10 opportunities to cut costs in Custom and On Demand manufacturing – Cost Saving 1: Orders

10 opportunities to cut costs in Custom and On Demand manufacturing – Cost Saving 1: Orders

Automate order processing – no staff from file to ready

There’s a good argument to split Cost Saving 1 into 2 parts, but then I would break my even 10. There are two distinct savings to be realised here, firstly order processing and secondly pre-press or image correction/processing. Often these are distinct groups of people and skills.

Regardless, it’s still surprising to me how many firms manually move files within their systems, run jobs and wrangle the order data on a daily basis to correct the files and the file data. Anything that gets in the way of order processing increases the risk that you will miss your Service Level Agreement (SLA) target and adds variable cost to each order.

So, cost reduction area 1 starts with fully automating order processing, and I mean fully. All the order data from Web to Print or Print MIS systems should be structured impeccably, fields real-time validated (including address validation), and any out-of-bounds values re-mapped and corrected so the order can flow straight through to the production process, all without any manual intervention.

If you are chasing work from some of the better known consumer print, photo, apparel and label brands that outsource their work be aware that they all have issues and idiosyncrasies. They structure their data differently and have various errors that need to be coded around. To deal with these issues any field validation should be done as you receive the order and any data re-mapping and standardisation totally automated – it is totally doable. The goal should be to achieve a zero-cost order processing system with no labor required.

The data needs to be fully logged and readily accessible. When you are taking work from various brands this will richly pay off. All the brands have issues with intermittent gateway and transfer issues, they will blame you for it in the first instance and the best defence is data.

Knowing that your order data is beautifully structured, then the next step is to streamline all pre-press actions – image XY dimensions, scaling & cropping, colour management and image optimisation and embed that into wholly automated systems which seamlessly hand off to 3rd party systems where required. Similarly to order processing, zero-cost image management should be the goal.

In summary, savings available to be realised are:

  1. Reduction in IT/File Management and done well, elimination of the role
  2. Rapid recovery from file interruptions and ability to prevent/minimise cost
  3. Eliminate/redeploy pre-press effort

Next > Press Room: Automate orders onto the press

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© ZenSmart.ai

Andrew Smith

Andrew Smith is the CEO of ZenSmart, a leading workflow automation platform that streamlines manufacturing in On Demand plants across the world.



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