It is possible to have a single integrated workflow that moves seamlessly from customer order all the way through accounting and reporting. A great place to focus your improvement efforts is around staff productivity. It is not as hard as you might think. But, it takes the right attitude and approach.
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7 tips for increasing staff productivity to improve your workflow.
1. Start with the ordering process.
Think about the number of phone calls needed to get the simple customer order information. Work with your team to find ways to capture it every time at point of entry from the customer. Automate easier service with items like tweaking your online ordering process. Relieve staff of redundant issues.
2. Consider your prep team.
Pre-press and scheduling consume too much shop time. Integrate your tools into the overall flow. Auto move orders to this team as soon as they are received with all of the information they need. Ensure tools are there to do all the basic pre-flight checks with minimal human interaction.
3. Send to the proper machine queues.
It should only take a click or two for the prep and schedule team to put the order in the proper queue. Automate imposition, machine settings, and layouts with a single tool or integrated tool set. Enable your workflow to handle repetitive decisions without operator intervention. Most orders should just start printing when the press finishes the last order.
4. Reduce software.
Every piece of software you use must be integrated, kept updated, and continually tested for application congruency. Use as few software packages as possible to get the job done with maximum efficiency for your team. Look for software that has adaptability and integration built into the design and flow.
5. Poll staff.
The production team knows best what helps and what hinders. Involve them in the decision process. Make sure you save them steps instead of creating more. Apply a lean mindset in all that you do.
Changes can create problems. Changes also create back pocket procedures. Confused staff will form alternatives to the plan in order to get their jobs done. Then you have unknown results and downstream disaster in the workflow. Give constant communication to keep the team on track. Automation should ease process and give you key controls to ensure your workflow follows the right order. Give constant communication to keep the team on track.
7. Review and Adjust.
Productivity requires constant tweaks, but not too often. Do a full process audit every 18 months with smaller audits quarterly, or when you have big changes like new equipment or a significant change in your product mix. Accumulate all of your suggestions from customers and team members and look at the whole with the pieces in hand.
Following these tips will allow you to maximize staff productivity. Your customers will love the predictability of using your services and your team will put more passion and excellence into their daily routines.
If your workflow solutions are not providing constant communication to keep your team on track or hone in on key production steps, contact us. We support all production print equipment.