Five Hidden Inefficiencies That Could Be Affecting Your LFP Workflow

To remove the inefficiencies in the wide-format print workflow, sometimes all print shops need to do is to look at their existing setup and question the norm...

Is your RIP centralized? Are you working from two different operating systems? Are your colour management tools creating inconsistencies across devices?

To remove the inefficiencies in the wide-format print workflow, sometimes all print shops need to do is to look at their existing setup and question the norm. By just accepting the default setup of their workflow, operators could be missing out on valuable time, media and ink savings.  Here we look at five issues that contribute to ‘inefficiency by default’ and how to overcome them.

1. Not using a RIP of choice

RIP software is central to the efficiency of the entire wide-format workflow. However, many operations are not running software suited to their existing workflow and device setup.

When purchasing a new device print shop operators often rely on the software dictated by distributor organizations or deals that technology providers have struck with OEMs, rather than considering RIPs or software that would complement their current workflow.

2. Relying on multiple RIPs

Wide-format print shop operators can often be running their workflows using a different RIP for each device. This creates a major bottleneck in the production process, requiring operators to switch between RIPs to send jobs to different devices and creating inconsistencies when reproducing the job on different printers.

Rather than wasting time switching between RIPs and revisiting job preparation when reproducing jobs on different devices, a centralized RIP supports printers ‘out of the box’. It also gives operators the freedom to work remotely and control all devices from a single dashboard.

3. Mac or PC?

Despite the gap between Windows and macOS usage closing over the last few years, there are still workflow technologies that do not run efficiently across these two major operating systems. In some cases, operators will purchase new devices with a different OS in order to support the system requirements of their workflow software, rather than questioning the system compatibility of the software itself.

In this day and age, purchasing a new device to support workflow software should no longer be necessary. A workflow solution should support a print shop’s preferred operating system, rather than vice-versa, all the while providing identical functionality and running smoothly across both operating systems.

4. Poor color management

Effective color management requires each printer to produce the same results within set parameters. If printer settings are inconsistent, color management can become guesswork with operators required to check each individual job and tweak color profiles across devices. This not only wastes valuable time, but can also lead to inconsistent color reproduction and results that do not meet brand or print standards.

Furthermore, inconsistent color reproduction could be costing operators greater efficiency gains; effective and consistent color management is the first step supporting longer term ambitions of automated workflows.

5. Disjointed workflow systems

Where print shops have taken a step towards maximizing their productivity and profitability by deploying cloud-based automation, there is a tendency to cherry pick the processes they entrust to the cloud. They may invest in management information systems (MIS) or enterprise resource planning modules (ERP) to automate procedures for estimating, booking and production.

While this is an important step in streamlining the LFP workflow, these MIS and ERP modules don’t always integrate with RIPs or sit seamlessly alongside workflow technologies. This can actually create greater inefficiencies through disjointed file processing and delivery.

The most sophisticated systems now offer powerful linking tools to integrate MIS, ERPs and RIPs into the workflow system, delivering end to end file processing and delivery of production data to ensure maximum efficiency from MIS to print.

Do these inefficiencies sound familiar?

We’re conducting a survey to uncover the hidden inefficiencies in wide-format print and are keen to hear about your experiences. It should take no more than five minutes to complete and you’ll be entered into a prize draw to win a $75 Amazon gift card.

You can enter our survey by clicking here.

To find out more about the technologies that help your print shop overcome inefficiency by default, visit us on booth 4942 at ISA Sign Expo 2018 between March 22-24 in Orlando, Florida