London – Ricoh Europe announces the addition of next-generation Print MIS (Management Information System) Avanti Slingshot, from long-term solutions partner Avanti, to its portfolio of solutions. This will allow European print services providers to benefit from the improved operational planning, transparency and reporting capabilities delivered by Avanti Slingshot.
“Print operations face a number of challenges,” explains Benoit Chatelard, General Manager, Solutions, Ricoh Europe. “They are focused on bringing in more orders just to sustain last year’s revenue, and achieving profitability on each job if possible. The difference between those that are succeeding and those that are struggling is that the former have an intimate understanding of costs, they know where they are taking their business, and they have a passion for continuous improvement. It is Ricoh’s goal to bring products and services to the market that will enhance productivity, efficiency and performance for print-based businesses to be successful.”
To help more businesses achieve this in practice, Avanti Slingshot provides tools and solutions that make the entire workflow more efficient, from estimating, job ticketing, purchasing and inventory management, through to scheduling, shipping and billing. It gives print services providers a real-time view of all job costing, job tracking and billing information, enabling them to deliver better client service and improve profitability.
Avanti Slingshot incorporates business intelligence including CRM, dashboards and reporting, production planning such as estimating, planned purchasing, sales orders, inventory management and scheduling, fulfilment, shipping and billing into one affordable, easy-to-use and implement system. It is designed to easily integrate with third party applications and equipment and includes robust Application Programming Interfaces (APIs), leveraging industry protocols such as JDF/JMF and XML to eliminate ‘islands of automation’ in the print shop where many bolt-on solutions have been added but do not talk to each other. The result is a streamlined and integrated business and production workflow. Browser-based, it enables anytime/anywhere access and can be served up from the cloud or hosted, providing print services providers with a level of flexibility and security that suits their individual needs.
“This new platform addresses the complexities and unique workflows of the multiple lines of business that printers now compete in, including offset and digital printing, large format, marketing services, mailing and fulfilment,” explains Mr Chatelard. “It connects business and production processes, enables integration of Web-to-Print platforms, creates estimating consistency, manages material requirements and outside purchases, provides customer service representatives with information they need to do their job in a timely fashion and holds all sales information centrally.”
Benefits of adoption include the ability to handle more job throughput without adding staff, faster payment speed through streamlined billing, improved client satisfaction through quicker turnaround times, and the freeing up of sales and management from repetitive administrative tasks to focus on the client. Avanti Slingshot also helps operations handle the increased number of short-run digital jobs by providing real-time information vital to making decisions and managing the workflow.
Mr Chatelard adds: “After implementing Avanti Slingshot, print services providers have found they can operate with fewer resources and drive down costs, which significantly improves the bottom line. As they migrate more work from offset to digital to meet client demand for personalisation, shorter runs or faster turnaround times, a print MIS solution becomes a necessity to be able to take advantage of the opportunities in today’s marketplace. They can better drive their workflows and harness fully the advantages of continuous feed or cut sheet digital devices, directing work to the optimal process. With Avanti Slingshot you can even establish an interface to delivery/shipping services with a tracking number automatically incorporated into the job information.”
Mr Chatelard concludes: “This partnership with Avanti is just one of the ways that Ricoh is extending its expertise. And it is evidence of our commitment to not just help our clients run the Ricoh presses in their company but help our clients run their company. We offer a comprehensive business oriented architecture, where all components can be connected, Ricoh or third party. Today’s announcement demonstrates that Ricoh understands customer business processes and is creating a total offering that delivers both efficiency and profitability.”
Avanti Slingshot will be rolled out during 2015, starting early in the year in the UK, as it is regionalised with local content and to different systems environments and workflows. It will ship with Avanti’s Quick Start Database, a standards library, and migration/import tools that will dramatically reduce the amount of time and effort required for implementation.