The digital workflow: throughout a job, digital adopters make changes to tackle a new set of challenges.

Author:Smith, Steve
Position:DIGITAL Printing

As any label converter who has adopted digital technology can tell you, the printing component is often the easiest part of the transition. Sure. the technology differences are substantial and will require sonic serious effort to properly integrate--but once the actual printing process is understood it quickly becomes second nature. which is to be expected when you consider that the end result is still printed labels (something you're already familiar with).

However, what often surprises digital adopters is the substantial change in the way the "other" components of their business are affected. Almost everything involved in the process between taking orders and shipping finished product can be quite different in the typical digital environment.



The order taking process of course starts with the estimating function, and, by nature, digital technology encourages (and deserves) a significant shift in thinking. Sales folks (and customers as we II should be educated into a different mindset. based on the simple concept of "versioning."

A customer will typically be better served (and almost invariably happier) if they're made aware of the cost savings and branding options now available to them. Contrary to the traditional approach which encouraged customers to minimize colors and plate changes for cost reasons, they can now run amok and order multiple distinct designs with minimal (if any) extra cost.This can have a significant impact on the estimating process--a salesperson needs to understand when versioning might be appropriate, when to suggest that a customer might benefit from minor art adjustments to make more cost-effective use of "ganging," and of course their estimating system needs to deal with this as a normal part of everyday life.

Further, once an estimate is prepared and the customer decides to proceed with an order, the process needs to be flexible enough to deal with frequent changes in direction. It's very common for a customer to request an estimate for 10 versions totaling 25,000 labels (for example), only to change their mind once they get into the artwork phase. Such changes can affect the number of versions and/or quantities and often occur several times before the final order is ready for production. So, unless you opt to create new estimates every time something changes (a ridiculous waste of time), system flexibility and secure data control are paramount in ensuring that the appropriate...

To continue reading