Posts tagged: Workflow

Making Efficient Workflows: 2018 Solimar User Conference

Pat McGrew
 May 13, 2018

San Diego is known for being a hub of invention, from inkjet development to dynamic software solutions. Solimar Systems is embedded in that innovation hub, with 27 years of providing solutions to companies with workflow challenges. Their 2018 User Conference in San Diego (May 8-10) brought together their top users to share their solutions, learn about new features and provide feedback to the Solimar technical team. I am a huge fan of user conferences for the networking opportunities they bring for both the solutions staff and the customers. Face to face is always the best way to gain trust among users and for users to develop all-important relationships.

This year’s event began with a Customer Advisory Council meeting that included a Keypoint Intelligence Keynote: Like Childred, Your Workflow Needs Attention! The council consists of 23 Solimar users who meet on a regular cadence to provide guidance. The goal of the keynote was to talk through the power of workflow automation in driving efficiency and profitability. We are advocates of workflow assessments, as are the team at Solimar Systems, so the presentation walked through a ten step review of workflow processes, with supporting data from the latest Keypoint Intelligence North American Software Investment Survey.

The most interesting takeaways from the Customer Advisory meetings was the diversity of issues faced by Print Service providers of all sizes, and the variety of approaches they take to move toward efficiency. We heard from companies that approach workflow with multiple solutions and some that approach with a single-threaded workflow approach, all using the Solimar products to add efficiency to their production processing.

The Solimar User Group encompasses the Advisory Council and an extended group of Solimar Users. The event included presentations from partners, including Konica Minolta, SCREEN, Ironsides Technology, Reality BLU, BCC Software, and RISO. Customer panels included deep dives into Operational Efficiencies, Differentiated Services, Compliance and Security, and Customer Experience, allowing customers to share their best practices.

Two keynotes touched on tangential workflow issues. The first was the Keypoint Intelligence presentation by Pat McGrew: The Workflow Revolution: Are You On Board? The goal was to provide guidance on how to approach workflow as a moonshot, moving toward the best level of optimization possible. The theme was that operational excellence requires an executive commitment and an open mind to allow change. The goal is Smart Print Manufacturing that embraces automation.

The second keynote came from Tim Cooper, Chief Enterprise Architect at Harland Clarke. If you have not heard a Tim Cooper presentation you have missed something special. Tim has decades of experience in workflows and is a deep thinker when it comes to optimization and breaking down barriers. His presentation was A Discussion on Workflow Facts that Can Lead to Wrong Conclusions. He walked through how looking at data in a vacuum can lead to the wrong architecture and implode operational efficiencies.

Tim shared how he arrived at his philosophy of workflow, and how using the Solimar solutions he was able to wrangle multiple, disparate workflows in to a single workflow, and reduce processing time from more than 3000 hours to under a couple of days. That drew gasps from PSPs in the room struggling with the same challenges.

The true value of user group meetings comes from the networking and sharing, as well as guidance that analysts can supply to provide guidance for decisions about the next investments and architecture changes need to be made. The Solimar team did an excellent job of tuning the mix of technical sessions focused on products and solutions with partner presentations and announcements, and customer panels.

Solution Focus: Corebridge – A Modern Management Solution for Wide Format

Ryan McAbee
 Apr 25, 2018

Look around. What do you see? Chances are good that you see signage used to promote, inform, or direct. The ubiquity of signs makes it an attractive product for print service providers looking to capture a piece of a growing market. Due to advancements and growth in digital printing equipment, print shops can get started quickly at many different price points.

Buying the equipment is only one part of operating a successful print shop producing wide format applications. How will customers know what you offer, get pricing, and confirm their order? How will they upload artwork files? Once the order is confirmed, how will accurate job details flow through each department of the shop? What happens when there is an issue and how will that be communicated internally and externally to the client? As you can see, managing a wide format print operation has a lot of moving parts beyond just printing. Read more »

Highcon Releases the Euclid IIIC

India Tatro
 Mar 5, 2018

Highcon, developer of the revolutionary “Euclid” digital cutting and creasing technology for paperboard, recently announced the commercial release of a new machine, Euclid IIIC, which can cut and crease thicker media, in particular several grades of corrugated. The new machine features can work with single ply paperboard, laminated stocks, and N, F, G, E, and B-flute corrugated from 1mm to 3mm in thickness (40-120 points). The Euclid IIIC thus allows the Euclid series to expand further, thanks to the new printer’s ability to finish thin to medium grade corrugated media. That media category has grown quickly in the past few years because of is use in packaging, in particular for primary packaging such as small but sturdy boxes for cosmetics, consumer electronics, and home furnishings.  Read more »

