Production printing in an office environment involves managing a lot of background operational tasks. Customers are quoted estimates based on project costs, materials are staged, the job is quality and formatting, then printing is scheduled. This all needs to be done within deadlines and under budget. When orders pile up, managing printers gets overwhelming fast.
Any small mistake in this process costs the company money and resources, and these expenses only get amplified when using wide-format printers. This is where workflow solutions come into play.
Workflow solutions form the foundation of office automation. These applications standardize predictable and repeatable workplace activities to create “workflows.” Once you have each step of a procedure standardized, it’s much easier to break it down into an assembly line process. These workflows can then be inserted into the original print job to ensure nothing goes awry. Here’s a quick breakdown of how it works.
Workflow Solutions for Production Printing
Regardless of whether you’re using a local or network office printer, when you press print, quite a few background tasks take place before the computer sends the request to the printer queue. First, the computer creates a print task. Then it checks to see if any workflow app is associated with that production printer. If so, the print workflow app launches in the background.
The print workflow app has full read/write access to both the XML document controlling the production print settings and the XPS content being printed. This makes it a valuable tool that reroutes print tasks into your own customized document workflow.
Once the print is placed into a production workflow, it’s possible to use optical character recognition (OCR) to check text for typos and formatting. Images can be scanned for correct CMYK settings. This isn’t always noticed on an RGB screen. Any ticket that doesn’t pass all the required elements is then automatically sorted into a work queue as an exception.
This is the rudimentary foundation, and the UI can be formatted in any way necessary to work with your proprietary systems. When scaling to large-volume production printing, workflow solutions form the backbone.
Workflow Solutions for Wide-Format Office Printers
Wide-format printers work a lot different than a normal printer. For example, they use spools to feed the paper/print medium, as opposed to single sheets. Your office printer has multiple paper trays, so it’s easy to store different sizes of paper to accommodate print jobs in standard sizes like 8.5 x 11 inches letter (or A4 outside North America) and 8.5 x 14 legal.
In large office print jobs, two factors should always be on point:
1. Print Medium Size
Once you deviate from these sizes, changing spool sizes on large-format printers is typically done manually. This is a process that needs to be carefully monitored. In addition, wide-format printing uses a variety of materials, from different paper weights to cloth, Creoplast, and other polymers. A manufacturing company printing black-and-white blueprints has different needs than an advertising agency creating trade show and event banners.
2. Source File Size
You must also worry about scaling issues in large format. Files need to meet minimum resolution requirements to scale large with any clarity. These problems need to be addressed in addition to color correction and other normal office printer issues. Wide-format printers often have the capability to print small-scale jobs, but you should already have a workhorse laser printer for standard sizes. These jobs should be rerouted to the proper printer.
The settings on your wide-format printer need to match the computer settings, or things can get catastrophic quick. Workflow solutions single out each individual wide-format printer to run initial checks and ensure there are no kinks before a job prints. Used effectively, this workflow process can improve quality and reduce costs at lean Six Sigma levels of efficiency.
Finding the Right Solutions for Your Needs
Workflow solutions for production print are available to service any type of business. Today’s cloud-based digital environment means businesses need to print fast from a wide range of sources. Whether you’re already using a wide-format printer or looking for ways to integrate one into your existing infrastructure, we have the capability.
Xerox and Konica Minolta already make high-quality, wide-format production printers. We’ve worked with these machines for over 60 years, and our consultants know how to keep them running at their best.
If you’re considering adding a wide-format printer to your office, contact us today to find out how to save money and get the highest ROI.