored by Enfocus. Now, when we talk about workflow automation what do we mean by the term work flow automation? What is automated in a workflow?

Andrea Mahone: When we want to take files and information at the start of our workflow and use all the information without having to have people change file names and write things down. And we want to be able to automate that information all in one step and have job folders made. We want to have files preflighted. We want to have things tell us when something is not right. And so workflow automation is really something that helps us do a better job with the work that we get in.

Richard Romano: Now what are some of the automated systems that you install for other companies? What are the things they’re trying to automate?

Ted Vahey: A lot of it’s just general routine tasks that are done on a consistent basis. Generally not much value add to those processes but things that have to be done. So those are the type of things that we’ll look to automate. We can do things - very simple automation tasks to some very complicated things as well. So simply moving files to actually creating documents on the fly with some variable data and customization as well. We’ll generally start with something like a one trick pony that will address a single issue and sometimes something as simple as that will justify the cost of the product. And then they find all the other things they can do. So we generally start simple and get very complicated.

Richard Romano: Now you’ve been working with Switch. What are some of the advantages of Switch that you’ve found in working with your own customers?

Ted Vahey: Probably the biggest advantage of Switch is that it’s an open system and we’re actually automating some of the desktop applications that they already have and know. They know them very well. They know the settings that they use, they know the output that’s generated from them and we just automate the tasks to actually get the output from those systems.

Richard Romano: Now what are the kinds of companies that you work with that sort of get the most out of automation?

Andrea Mahone: Well all types of printers. All types of printers will get a lot out of Switch. Small printers, commercial printers. It all depends on what you want to deal with. Anybody that has a website that takes orders will benefit from Switch because there’s a lot of repetitive information coming from a website. You want to have it all automatically be set up by Switch.

Richard Romano: What are some of the benefits you’ve seen in some of the companies you’ve worked with?

Ted Vahey: There’s some companies that we’ve done some things with just on the automation and saving time and the prepress department is probably a big winner. There’s a case that we did with the folks at Miami Dade and that actually tied into their mailing system. And they’ve reported savings of over a dollar per piece with some of the automation that we’ve done in tracking first class and certified mail.

Richard Romano: And one of the big fears is that this is all like really complicated and time consuming and expensive to set up. Is any of that true?

Andrea Mahone: Well that’s what I think the best part of Switch is, is that we can take Switch right out of the box and we can automate one thing at a time and let it run. And while it’s running and actually doing something for us like downloading something from an ftp site and putting it on our server and emailing somebody; while it’s doing that we can create another flow that sends something to a laser printer when somebody scans a bar code. Or we can then set up another flow that will do – and this is where you can do simple things one at a time. And you’re accomplishing things and you don’t realize it before you’re done that you’ve accomplished so much.

Richard Romano: What advice would you give to the printing companies or publishing companies or advertising agencies or any other company that’s looking to automate certain types of production processes?

Ted Vahey: Try and find something that’s simple that we can automate and that’s a great place to start. You can also think very big as well. If you’re looking to do something very big what we’ll do is we’ll walk through something, a functional spec, and that is you just describe what you’re trying to do and we’ll help them walk through that. They develop the functional spec. Based on that we’ll do a technical specification so it’s kind of like they tell us what they want to do and then we’ll explain how we would do that with the tool sets that we have. And once that’s done we map out a plan and we show them how it’s gonna be done and do some metrics on that. So it’s a very well organized process for the bigger plants.

Richard Romano: So in that initial process have you ever gone through with a company and walked through some of the processes they can automate and then they said, “Oh, we didn’t know we could do this as well.” Then you sort of start adding onto that process.

Ted Vahey: Absolutely. Yeah, they definitely grow from there. And actually sometimes when we’re going through the process they discover some inefficiencies that they’ve already had and just walking through the process there’s some benefits of doing that without actually implementing anything. But then we can actually automate the things that they’ve identified. So they definitely start – if they start small they definitely get big. But some people have gone in with some very large systems to begin with. They have a well-defined specification and that’s good for us.

Richard Romano: Well, great advice. So thank you very much for joining us.

Ted Vahey: Thank you very much.

Email Icon Email         

 

Post a Comment

To post a comment Log In or Become a Member, doing so is simple and free

 

 

Recent Videos

 

Video preview: PGSF Launches New Campaign to Inform Student about Careers in Graphic Communications

PGSF Launches New Campaign to Inform Student about Careers in Graphic Communications

Published: September 21, 2017

The Print and Graphics Scholarship Foundation (PGSF) has launched a new campaign that includes a poster and brochures that show students various career paths in graphic communications. Dr. Joe Webb talks with John Berthelsen, VP of Development about the campaign. Watch to learn more about how you can get involved.

 

Video preview: Quality Tape and Labels Sees Dynamic Growth in Digital Label, Flexible and Shrink Sleeve Printing

Quality Tape and Labels Sees Dynamic Growth in Digital Label, Flexible and Shrink Sleeve Printing

Published: September 20, 2017

Rob Daniels, President of Quality Tape and Labels, joins Senior Editor Cary Sherburne to talk about how a traditional fourth-generation flexo business got into the digital business. With zero digital business 10 years ago, the company now is producing more than 14 million impressions per month on three HP Indigo presses.

 

Video preview: Zwang on Advancements Across Toner and Inkjet Digital Printing

Zwang on Advancements Across Toner and Inkjet Digital Printing

Published: September 19, 2017

David Zwang provides his perspective on digital printing technologies from toner-based machines to production inkjet. The show marked the mainstreaming of expanded color capabilities in toner such as white inks and fluorescent inks. On the production inkjet side there are number of emerging next generation platforms to consider.

 

Video preview: Print 17:

Print 17: "best show in recent years" but "our work is not done"

Published: September 18, 2017

WhatTheyThink sat down with NPES President Thayer Long at the end of Print 17 to talk about what worked with the changes to the Print show and the evolution of graphic communication trade shows in the US.

 

Video preview: Random Automation at Print 17

Random Automation at Print 17

Published: September 15, 2017

On day 3 of Print 17 Frank Romano pitched the most random idea for a show floor tour video. Frank said, "I want to do something that has never been done before." We said sure. Next time, we'll ask more questions.

 

Video preview: Frank Visits KBA

Frank Visits KBA

Published: September 15, 2017

Eric Frank of KBA brought us up to date on KBA. The company celebrates its 200th anniversary this year. Frederick Koenig invented the first steam-driven cylinder press for the London Times and his company continues to innovate after two centuries.

 

View More Videos

 

Become a Member

Join the thousands of printing executives who are already part of the WhatTheyThink Community.

Copyright © 2017 WhatTheyThink. All Rights Reserved