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Business Opportunities

Workflow software

A critical product for many print service providers, but how can it help your business to grow? We take a closer look at workflow software and examine some of the latest developments

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A profitable road

There is no overstating the impact software has had on the print industry. Whether you are installing a new management information system to oversee production, or a new design solution to begin offering a new product, the right software can offer untold benefits to print service providers (PSPs).

One of the stand-out solutions in recent years has been workflow software, with products in this area helping ease and streamline production for businesses of all sizes. Here, we take a look at some of the latest offerings in this area of the market.

Seeking ROI

Up first, Solimar Systems offers a range of software products to the industry. Jamie Walsh, sales manager for EMEA and APAC at Solimar, says when investing in a new system, PSPs should look for return on investment (ROI).

Jamie Walsh, sales manager for EMEA and APAC at Solimar Systems

“It is most important to understand your environment, what you are trying to achieve and what would provide the most benefits to your people and processes,” Walsh says, adding: “Consider how those expectations can be aligned and fulfilled with software solutions. Solimar Systems advocates that workflow software should be modular and configurable with the ability for users to quickly learn, configure, run, and manage the system themselves.

“With labour and materials still a significant concern for print and digital delivery providers, workflow software should automate common tasks, optimise production inputs, visibility, and auditability. We help our customers get completed products in the hands of their customers faster.

“Finally, these capabilities should be supported by quick and knowledgeable support. When you are looking for quality workflow software, be sure to ask about customer successes and support examples. Plan to take some time to determine how those align with your current business.”

A modular software workflow provider, Walsh explains the way Solimar’s Chemistry platform offers a range of solutions, from PDF optimisation with ReadyPDF Prepress Server to Rubika for structured content reengineering to visibility tracking dashboards and print management with SOLitrack, and archive offerings with SOLsearcher Enterprise.

“Over 2022, Chemistry enhancements provided customers outstanding ROI results,” Walsh says, adding: “Evidence of this is with our recent success with government in-plant printing organisation, State of Colorado Integrated Document Solutions, which has onboarded many of these new features in PDF optimisation and a full tracking and reporting dashboard with online proof, approval, and suppression per job and mail piece.”

Quality and consistency

Next, Omran Anwar, technical support manager at solutions provider SOS, says workflow software is becoming increasingly important to the modern printer, partly due to staffing issues associated with Covid-19 and Brexit.

Omran Anwar, technical support manager at SOS

“An efficient workflow automates pre-press tasks to provide more reliable quality and greater consistency of output,” Anwar says, adding: “It greatly reduces the potential for error, not only by taking out the human element for some processes, but enabling better diagnostics and error correction where problems occur. Efficient workflow speeds up turnround times, increases productivity, and reduces waste.

Efficient workflow speeds up turnround times, increases productivity, and reduces waste

“Because of the ubiquity of Adobe systems in the creative chain, software which utilises the Adobe APPE engine is highly beneficial to ensure that each file can be reliably processed without error.

“A good workflow will include trapping, imposition, and pre-flight, and because modern printers are likely to run a variety of equipment from flatbed and digital to litho and proofing machines, it should be able to output to many devices and offer consistent colour matching with only one RIP process.”

SOS is the only provider that offers Kodak’s Prinergy Evo workflow on a subscription basis, with prices starting at £288 per month. For this, Anwar says it is ideal for PSPs that want to upgrade and improve upon their current workflow, or take the plunge into automated pre-press systems for the first time, without breaking the bank.

“Prinergy Evo includes a huge range of features such as vector PDF or TIFF output, CIP3, batch trapping, advanced pre-flight, workflow templates, and much more,” Anwar says.

Biggest benefit

Elsewhere, Esko also has a range of options on offer in terms of workflow software. Jan De Roeck, director of marketing, industry relations and strategy at Esko, says that pressure on margins induced by the energy crisis, material shortages, and labour and skills deficits, is the most significant challenge for businesses today, and workflow software can help.