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You Can’t Automate What You Don’t Know

Think about how you prepare for certification tests or giving a presentation. Most people spend time arranging their thoughts and thinking about their approach. The preparation helps to identify gaps in knowledge and set expectations. Updating or adding automation to production processes in your shop requires that same thoughtfulness. Here is how to get ready before you launch your next automation project.


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About Pat McGrew

Pat is a well-known evangelist for inkjet productivity. At McGrew Group, she uses her decades technical and marketing experience to lead the industry toward optimized business processes and production workflows. She has helped companies to define their five-year plans, audited workflow processes, and developed sales team interventions and education programs. Pat is the Co-Author of 8 industry books, editor of A Guide to the Electronic Document Body of Knowledge, and a regular contributor to Inkjet Insight and WhatTheyThink.com.


By Mark Lewiecki on Oct 31, 2023

Very thoughtful piece, and very timely. Thanks Pat. In the broader world of business intelligence, there is a new buzzword called "Process Mining". Gartner defines it as "a technique designed to discover, monitor and improve real processes (i.e., not assumed processes) by extracting readily available knowledge from the event logs of information systems." But it's not just a buzzword -- processing mining software is already a $1 billion dollar business. Technology-based process mining might complement the human approach that you describe. For real-world print production (i.e. custom manufacturing vs. digital business workflows), human beings should be the primary source of knowledge.


By Shane Parker on Oct 31, 2023

I have been saying this for awhile, "We don't know what we don't know about automation". But the most impressive part of this article is the us of the word archipelagos. You don't get that everyday in a print discussion.


By Pat McGrew on Oct 31, 2023

@Shane: Must have been the time I've spend in Sweden and Finland that helped me find that word! It seemed appropriate!


By Pat McGrew on Oct 31, 2023

@Mark I think Process Mining is a resurrection. I remember it from the early 2000s as we were looking at how to build CRM systems. I haven't looked it up, but I think someone from one of the Dutch universities was the promoter. I was doing a lot of conferences in that space at the time. In the end, I like the term because it talks to exactly what we have to do - find the inefficiencies! Thanks for brushing it off and shining it up!



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