SGIA SPIRE Group Presentation 2018

Steve Urmano
 Feb 22, 2018

This year’s SPIRE event has been ramped up to include great new content to help you manage your graphics business – all delivered at warp speed. 33 top tier graphic imaging professionals and 10 presenters participated in this eclectic conference to provide new ideas to build a framework to future growth requirements.

Steve Urmano, Director of Wide Format had a half hour presentation and Q&A on the topic: Convergence, How The Wide Format Industry Is Changing. It focused on all the different ink & media technologies and how the market opportunities are changing along with them. Attendees should come away with a view of new opportunities & adjacencies.

The schedule is so full, the 10 presenters are sure accomplish this lofty goal. With a limited number of spots available, attendees needed to register quickly to ensure they didn’t miss out on the event of the year. The SPIRE strong sharing environment allows for critical insight and game-changing industry networking.

A sampling of the presentations are as follows:

  • Richard Romano, What They Think, Developments in Production Automation
  • Patrick Morrissey, EFI, Review of New Products & Scope
  • Kerry King, Spoonflower, Décor & Shift Towards Online Portals
  • John Hagan, Hagen Graphic Assets, Exploring Employee Recruitment
  • Alexander Hussain, 3D Chimera, 3D Printing: Production & Partnership

 

About SPIRE

SPIRE is a unique network of CEOs and top executives from industry leading producers of retail, point-of-purchase, OEM, transit, outdoor, and similar graphic solutions. The interests, concerns, and challenges of SPIRE members are often different than those of individuals managing smaller companies within the SGIA membership. SPIRE has been in existence for more than 20 years, providing both educational and networking opportunities that are unparalleled in our industry. The members of SPIRE have carefully created an environment where printers from related markets, even direct competitors, can comfortably address common issues. In fact, just about every SPIRE member will tell you that their SPIRE network is their most valued SGIA resource.

 

Feedback from the Organizers

“I’m very proud of how we have advanced the quality and pacing of the SPIRE program. It’s dynamic, relevant content that speaks to today’s industry challenges.”

– Scott Crosby, SPIRE Program Co-Chair, Holland and Crosby

Scott Crosby of Holland & Crosby

“SPIRE has become the don’t-miss meeting in the print industry. At SPIRE, we provide high-level topics for top-level executives you can’t get anywhere else.”

– Terry Corman, SPIRE Program Co-Chair, Firehouse Image Center

Terry Corman of Firehouse Graphics

 

Meetings and Social Events
Ongoing changes to the graphic arts industry are profound, with new areas of convergence and unprecedented opportunities for those companies that can navigate change successfully. Attendees gained insight from Keypoint Intelligence – InfoTrends industry consultant Steve Urmano as he presented his views on how today’s changes will affect tomorrow’s realities.

 

 

My Experience @LegalweekShow

Sheryne Glicksman
 Feb 9, 2018

I kicked off my travel for the year by attending LegalTech in Manhattan on January 29th 2018. LegalTech has been one of the largest legal technology events in the United States for several years now. LegalTech provides an in-depth look at what the technological world has in store for legal firms today. 170 vendors were onsite to highlight their expertise. In chatting with these vendors, I heard that eDiscovery, legal research and contracts management, cloud, cyber security, and legal marketing are trends that are redefining the legal industry.
Did you know that eDiscovery started due to the amendments to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure? These amendments make electronically stored information such as emails, instant messages, voicemails, e-calendars, graphics and data on handheld devices discoverable in litigation. According to The Radicati Group, Inc (a technology market research firm), eDiscovery was already a $2B dollar industry in 2017 with revenues expected to grow 24% to reach $3.8B by 2018. eDiscovery and analytics are at the center of how the business and practice of law using technology is changing.

