Cutting Costs with a Smart Workflow


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Cutting Costs with a Smart Workflow

By Noel Ward, Editor@Large

We print everything from business cards to flyers to stickers to banners to signage,” relates Chad Sims, CEO and co-founder of Prima Printing in Atlanta, Georgia, a shop that runs about 250 jobs each day. “We print most jobs the day they come in, making tight turnarounds the norm for our 35 employees.”

That daily workload translates into some 4,500 orders per month with an average price of $150. With that volume, written job tickets and a folder on the company’s file server were not up to the challenge. Seeing automation as essential, Sims went shopping. He found PressWise software from SmartSoft an ideal fit for his Hewlett-Packard Indigo and other presses. “We were able to cut labor costs immediately. Orders from our e-commerce site went directly into PressWise and to our presses,” recounts Sims. “The savings in time, labor, and stress have been enormous.”

As Sims found out, PressWise differs from other automation tools because it was created by a printer who knew first-hand just how rigorous and demanding the day-to-day workflow of a busy shop could be. Now empowered with a Software as a Service (SaaS) strategy, PressWise has become a powerful team member for shops like Prima where non-stop workflows make every job a rush. PressWise was developed to streamline processes in a shop like Prima, that was hip-deep in HP Indigo presses. Even though the processes and workflows used for Prima’s Indigo, Presstek, and wide-format presses differ significantly, PressWise delivers files to all the company’s machines, thanks to advances in features that help streamline jobs headed to different devices.

A major value-laden surprise was how PressWise’s SaaS capabilities became more apparent and valuable as Prima faced down Covid restrictions and limitations, a time of challenges for many print providers. “PressWise made working remotely a reality and we continue to have remote workers,” notes Sims. “It’s easy to do this because PressWise is in the cloud rather than on our own servers.” At Prima, built-in or custom modules of PressWise simplified and automated job estimating, workflow, and print MIS, much of which can be done remotely. Even on-site work, such as shipping and mail preparation, were streamlined at a time when less automation made maintaining productivity a challenge for other print shops.

Today, the cloud-based nature of PressWise is especially important at Prima because its capabilities provide fewer reasons for some employees to be present every day. For example, job receipt and final estimating can be done from almost anywhere and the MIS that drives each job forward can be used by onsite and remote employees. This helps make the business more efficient while fostering better communications and use of employees’ skills.

Many print providers have voiced reluctance to adopt a new print MIS and associated workflows. Such resistance often stems from employees who are comfortable with established processes and apprehensive about the perceived and real challenges of learning and adopting new software and the processes that go with it. “A big challenge was getting our team to trust PressWise and embrace its capabilities,” recounts Sims. “Tied to this, people were worried about job security, keeping track of jobs without a physical spec sheet, and concerns about files with bleeds, colors, and binding specified incorrectly,” recounts Sims.

These normal concerns can be addressed with training and by working with a supplier that understands the challenges businesses and employees may face. “Whenever we’ve thought PressWise fell short, SmartSoft helped provide patches and fixes,” said Sims. “Even when something has been customized specifically for Prima, SmartSoft worked with our developers to help them understand the best ways of making our ideas work. We’ve had a great working relationship with SmartSoft.”

Sims emphasizes that advance employee training and proper initial setup of software are vital parts of utilizing PressWise to its fullest advantage. “It took time to develop the trust required. The more time you invest in the planning and initial setup phases, the easier training and implementation becomes. Today, it’s like our bible.”

In a time when many print providers regularly switch equipment and even some software, Prima has held fast to PressWise since it first reached the market some 12 years ago. The reliability of upgrades, ongoing support and its consistently reliable performance has made it a compelling fit for the company. Print jobs have been completed faster, more efficiently, and overall throughput has increased. As any print provider will attest, those are good things for any print business.
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