Workflow Efficiency in the In-plant
Automation can save your in-plant considerable time and money, and during the In-plant Forum, Mike Griswold, Printing and Graphics Lead at Tacoma Public Schools, in Washington, traced his in-plant’s path toward greater workflow automation. (Watch the full session here.) The five-employee shop started with Web-to-print, adding WebCRD from Rochester Software Associates in 2013. That, he said, was a “real game changer for us.”
The in-plant subsequently added additional RSA automation tools, like QDirect output management software, QDirect.SCAN for hardcopy job submission, and ReadyPrint Pro to automate frequent prepress tasks. Automation has allowed the in-plant to take on additional work while significantly cutting costs by decreasing how many times staff has to manually touch each job.
Every touch, Griswold said, costs between $5 and $10. Between 2018 and 2019, he said, the in-plant reduced the number of touches per job from seven to four.
“Even if I only value the touches at $5 per touch, we’re still saving big time and money,” he said. On the 12,617 jobs the in-plant did last year, saving three touches per job comes out to a savings of about $189,000 due to automation.
This automation helped the in-plant handle a surge in demand for curriculum packets when COVID-19 hit back in March. The shop was open 12 hours day, seven days a week for the first 3 weeks. By the end of May it had produced 10 million impressions in two months; by comparison, last year the in-plant printed 15 million impressions over the entire year.
The In-plant Forum continued with panels, presentations and product demos. Click the links below to read about some of the other sessions.
Related story: Tacoma Schools In-plant Flooded With Curriculum Work
Bob has served as editor of In-plant Impressions since October of 1994. Prior to that he served for three years as managing editor of Printing Impressions, a commercial printing publication. Mr. Neubauer is very active in the U.S. in-plant industry. He attends all the major in-plant conferences and has visited nearly 170 in-plant operations around the world. He has given presentations to numerous in-plant groups in the U.S., Canada and Australia, including the Association of College and University Printers and the In-plant Printing and Mailing Association. He also coordinates the annual In-Print contest, cosponsored by IPMA and In-plant Impressions.