New services for EDiscovery & Legal Research
Ricoh announced its Remlox™ Cloud service as the latest piece in their digital forensics services offerings. We spoke to Ricoh executives Eric Mandel (Domain Strategist & Information Governance) and David Greetham (VP eDiscovery, Sales & Operations) to get their expert feedback. According to Eric & David, changes to federal law are transforming how we collect forensic data and introduce and validate the evidence. They said that lawyers, not just the courts, are responsible for presenting evidence that is relative and discoverable specific to the requirements of the case. There is a need to get the data quickly and for it to be forensically sound.

With that in mind, Ricoh has developed a number of secure, user-friendly eDiscovery solutions including:

Remlox™ Cloud is a user-friendly, cloud-based software solution that enables proportionality through a forensic targeted collection. It automates the collection process by allowing users to efficiently gather only the most potentially relevant information needed for their case. Users can request a collection in the morning, using Ricoh’s same-day email deployment, and can be reviewing their data that same evening, utilizing one of Ricoh’s industry-leading document review solutions. And it’s all hosted in Ricoh’s Microsoft® Azure™ environment with enhanced security.

RICOH eDiscovery On Demand is a self-service, on-demand, cloud-based software solution with a customizable, easy-to-navigate user-interface. It puts the eDiscovery process at a user’s fingertips with no long-term commitment. Users can process, interact with, review and produce their Electronically Stored Information (ESI) from their eDiscovery projects 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Cloud, Security & Marketing
Back in 2016, Oracle CEO Mark V Hurd told reporters that by 2025, 80% of all IT budgets will be spent on cloud, and that almost all new applications will be on SaaS (Software as a Service) platforms. Vendors at #LegalTech2018 are already embracing the cloud today showcasing user friendly and secure cloud-based platforms for records management, legal operations and contracts management including the writing and management of the contracts.  Relativity announced new features of transcript support and active learning workflow available in their SaaS eDiscovery platform showing that there is an uptick in the use of artificial intelligence. What are you doing to embrace the cloud?
Sessions were available for marketing teams and executives to learn more about promoting and marketing their firm with focus discussion on finding your niche, taking a diversified approach to search engine marketing strategies to improve search rankings and how to have a better understanding of your target market. It was recommended to keep your website simple and clean with high quality interesting content and to follow the data!

Organizing data, discovering the truth and the pursuit of just outcomes are core to the business of law. Technology is driving changes as to how quickly and efficiently this can be accomplished. What technology are you implementing today to help?

#icanhelpbringyourdatatolife

How is Your Firm Getting Into the Solution?

Sheryne Glicksman
 Jan 12, 2018

In Q4 of 2017, we surveyed 179 IT decision-makers within the indirect channels for office equipment deployed across the United States. Respondents included office equipment dealers (OED) and IT resellers. For this survey, we used revenue ranges to define the size of establishment. Those with annual revenue of less than $10 million were grouped as small OED and IT Resellers while large OED and IT resellers have revenues of at least $10 million.

It’s Time to Get Inside the Solution
Software is on average only 11% of total revenues. As you can see from the chart below, software is a higher percentage of sales among the large IT resellers (17% of total revenue). What can you do to increase your software revenues? Based on our last two dealer surveys, we know that solutions selling has been a growth priority for dealers in our channel for the past two years. So why is this number not increasing faster, and what are you doing differently this year to change your strategy? What’s working well for you, and what can you improve on? The software solutions that you market to your customers are the tools needed to effect change within an organization. It’s not about the name of the software solution. It’s all about how the software solution tool can help improve something that is challenging to your customer. What stories have you told to help your customers realize you understand their pain? How educated are your sales reps on how these tools help customers in specific ways?

Figure 1. What is the percentage of revenue for the following areas of your business?

Revenue Growth Areas

Workflow & business process solutions, managed IT services, security service and mobility were noted as the top four areas for revenue growth. Workflow and business process solutions are intended to help companies be more efficient and eliminate manual processes. Are you speaking to your customers about their frustrations around manual processes? The software tools available to eliminate these frustrations are the catalyst for change. Are you developing your own managed IT division or partnering with an expert in managed IT? When it comes to security, are you having discussions around security infrastructure, ransomware, and security around print behaviors? These discussions will certainly lead you down the path of making recommendations to alleviate your customers security challenges. Our forecasts show that mobile print is expected to grow to a $118 million-dollar business by 2020. How are you planning to capture some of this revenue?

