By Juergen Krebs, Software Sales Manager, Ricoh Graphic Communications, Ricoh Europe
The book printing industry is no stranger to innovation. It has had to adapt from predictable, uniform, high volume runs to on demand, variable, short runs.

While the publishing model for the former made it easy for manual equipment and workflows to be optimised, the latter requires software that streamlines a complex order mix mostly comprising of small batches and runs of one.

Book and commercial printers need to be able to efficiently manage a variety of applications from brochures to textbooks, print formats for different types of bindings, materials, and layouts. They need to track different job submissions, manage a more extensive mix of printing presses, and keep the process error free. They need to transition from processing and fulfilling dozens of high volume orders to managing hundreds or thousands.

With traditional manual workflows these types of client orders are difficult to plan resources for. As a result, book and commercial printers are often left with a lack of materials or are losing money due to waste, which, with high paper prices, is expensive and unsustainable.

It is time to assess workflows and processes that streamline and automate these more specific client demands while also taking into account a greater complexity of layouts, materials, and formats. Finishing too is of vital importance of course, and the fact that most finishing vendors’ systems connect to workflows to show real time results makes investment decisions in this are central to production efficiency .

So let’s harness the benefits of choosing the right software solutions, which include:

Increased efficiency: By automating routine tasks manual labour and the time spent on each job can be significantly reduced. This automation allows more orders to be handled in less time, leading to increased productivity.
Improved workflow management: Automation delivers the ability to manage a large number of short run jobs and integrate with various sources that can streamline operations. This improvement can aid more effective workflow management and reduce bottlenecks.
Increased profitability: By reducing the number of setups and changeovers, automated book printing software can help increase throughput and enhance equipment utilisation. This reduction can lead to improved profitability.

Book and commercial printers facing the challenge of short run production should look for software that can achieve the level of automation necessary to streamline and scale operations to address the variety of complex client orders.

Important features to look for include:

Task automation: Automate routine tasks like grouping jobs, scheduling, prepress, and imposition to help eliminate workflow congestion and enhance profit margins.
Job handling: Allow a vast number of short run jobs of any kind by integrating with various sources like MIS, web to print, and prepress systems.
Enhanced scheduling: The software offers the flexibility to either automate the creation and distribution of batches or manually control the process, allowing for optimal workflow management.
Real time reporting: A real time comprehensive view of order components, job batches, printer scheduling dashboard, and physical location.
Customisable batch management: Allows jobs to be grouped based on specified criteria, such as document size, paper type, finishing, deadline, and more. Work can be easily managed and prioritised according to operational needs.

These and more are delivered by RICOH TotalFlow BatchBuilder™ digital book printing software solution. It also helps book manufacturers address today’s pressing challenges and achieve powerful automation.

It can enable operations to say yes to more short run orders and increase their capacity to compete. What could you say yes to?


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