The sales person realizes that the calculation was done based on an old price list. Once again, a file has been lost; and no one can inform the customer on the phone about the status of his order.
Such situations are everyday reality in businesses – and they diminish efficiency
Asana, vendor of a leading team project and task management solution, compiles the annual "Anatomy of Work" index. The latest edition of the study proves that organizations of all sizes and across all industries lose countless hours to "work for work". This includes, but is not limited to, the following "tasks":
- the communication about work processes
- the searching for information
- switching back and forth between applications
- dealing with changing priorities
- finding out the status of jobs.
60 percent of working time is not productive
The study showed that employees spend around 60 percent of their time simply coordinating work. This working time simply seeps away in poorly set-up processes, without people really being aware of this in their day-to-day work.
Another problem is duplicate work. The study says that teams spend an average of 13 percent of their time on work that has already been done!
This wasted time not only costs money – it is also the time that is missing for truly value-adding tasks including customer acquisition and consulting. In addition, such business and production processes are highly error-prone. They can lead to further financial or image losses – not to mention avoidable stress.
Print shops are also familiar with such situations from their day-to-day work. In light of the challenges the printing industry faces, print businesses have to ensure maximum efficiency in their processes – after all, more and more small and complex jobs have to be produced as cost-effectively as possible under high time pressure.
Three-pillar strategy for higher productivity
The figure of 60 percent of time spent unproductively shows how great the potential is for optimizing processes.
The solution lies in the three essential pillars of digitization – the centralization of data, the integration of applications and systems and, building on this, automation. Without these three elements, increasing productivity is only possible to a limited extent.
Centralization: the Single Point of Truth
Searching for information is one of the major time drainers and thus the efficiency killer par excellence. Print businesses should therefore definitely create a central point where everyone in the team can find the information they need for their tasks – this applies to customer service just as much as it does to production and the shipping department.
Centralization is essentially about identifying data silos. These are data stocks or information that are held in various departments in the company and can only be used by the respective department. Data is not exchanged, and usually cannot be exchanged at all due to technical circumstances.
Data silos of this kind usually develop silently in all companies – someone discovers the need to store certain information and does so quickly. It is important to note that the data does not necessarily have to be digitally – it is often still stored in paper form in folders.
Over time, this database grows and is used almost unconsciously in day-to-day business. No thought is given to the purpose of this data, which processes depend on it and what the consequences might be if it is not kept up to date or if it is not available.
The Keyline print business management software helps to put an end to such data silos. It covers all stages of the value chain in the printing industry. It is therefore the basis for centralizing all data and processes in print businesses. From costing to production to shipping, it gathers all the data relevant to the processing of each job and makes it available throughout the company.
Gone are the days when, for example, a customer's question about the status of his order triggered frantic activity to obtain this information internally – with Keyline, this can be done with a few clicks, regardless of who is answering the call.
Another example is costing: Whereas customer consultants often had to laboriously gather data from various sources, just some clicks are all that is needed in Keyline. Instead of having to wait for a lengthy calculation, customers can now be provided with an accurate quote in minutes – an important time advantage in the race for orders.
Based on the centrally available data for each order, invoicing also runs almost automatically. This means that more can be achieved with the same team size.
Integration connects applications
Many print businesses use a whole range of stand-alone solutions to handle jobs from order intake to shipping. Not only do they have to switch back and forth between programs, they often have to transfer data, usually manually, from one software to the other. This is a time-consuming and error-prone procedure that results in processes running as if with the handbrake on.
Keyline helps to end the mushrooming of the software landscape. On the one hand, it simply takes care of many functions itself – costing, production planning and control, warehouse management, packaging and logistics, and invoicing are thus performed on a central system accessible from anywhere.
In addition, Keyline's architecture enables the seamless and transparent integration with other applications as well as with machines. The basis for this is provided by the open and comprehensively documented interface via which data can be read and written. Keyline facilitates integration with web-to-print and PDF workflows, for example.
Data-driven production enables comprehensive automation
Systematic centralization and integration as well as the continuous flow of information between machines and applications also create the basis for process automation. This approach of data-driven production shifts away from the linear and inflexible supply chain with its often high friction losses to a dynamically networked digital supply network.
Keyline takes over the transfer of the information required for the next production step to the respective software or machine. This applies across all process stages – from order acceptance to shipping. In such an environment, the highest level of transparency and flexibility means that it is also possible to react quickly to changing production demands.
Thanks to the high level of automation, not only can production be more efficient with the same resources – printing companies can also develop new business models. One example is corporate print stores, where employees of large enterprises customize and order the print products they need online, which then go through an almost automated production process.
Industry platform Zaikio takes it to the max
The philosophy of centralization, integration and automation is being taken to the next level by our upcoming industry platform Zaikio. The purpose of Zaikio is to digitize and automate all processes between all stakeholders in the printing industry.
The goal is to democratize the printing industry: printing companies, customers, brand owners, suppliers, and software and machine manufacturers will be able to communicate and exchange data at eye level on this modern and open platform.
The heart of the platform will be the "Mission Control" module. Its task: to store all the data required for the printing process and distribute it to all those involved in a targeted manner – people, software and machines. All existing applications, all machines, and new Zaikio apps can read and write product and process information into it via a standardized interface. Figuratively speaking, this turns 100 individual integrations into a single integration. This makes everyone's work easier, scalable, secure and controllable. Mission Control is expected to be available to all stakeholders in Q3 2021.
Orders directly from the MIS
Zaikio Procurement, which print businesses can use free of charge, is already available. They can order paper, inks, plates and other consumables from various manufacturers or dealers directly from their familiar MIS at no extra cost. Users can access the suppliers' systems completely transparently and without leaving their MIS – so product details, availability and prices are always up to date. The import and maintenance of material databases into the MIS as well as bothersome telephone inquiries are finally a thing of the past. After the order has been placed, the delivery can also be tracked.
More time for what matters
Already with Keyline and later even more with Zaikio, print businesses relieve their employees of complex or simply cumbersome manual processes. This allows them to concentrate on what they are good at – advising and supporting their customers in the production of their print jobs with comprehensive expertise and creativity.