Figure 2. What areas do you see the greatest opportunity for revenue growth in next 3 years?

Leverage Your Partners

How do you message your expertise to potential customers? What vertical markets have brought you success? If these are areas of growth for your establishment, how will you align sales and marketing efforts to reflect these new focus areas? What areas are part of your strategic initiatives this year? Technical sales support, more education and training, sales enablement and data analytic tools all ranked at some level of importance for our survey respondents. When it comes to sales enablement tools and data analytics, this got me thinking about all the tools each of you have access to in our channel ecosystem. Are you leveraging all the information in these tools? Bringing data to life is real. I believe we all want immediate insights into data that help drive business decisions. We want the data up to the minute, in real time, in motion. We also want it simple to understand so we can act on it. We can help you improve your software revenues. Contact me today for a complimentary executive briefing to discuss how #icanhelpbringyourdatatolife

At LabelExpo 2017 Workflow is Automated!

Pat McGrew
 Oct 3, 2017

Underpinning a very successful LabelExpo 2017 was talk workflow and talk of speed. This year in Brussels we saw not only new technology for label production and finishing running at higher speeds, but we saw a growing emphasis on the workflow that drives production, with echos of Industry 4.0 and the Internet of Things in the subtext of every press conference and every workflow demonstration.

Across the 9 halls and 679 exhibitors there was workflow specified on the signage, in the demonstrations, and most notably, in the Automation Arena, where the emphasis was on live demonstrations of automated conventional and digital label and packaging solutions from Cerm, Esko, Xeikon, MPS, Kocher + Beck, grafotronic, AVT, WLE and Matho. The Automation Arena demonstrations were supported by Avery Dennison, FlintGroup and Zeller + Gmelin for inks and substrates. As a bonus, the LabelExpo team took the time to build a great YouTube video which you can find here and should be on your playlist if you work in label production.

The AVT Booth at LabelExpo 2017

Across all of the halls it was clear that the equipment manufacturers of flexo and digital solutions recognize that the key to a successful customer is not only reliable, flexible production equipment, but a solid set of workflow solutions to guide their clients towards the fullest possible automation. Many hardware suppliers have partnered with CERM, which bills itself as the business management software for narrow web printers. Their solution, which begins at quoting and touches the required stops through to warehousing, shipping and invoicing has components for costing, data collection and a Web to print solution called Web4Labels.

As common as the speed story prevalent among the hardware vendors was a new emphasis on job acquisition. The web-to-print story was everywhere, on signage and in booth demonstrations, and not just for digital solutions. Many of the flexo solution vendors also have web-to-workflow solutions that open new product options for their customers.

Durst featured Workflow and Web-to-Print on their signage.

Many vendors were emphasizing their options for variable data and variable imaging as digital print solutions and hybrid solutions vocalize their value propositions that include making output personal or at least customized. The team from Chili Publish, seen below, fresh from their successful Print 17 stand in Chicago, indicated that they were having vibrant conversations with both existing clients and prospects as they look for solutions to create value in the print chain. In Chicago next year and Brussels in two years from now it is likely that more software solutions providers will set up stands to engage in this growing market opportunity.

The team from Chili Publish at Label Expo 2017!

Worthy of note was a kiosk (seen below) in the FlintGroup/Xeikon booth touching on a topic that needs more focus across the industry: how to sell these great digital solutions. The Xeikon aXelerate program is one of several seen on the floor that put the spotlight on helping label producers sell the value proposition of digitally-produced labels. There are myriad product offerings that leverage what digital can do easily, such as adding targeted messages, QR codes, and other technologies.

Xeikon had a great story around helping to sell digital!

One of those technologies is Augmented Reality, which was available in the SCREEN booth in partnership with Solimar Systems. SCREEN Europe worked with Solimar to enable a set of labels (seen below) that, when viewed with the Solimar App, runs a video showing the SCREEN workflow and print story for labels. It was a great way to allow an attendee to carry a demo with them, though the signage in the booth missed the opportunity to spotlight this unique demonstration.

From productivity suites to job journeys, the emphasis on using workflow to a competitive advantage was clear in every hall. For any label producer who has not yet investigate web-to-print options and automated workflow options, this show is the clear indicator that this is the time to invest to stay competitive.

