Change and Thrive
In the year ahead, in-plants will need to focus on more efficient workflows, integrating with mobile technologies and adding even more value.December 2012 By Jerry Sampson
Like most of us in the printing industry, we at DCT Consulting Group are always wondering if there is something coming that will change the way we do business. We listen to prognosticators, attempting to glean an advantage that will help us prosper or at least survive. I see and hear speakers tell their audiences what is going to happen in 10, 20, 50 years, which as a result of the timing, are safe predictions. No one is going to remember them, while the ones that are more risky are the one-, two-, five-year projections because businesses build plans on those increments.
With this in mind I am going to jump into the briar patch and suggest what will happen based on what our group has seen and heard from our engagements within that risky one- to five-year period.
First, a change that has been occurring and will continue to do so is optimizing processes. The job shop mentality is being replaced with concepts like Lean Manufacturing and process workflow. While many companies have claimed to become more efficient, the truth is, printing still has a long way to go to match that of the electronics and automobile industries, to name a couple.
Additionally, for printing to continue to be a viable communication model, it must match the efficiency of its digital competition. This is a challenge, but we are already seeing the seeds of this change in manufacturers of output devices adding software and standards that will enable printing operations to build automation into every detail of their process.
Print industry leaders are already pushing this effort and as it becomes more widely accepted, standards and automation will be included in even lower-level devices reducing cost of entry. A decision not to upgrade to more capable and cost-efficient devices will, in the end, determine how long a company stays competitive. These improvements are no longer exotic but a necessity. The race is on.
The cost of sending e-mails and building content viewers keeps getting less expensive. As long as the customer uses cost of production as a component to the value proposition, print will struggle to be part of the communication model. Designing the most automated in-plant is what every manager should be working toward.
The Mobile Reality
Jerry Sampson is a 17-year veteran of the U.S. in-plant printing industry. Formerly National Business Development manager for the xpedx Business Imaging Group, he is now Solutions Architect at DCT Consulting Group. For more information and to contact Jerry, visit DCT Consulting Group at: dctconsult.com