How right software can improve your business operation
In today’s cut-throat market, it’s often the extra things that reap the biggest reward. This holds true in the signage market, especially when it comes to investing in new solutions for your business. Sarit Tichon, Senior VP, WW Sales, SAi, explains how, when looking at your next software investment, it’s worth considering what other added-value aspects your provider is offering as part of their larger proposition.
Speaking from a software perspective, Sarit Tichon encourages everyone to explore exactly what your solution provider grants in terms of all-round benefits in addition to the speed or basic capabilities of RIP. The foremost suppliers are already injecting plenty of flexibility into their offering in so far as how you can access and pay for the software, not to mention the ever-increasing gamut of features, tools and bolt-on packages designed to improve the efficiency of your design-to-production workflow.
A matter of time
Even in a favourable market, running a print shop or a signmaking business is not possible without its challenges. With traditional print shops competing with online platforms, the perpetual expectation from customers to have their job produced faster and cheaper continues to be a constant concern. If you are one of these time-strapped providers, the good news is that certain software suppliers have revolutionised their solutions to improve your efficiency and support you getting jobs out of the door quickly.
In a world where business owners have become reliant on accessing information 24×7, it’s worth remembering that more and more work is undertaken remotely. This means it’s crucial for managers to be able to track the progress of jobs while on the road. In this, a cloud-enabled RIP software may be the ideal choice. “While we’re talking about productivity, it’s fair to say that a number of sign shops today are probably unaware of how their true production output is trending month-to-month. Hopefully you’re not one of them; if so, certain mobile apps generate detailed production reports, allowing you to draw direct comparisons, either weekly, monthly or annually and determine whether your throughput is increasing or decreasing,” says Sarit.
She points out that Flexi Cloud mobile app offers business owners on-the-go access to valuable production information and job reports. This ensures they can make informed decisions and pinpoint areas that could help them improve throughput, without being rooted to the print shop. These efficiencies aren’t restricted to business owners. Print shop employees can also benefit from these time-saving tools.
Tasked with creating custom quotes while visiting customers, employees traditionally need to check with the print shop before informing the customer – a typically time-consuming process. However, there are now certain mobile apps that are engineered to overcome this troublesome quoting process, while minimising overall job production time – from set-up to completion. This ensures that print shops can maximise their throughput and improve efficiencies.
“It’s worth remembering that you can now buy software via alternative methods to the traditional purchasing model. Perhaps you’re a small, family-owned business that lends itself to a monthly subscription payment plan – a cost-effective alternative to a major capital investment. Purchasing software in this way is a huge benefit as it gives you instant access to the very latest features, ensuring that your business remains competitive,” explains Sarit.
She continues, “This purchasing initiative overcomes the age-old uncertainty of the level and type of work that will come through the door. Aside from consulting a crystal ball, you can now manage seasonal demands or quitter periods more easily. During busy periods, you have the option to add extra licenses to mirror the demand. This ensures that you can keep their operational cost to a minimum while taking on last minute jobs and responding to new opportunities.”
Enhancing all from design to production
Design stage is often time-intensive, and it is difficult to pass the cost to your customers which can erode your profit margin. Certain software providers offer innovative design solutions that eliminate this costly burden. “I would encourage you to check out those that might offer useful, time-saving stock libraries comprising images, graphics and logos,” suggests Sarit.
In addition, there are other design efficiencies to be had using emerging technologies and the foremost providers are exploring how to harness these innovations to improve traditional printing processes. One of the technologies dominating the headlines is AI (Artificial Intelligence). This has the potential to unleash new possibilities within the large-format printing market. It could inspire designers with suggestions, including best practice fonts, images and layouts, reducing the time spent at the design phase. This brings with it the ability to secure attractive profit margins.
Sarit conclusively mentions that technology is such that the industry is undergoing a three-year research project with leading research institution, Oxford University, to develop an AI-assisted software solution – the first-of-its-kind for the sign industry. Next time when you’re looking to invest in a provider, check out those companies which continue to collaborate with their customers to offer all-round value-added offerings that address all your needs head on.