If you are wondering how you can stay competitive, consider spending some time in our report store (http://store.infotrendsresearch.com/ ) or engaging with us in the Production Workflow Service. We go to the shows and conferences, study the market, and do deep dives into the technology so that we can provide the best advice and guidance to our clients. We are standing by to help you on your path to automation.

 

 

If you have stories to share reach out to me! @PatMcGrew on Twitter, on LinkedIn, or Pat.McGrew@KeypointIntelligence.com all reach me. For more information on how to gain access to our research, market sizing & forecasts, or how to subscribe to our Production Workflow or other services, contact Deanna Flanick today at deanna.flanick@buyerslab.com!

HP Announces New PageWide Devices, Workflow Scanners & Solution Services @ Reinvent – World Partner Forum 2017

Barbara Richards
 Sep 11, 2017

HP Reinvent World Partner Forum is a reinvention of their annual global partner conference bringing together 1400+ global partners, including channel partners and system integrators. At the event, HP announced several new products and solution services.

New PageWide Devices

HP announced several new contractual and transactional PageWide printers and MFPs rounding up their 2017 spring product launch portfolio. The new products range in speeds from 45ppm up to 80ppm in general office mode and will feature the same low cost per page, best in class energy efficiency and full enterprise capabilities as the Spring launch  of LaserJet products. http://client.keypointintelligence.com/bliQ/InfoCenter/Document/Item/b275b875-af12-461a-b78b-adeb4737eac6

The A3 launch will be supported by the Smart Device Services Ecosystem (SDS), an “Internet of Things” (IoT) solutions toolset that funnels information via the cloud from devices to service partners aiming to lower service cost and provide more device up-time. Product availability is scheduled for this fall.

Figure 1 – New HP PageWide Printers & MFPs

pagewidedifference

Workflow Scanners

HP also announced the latest ScanJet portfolio of single function scanners, comprised of a wide range of products. The device groupings consist of Small Work Team, Document Management (Workgroup), and Document Management (Departmental). The newly announced Flow 8500fn2 Digital Sender boasts a fast 100ppm scan speed; 10,000 page a day duty cycle and HP technology such as WebJetAdmin, FutureSmart, EveryPage and HP scan software.  In addition to the 8500 fn2 Digital Sender, HP announces the new Flow N9120 fn2 A3 scanner.  At 120ppm scanning speeds, this device is suited towards sophisticated departmental scan and capture environments with needs for more volume and large page/document sizes.

HP Solution Services

In addition to the new product announcements, HP is introducing new compatible solutions to capitalize on the trends of “mobile,” everything as a service, “smart” devices, and security.   According to HP, their portfolio of new solution services will “reinvent the power of print” aimed at addressing customer’s path of work. With this in mind, HP announced several new innovations at Reinvent World Partner Forum 2017.

Figure 2 – New HP Solution Services

HPSolutionServices

Read more »

How effective is your MPS program?

Sheryne Glicksman
 Aug 4, 2017

On a recent webinar, it was stated that 65% of total cost for an MPS program is associated with consumables and supplies. This can be as high as 75% when we consider the A4 conversion going on. Business firms that offer MPS to their customers must continue to focus on this area to improve their MPS programs.

There are many variables that stack up to make an effective MPS program for your customers. One of the variables is associated with shipping consumables. Customers don’t want to stock extra supplies and you don’t want to ship too many supplies, so how we do find the happy medium? First, it’s important for customers to know that they don’t need to replace the toner cartridge the minute it says running low. Are your reps and specialists speaking to customers about your process for shipping toner and why they don’t need to duplicate efforts? Have you invested in dedicated staff to track toner usage and help proactively manage the program? Do you have any kind of system alerts, such as email notifications to customers, before the toner ships? One of the things you can do is make sure your sales reps can easily explain your MPS program to your customers including the importance of managing the supplies.

Another trend we are seeing is the potential growth of inkjet. According to a recent KeyPoint Intelligence study, 2017 was the year that inkjet in the office is expanding. Epson, Canon, HP and Brother continued making investments in business class inkjet and Riso launched the first high speed (120 ppm) inkjet for the office market. How does your MPS program handle inkjet? What are your plans to proactively consider the growth here to incorporate it into your program? How will you track it? As you can see in the chart below, Inkjet serialized segment 3 forecast the highest growth in the next several years.

