Posts tagged: Workflow

The Messy Business of Job Onboarding

Pat McGrew
 Dec 20, 2016

The fifth item in the Workflow Quiz is where the business of making money begins. Up to now we’ve looked at processes and tracking, but now it’s time to take a critical look at what happens when a customer wants to place an order and you want to accept that order. In a sense we’re coming back to the beginning now that you’ve named all of the steps in the workflow and have a good idea of the paths that jobs take through your shop.


Onboarding is the set of processes the start when a customer places an order and ends when the job is in the production workflow. It includes acquisition of the final job specifications, print files, associated data and resource files, job ticketing, logging the job into the accounting system, establishing proofing requirements, defining delivery requirements, and defining the payment methods.


How many ways can a customer place an order with you? Are customers required to have a sales person, or is it possible for anyone to place an order over the phone, via fax or email, or using a web-to-print or web-to-order process? How the orders are received and verified drives many of the next steps.

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Who Owns Your Workflow?

Pat McGrew
 Sep 6, 2016

Clearly, the idea of documenting your workflow architecture and environment resonated with those who read the last installment. It is not surprising! We all know that every business process should be backed up with documentation, but it is easy push it down the priority list. Perhaps raising the visibility will help raise the priority!

The next item in the Workflow Quiz asked if there was an owner for your workflow process, and if you have an assigned owner, does that person have a named backup. It is an important question because without a named owner your workflow processes are at risk. In addition, without a backup, the risk only grows.

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Do You Have a Workflow?

Pat McGrew
 Jul 19, 2016

Most companies that have a printing operation believe that they have a workflow process. In-plant departments, packaging converters, direct mail providers, commercial printers, sign shops and transaction producers all know that to keep the business running they must identify each job, break it down into components, and track it through their organization until it is delivered to the end client. That makes the obvious answer to the question: Yes! Of course our company has a workflow. Jobs come in and they flow through the organization.

 What is Workflow?

The repeatable and auditable tasks, events, and processes used to consistently move work from job onboarding through to completion. Some or all tasks may be automated toward the goal of super-efficiency and predictability in production and supply chain management.

On closer inspection, however, what most organizations have is a series of processes that have grown over the years to mitigate bottlenecks as they arise. Whiteboards, spreadsheets projected on the wall, boards with sticky notes holding job information, flags and lights visible across the enterprise, and physical job jackets, emerge over time as teams look for ways to ensure that all of the stakeholders know the status of the jobs coming through the plant. While all of these processes serve a purpose, they rarely provide a consistent view of a slice of time because they are only tied together by the thinnest of strings and an agreement among the participants to keep the reporting current. What happens when a team member is on vacation or new team members are added? The process often suffers because new thought processes were added. New team members may have new ideas, even better ideas, on how to move work and report on progress. That begets change and evolution, but is it a workflow?

WorkflowLight2

Unless all of the processes are tied into a Read more »

HP Announces Software to Enhance Mobile Printing Experience

Allison Correia
 Jun 2, 2016

 

hp logo

Following the spring hardware updates, today HP announced a range of solutions and enhancements to their mobile printing and print analytics solutions strategies for business. HP is addressing IT needs and end user expectations with these new solutions that attend to security challenges, cost containment, deployment issues, and device lifecycle management that IT struggles with, while also addressing end user wants such as flexibility and device diversity. Read more »

Xerox Making MFPs Smarter with New Enhancements

Allison Correia
 Mar 11, 2016

Xerox ConnectKey User Interface

Yesterday, March 10th, Xerox announced advancements to its Xerox ConnectKey technology to expand what multifunction printers (MFPs) can do in the workplace. The Xerox ConnectKey-enabled i-Series MFPs are equipped with ready-to-use apps, speed up paper-dependent business processes and make it easier for users to collaborate and work more effectively. The technology also gives Xerox and its partners opportunities to better understand customer business needs and uncover new recurring revenue streams. Read more »

Xerox Announces Next Generation Workflow Automation Solutions and More

Allison Correia
 Nov 17, 2015

On November 16th, Xerox announced two new workflow automation solutions for the insurance industry and HR departments, updated versions of two of their platforms (Digital Alternatives and DocuShare), and new components of their MPS strategy for the channel.

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Print Service Provider Concerns about the ‘Cloud’

Jim Hamilton
 Jun 11, 2015

I spoke recently at a user group meeting composed largely of commercial printers when the topic of the ‘Cloud’ came up. I was a bit surprised to hear a very high level of suspicion. I asked the audience: “Who is excited about the opportunities presented by the Cloud.” Two hands went up. “Who’s not?” About half the audience raised their hands. Multiple questions were put forward about data security, possible integration issues, and overall viability. The bad vibes were much stronger than I anticipated.

It continued. The ‘Cloud’ was dismissed as a marketing buzzword. “It’s just a question of where the server resides,” said one attendee. Others were very skeptical about turning over their production data or any client data to a third party. Some said that their agreements with clients would not allow it. Another attendee told a horror story of a cloud service that became unavailable for two days because of a snowstorm and power outage on the East Coast. There was also concern that integrations that their companies had built on top of workflow software could stop working if software revisions were made to the cloud offering. Loss of control, concerns about expense, and cloud-based licensing issues were also key themes. One attendee described the cloud today as a “royal cluster of inconsistent services.” Wow.

