Whether you are a manager looking to improve your employees’ output or a small business owner in pursuit of reliable printing workflows that will save you time and money, automated printing is a valuable asset to your business. In this article, you will learn what automated printing is, what its potential benefits are to your business, and how the process works.
What is automated printing?
It is the process of optimizing the print infrastructure of your business to ensure efficiency. Employees’ usage of printers is taken into account, and the availability of devices and the company’s printing requirements across a given time frame. These factors are then assembled into a system intending to improve security, maximize productivity, and minimize unnecessary use of printing resources, space, or time.
Employee records, transaction receipts, and company books are usually confidential. It is not ideal to have such documents fall into the hands of competitors. In other instances, like with lawyers, failing to secure access to documents can lead to legal liability and litigation.
Your print infrastructure could be a vulnerable point that may get targeted by business espionage or competitive sabotage. With an unmonitored, loose print infrastructure, copies of documents can be made without the proper authorization. This is where automated printing can be of immense value. You are not only automating your printing mechanism, but you are also building automated security protocols into it.
One of the major reasons that businesses opt for print automation is that the money they save by averting losses and potential litigation, by securing their office printing, is worth more than the investment in a standard automated printing service.
Would you rather have your paid employees write documents with a quill and an ink bottle when you have software like Microsoft Word in your office? Most businesses opt for software that helps employees produce a larger output in a shorter amount of time. This is mainly because employees are paid by the hour and, self-evidently, the more they deliver in an hour the better it is for your bottom line.
It might seem antiquated, but the analogy of a quill and ink is apt for businesses that continue to use manual printing systems after the availability of automated printing. If your printing workflow is automated with software, the relevant employees and managers can use the time they save to serve your business on other fronts. This is one way to improve the key performance indicators (KPIs) for your team.
It is possible to automate the layout of documents, schedule of printing, and even the analysis of data on scanned and digitized sheets. Not only would such tools help save time, but it would also help reduce printer-side gossip and time wasted in queues. The intangible benefits of reducing such discourse include a positive work environment, a productivity-oriented team, and an emphasis on efficiency.
Minimizing unnecessary use of resources.
Over 3 million pages of printed paper go to waste every day because of improper printing. This does not account for the quantity of ink that gets discarded with mismanaged printing operations. While these statistics are for the overall economy of the United States, they reflect the bottomless pit of resource wastage your business might be open to in the absence of automated printing.
With automated printing, you reduce the chances of human error and the effects of human inefficiency. On average, this can reduce printing costs by thirteen percent across the year.
Going forward with automated printing.
If you have chosen to automate your print workflow for your office, it is essential to understand the process so you can make an educated decision regarding the service provider you select for this project. Usually, automated printing can be broken down into four chief components that are executed in a specific order to produce the right workflow structure. These stages are: analyzing the current process, looking into system security, producing a comprehensive report, and implementing the changes.
Analyzing the current process.
Any changes you make to a process should be driven by a goal. The goal in this instance is to maximize productivity. That is why it is important to analyze the current workflow with a single guiding question: how can this be made more efficient with automation? If you are not using such a guiding question, you may end up with a technology upgrade without a productivity difference. Such a change for the sake of change is not what most small business owners seek.
As mentioned earlier, software and tools exist to make room for automated layouts, scheduled printing, and even faxing or emailing documents. The analysis informs you regarding what parts of your current printing workflow are best automated.
Looking into system security.
At this stage, you should be looking at your document security. Do you have a WiFi printer that can be remotely hacked? Do your scanned documents all get mailed to a central email which could be broken into?
One luxury that is afforded by automated printing is that you can also automate security protocols that help keep your documents safe and workflow secure. Moreover, you can compartmentalize data access so that a hierarchy of trust is implemented on a need-to-access basis with different employees. This secures your business against internal sabotage as much as it shields the office from external security threats.
Producing a comprehensive report.
It is important to be detail-oriented at this stage. The report you generate guides the changes that are to be implemented while setting up your automated printing system. You can compile your current reporting metrics and add what you have learned at the earlier stages to propose the exact changes to bring into effect.
Implementing the changes.
This is the last stage where all the required hardware and software changes are made. Whether it is purchasing specific software that helps the marketing department with their newsletters or getting a dedicated printer for the accountant so that other employees do not have access to the company books, the changes are built into an automated system.
Use a professional.
By now, it is evident that automated printing is not only the smarter choice for your office but is also the way forward for most businesses. You can put together an automated printing workflow, but it is advisable to hire a professional automated printing service to help with all the stages from analyzing the current system and security to reporting and implementing the changes.
All in all, you can save your employees’ time by having software execute tasks for which human intervention is no longer needed. This makes room in your team’s schedule to focus on other KPIs and brings about a positive boost in productivity and the security of your documents. To introduce an automated printing workflow into your office, use a professional service that analyses the current workflow, and looks for vulnerabilities in the current system. The professionals will also detail their findings in a report which they will use to set up your automated printing workflow.