Business Inkjet vs Laser: 2016 – 2021  North America Placements Forecast

Pic 3

 

We’ve heard the term “Everything as a Service” associated with the future of Managed Print Services. Let’s also consider “Print as a Service”. In a recent study, we found that vendors will intensify efforts to increase user loyalty by offering various plans to add service components to supplies. MPS is well-penetrated in large organizations, but it has not had the same success in SMB. OEM’s are looking for the right formula to convert SMB’s from transitional to a contract sale or a subscription type program. Other plans, such as fleet supplies, auto-order or individual device re-order will continue to be analyzed and developed.

Fleet optimization is another variable to look at. Talk to your customers about how you can help them design solutions around their workflow during your quarterly business reviews. Most dealers successful in the MPS world are adjusting or making tweaks along the way that help customer’s control their costs in printing. A simple thing like swapping one device for another one based on volume, removing the costliest devices and shifting pages to workgroup printers are all good examples of fleet optimization and right-sizing of the fleet conversations you should be having on a regular basis.

Are you using tools that can help track page yields per cartridge, volume per machines and end-user printing? By adding advanced behavior modification software, you can help drive down costs of printing by 20% or more. Simply by having tools to indicate where to send print job based on the specific job is one way this type of software can help. It can also eliminate printing and with the savings from not printing, you can help your customers use these dollars in process automation tools for their business workflow.

Currently digital tools like email are most likely replacing print though many other options exist with document collaboration tools and business process automation. Does your firm have a paper reduction policy? If so, what resources and tools are being used? How are you marketing this to help your customers? Are you considering factors such as security in printing?

Paper Reduction Policies in SMB’s and Enterprises

Picture 8

The dealers who intensify efforts to increase user loyalty by offering various plans to add service components to their supplies, move into subscription programs such as “everything as a service” and offer security services will continue to be on the leading edge of MPS.

The future of MPS is today and beyond.

Epson Announces Partnership with Nuance and showcases new products at “Prism of Possibilities” NYC Event

Barbara Richards
 Jul 27, 2017

epsonlogo nuancelogo

Epson and Nuance form Strategic Partnership

On July 25th, Nuance Communications, Inc., and Seiko Epson Corporation announced a worldwide strategic partnership to enhance the Epson customer experience by providing Nuance document imaging solutions through Epson distributors and resellers. According to Epson, this new partnership brings together the low running costs, reduced intervention and environmental impact as well as the high reliability of their printers, with the ability to securely control and manage print and capture to enhance productivity, while reducing operating expenses for their customers. 

Under the new partnership, Epson will sell and distribute Nuance eCopy ShareScan and Equitrac Office/Express software on their family of inkjet MFPs including the high-speed WorkForce Enterprise WF-C20590 (launched in Spring 2017)http://client.keypointintelligence.com/bliQ/InfoCenter/Document/Item/52413605-84e7-47cd-9f6a-a5e10fb45b1d and LX -10000/7000 series of linehead technology for SMB and corporate workgroups.

In addition, Epson will also integrate the Nuance Omnipage SDK and Epson scanning applications for better OCR accuracy within document workflows and will bundle Nuance’s Power PDF software with a select line of Epson document scanners.

Nuance Solutions to be made available to Epson include:

Epson products Nuance products Nuance products Nuance products
WorkForce Enterprise/Pro Printers Equitrac Office Express Equitrac Express eCopy ShareScan
Document Scanners OmniPage Capture SDK PowerPDF

New DS-410 Document Scanner

At the event, Epson also announced a new commercial document scanner, the DS-410, complete with a 50-sheet automatic document feeder, duplex scanning and 26ppm/52 ipm scan speeds. It offers support for ISIS and TWAIN drivers for seamless integration into most document management software along with a three year limited warranty. According to Mark Pickard, Senior Product Manager of Scanners, the DS-410 is ideal for environments that require a fast and flexible document scanning solution that provides paper-intensive businesses an affordable solution to save, store and protect critical documents. The DS-410 is available today through select resellers and distributors nationwide at a MSRP of $379.

Figure 1- Epson DS-410 Document Scanner

EpsonDS410

 

In addition to the new scanner and partnership announcement, Epson also showcased products from their commercial and enterprise divisions as well as new wearable technologies that will be available later this year.

 

Read more »

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