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Interprint Digitally Prints Décor Paper with KBA’s RotaJET Technology

Ron Gilboa
 May 13, 2015

Interprint one of the world’s most prominent manufacturers of décor paper for the laminate industry has gone digital. In a press release dated May 5th 2015, the company stated their strategy to use digital printing technology to address the growing demand for shorter runs of décor paper used in the manufacturing process of decorative laminates used for furniture, cabinetry, kitchen counters, doors, and other woodworking applications. Interprint is using the marketing slogan “Hello World!” to introduce its clients to this investment in digital innovation, a KBA RotaJET with a print width of 1.68 meters capable of speed up to 150 meters per minute. This CMYK device is capable of producing over 3.7 million square meters per month (based on a speed of 150 meters per minute, a 1.68 meter width, 2 shifts a day, and 22 days a month operating at 70% productivity).

Interprint is using the slogan “Hello world!” to promote its new capabilities (Source: Interprint)

Interprint is using the slogan “Hello world!” to promote its new capabilities (Source: Interprint)

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Leading with Workflow – Canon-Océ Commercial Printing Business Days

Ralf Schlozer
 May 12, 2015

The importance of workflow and the matching software ecosystem has been frequently publicised and although not every user might have realised it yet, all production printing hardware vendors are strengthening their offerings in workflow and solutions nowadays. The importance of workflow is however in stark contrast with the lack of approaches in making the benefits of workflow visible in an exhibition or open house environment. Software remains intangible and while the benefit of some features can be calculated in time and money, for other features like customer satisfaction, error reduction, new services offerings and overall process efficiency calculating the exact value for a single business case is much harder.

Canon-Océ already organised several Commercial Printing Business Days, but for the event that took place in April 2015 the software portfolio was targeted to take centre stage. Presentations, workshops and customer testimonials focussed on workflow solutions. Canon-Océ invited users and prospects with interest in workflow solutions and had a total attendance of 550 visitors from around the globe at the three days of the event.

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Lexmark International Set to Acquire Kofax Ltd

Anne Valaitis
 Mar 25, 2015

 

 

In what seems to be shaping up as an exciting year in document and information technology, late yesterday it was announced that Lexmark International would seek to acquire Kofax Ltd for approximately $11 a share, or $1 billion. Upon news of the agreement, Kofax shares spiked 36%.  This is most certainly a disruptive move by Lexington, Kentucky-based Lexmark, and it positions them to be a “powerhouse” in intelligent capture and document processing while adding sophisticated platform capabilities for BPM.

Lexmark’s most recent acquisitions:

 

Lexmark’s acquisition spree kicked off in 2010, when the company acquired Kansas-based Perceptive Software (for a reported $280 million) with the goal of transitioning from a hardware-centric vendor to a solutions provider. Perceptive Software was a major provider of ECM software and solutions with specific strength in the higher education, healthcare and government sectors and its Image Now software platform offers a broad range of workflow solutions.

The marriage offered clear synergies for growth at a time when Lexmark’s revenue had slumped following the decline of the inkjet market.  Lexmark’s subsequent exit from the inkjet business reaffirmed the importance of new revenues streams. Lexmark, with its global infrastructure of direct & indirect channel for printing hardware, was an excellent fit for Perceptive with its advanced software solutions and vertical expertise. Both came from positions of strength in the medium sized business sector reaching up to the enterprise.

 

 

 

Irvine California-based Kofax provides a diverse set of software and platform solutions for information intensive customer interactions.  With $297 million in revenues reported in 2014, the company has direct sales operations in 30 countries and 850 channel partners working in 70 countries. Kofax has also made strategic acquisition investments in recent years.  In February 2013, Kofax acquired Altosoft to add business intelligence and analytics, then shortly after in July they acquired Kapow for data analytics. In September 2014, Kofax further strengthened its capabilities by obtaining Softpro GmbH for e-signature and fraud detection.
The combination of solutions from Lexmark (with Perceptive) and Kofax for sophisticated capture, intelligent routing, data mining/analytics and other key business processes creates a very strong and comprehensive portfolio.

“The acquisition of Kofax enhances our best-in-class offerings so our customers can capture, manage, access, and act upon their information more efficiently, and extends Lexmark into the high-growth smart process applications market,” said Paul Rooke, Lexmark chairman and chief executive officer. “Our customers will have a breadth of hardware and software solutions that connect their information silos and automate their business processes – enabling them to access the most relevant information at the moment they need it to drive business forward”.

“We believe joining forces with Lexmark benefits our customers, partners, employees and shareholders and the merger will build on Kofax’s rich history of continuous innovation,” said Reynolds C. Bish, chief executive officer, Kofax. “Our market-leading ability to simplify and transform the First Mile™ of customer engagement is a strong complement to Perceptive Software’s strength in managing information across silos. As a result, we’re excited about the future and working together to realize the full potential of this opportunity to the benefit of all stakeholders.”

 

The Kofax acquisition reflects Lexmark’s ever-growing emphasis on software (including enterprise content management, business process management, document output management, search, intelligent capture software, vertical-oriented solutions); other high value offerings like laser products and MPS; and creating synergies among all three. The Kofax pickup also provides Lexmark with strong end to end vertical industry solutions such as financial services, insurance and healthcare, thus providing a foothold in the entire document lifecycle.     This is a significant move for Lexmark into software, considering a short time ago they were primarily print focused. This industry will continue to change and transform rapidly away from printed pages, and towards flexible, sophisticated solutions designed to solve business problems.

 

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