Few industries are subject to as much price and competitive pressure as digital printing. It’s true: Loyal customers pay a few euros more for good advice and flexibility. But the pressure on digital print shops is growing and with it the need for new ways to save money. Potential savings in materials and press utilization have long been known and their implementation is common practice. But less obvious resource guzzlers continue to be neglected or not even considered. Why? Because they are difficult to measure or to allocate to individual cost centers. Process automation in printing software can help.
Automated processes in administration are the key
Particularly in digital print shops, where value creation often consists of many work steps and individual components, the potential for savings is huge. What some digital print shops ignore: It’s not just on the production floor where the big savings opportunities lie, but also in commercial administration. Leaner job processing, for example, reduces one resource in particular: time. And time, as we all know, is money. The automation of work processes plays a central role here. It automates repetitive activities and eliminates the need for manual or multiple entries. As a result, the error rate drops and employees are more satisfied.
We have identified nine potentials with which effective process optimization can be achieved by automation:
1. Generating offers automatically from e-mails.
One goal of modern print shop software is to reduce the number of tools used in the company. Ideally, all activities in day-to-day business are carried out in one system. That is why many software solutions have an integrated e-mail client. This allows e-mails to be received or sent. Incoming e-mails are automatically assigned to the appropriate contact and the contents of the e-mail are used for new work steps. For example, for the creation of an offer.
2. Convert offers into orders automatically.
A popular source of errors is the manual creation of order confirmations from quotations. The classic way is: The sales department writes the individually formulated offer and asks the colleagues in the office to create an order confirmation. It is easier if quotations with fixed item texts and a few clicks are converted into orders. This reduces errors, misunderstandings and promotes cross-departmental collaboration.
3. Release and schedule orders for production.
Once the order has been released by the customer, the order items can be transferred to production. The prerequisite for this is that the previous documents have already been created “ready for production”. The production orders can then be scheduled on schedule. In this way, rush jobs can be given priority or similar print jobs can be linked.
4. Label finished products without manual input.
After production is complete, the goods must be prepared for shipping. This process can also be optimized in terms of time. In this case, the printing software automatically triggers label printing after the last operation has been completed and reported.
5. Address data automatically transferred to carrier software.
Parallel to the generation of the delivery bill, delivery data or recipient data can be transferred fully automatically to the carrier software via an interface. The feedback of tracking number and data to the printing software is also fully automated.
6. Convert orders automatically into outgoing invoices and send them by e-mail.
As with a routing slip, print shop software automatically converts new order confirmations into outgoing invoices. Many companies send the generated invoices in PDF format. Now, with the introduction of so-called ZUGFeRD invoices, another level of automation is available. From now on, companies using this technology will use uniform and formal invoice standards. Conversely, since every invoice has the same form, the contents of the document can be captured and processed automatically without further intervention.
7. Finished accounting records are automatically transferred to DATEV.
Printing software that integrates accounting and merchandise management in a single tool offers a major advantage when it comes to entering invoices for accounting purposes. The software automatically generates ready-accounted posting records from outgoing and incoming invoices. These are automatically transferred to financial accounting software such as DATEV and do not have to be re-entered.
8. Automatically assign open items and transfer them to the credit limit check.
A fully integrated system is also useful if an overview of open items including status is required. The values are transferred from DATEV to the printer software and assigned to the appropriate vendor, customer and item. In addition, the values can be used for the credit limit check. The print shop software automatically informs the user if the entered limit is exceeded.
9. Fully automated VAT identification number check
Typing errors in sales tax identification numbers can have nasty consequences during tax audits. To eliminate this risk, the checking of VAT IDs should be automated. With an interface to the website of the Federal Central Tax Office, the check is taken over from the printer software. If the check is ever forgotten, the software reminds the user of the outstanding check.
The constant process automation of work procedures is not only reserved for large companies. It also holds a great deal of potential for saving resources for small and medium-sized companies. The list can be continued indefinitely. The important thing here is that the specific automation approaches fit the individual company processes and the people in the company.
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