Enhancing Print-on-Demand Efficiency: Best Practice in Automated Quality Fail Management

Enhancing Print-on-Demand Efficiency: Best Practice in Automated Quality Fail Management


In the print-on-demand world, managing quality failures efficiently is crucial for maintaining productivity, SLA targets (Service Level Assurance) and profitability. Traditionally, addressing these issues has been a cumbersome, often invisible and manual process, with significant potential for error, low efficiency and high probability of missing SLA.  

ZenSmart’s approach is game-changing: an automated Quality Assurance (QA) Fail System with accountability underpinned by business rules and rule limits, designed to streamline this critical aspect of print operations and provide next level visibility and cost control.

The Traditional Challenge

Handling quality failures in printing (to be clear we call “printing” any digital production process such as 3D, label, packaging, photo, apparel, giftware or display) and manufacturing processes has always been a pain point. Whether it’s a print defect or a manufacturing error, the traditional approach involves manually rerouting the job for reprinting or additional processing. This method typically requires the physical transfer of the job to a Supervisor for review and then to the production team for reprocessing – often with the job sitting in a staging bin for up to 24 hours and invisible in workflow, just to be reprinted in its entirety when only a few pages are needed! It’s a slow, labor-intensive process that can lead to further errors, increased material waste, and significant labor costs.

ZenSmart’s Automated Approach

ZenSmart’s automated QA Fail System is engineered to tackle these challenges head-on, transforming the way print facilities handle quality fails.

  1. Efficient Error Processing: When a quality failure is scanned, ZenSmart allows staff (with selectable standard or elevated privileges) to quickly categorize the fail reason and automatically route the errored job. This process is done through a simple barcode scan, followed by specifying the failure type and the required rerouting action (backwards in workflow or reprint of page(s) or component).
  2. Streamlined Reprinting: If reprinting is necessary, ZenSmart automatically runs the process. It identifies whether the entire job or just specific pages need reprinting, thereby minimizing waste. It re-routes the job to Press Release. This rerouted job is then highlighted, but marked as a priority with visual cues like a bright red color, ensuring it’s easily identifiable and processed swiftly to any press which matches the permitted press type for that product code.
  3. Detailed Tracking and Reworking: For jobs that require reworking rather than reprinting, the system tracks the rerouting to the appropriate stage. This allows for accurate cost tracking and labor accounting, addressing the traditional issue of untracked labor costs in reworking.
  4. Real-Time Reporting and Insights: One of the key features of ZenSmart’s system is its robust reporting capabilities. It provides detailed insights into the causes of quality failures, patterns in production issues, and even tracks operator-specific error rates. This data is crucial for continuous process improvement and reducing future failures.
  5. User Controls and Limit Setting: ZenSmart allows for the setting of fail limits per staff member, granting Supervisors control over the quantity of rerouted jobs with Supervisor escalation if the fail limit is exceeded. This feature adds an extra layer of management oversight, ensuring that the fail  process has strict financial accountability.

Benefits Over Traditional Methods

ZenSmart’s system offers several advantages over traditional manual processes:

  • Reduced Labor and Material Costs: By automating the rerouting process, ZenSmart cuts down on the labor and materials typically wasted in manual error correction.
  • Increased Efficiency and SLA compliance: The system ensures faster turnaround times for error correction, keeping production schedules on track and ensuring that SLA targets are maintained, even for orders that initially fail a quality stage.
  • Improved Accuracy and Accountability: With detailed tracking and reporting, ZenSmart enhances accountability and accuracy in the quality control process.
  • Creates a culture of continuous improvement: With the defect rate of every staff member and every manufacturing stage totally visible, the data is instantly available to action training and maintenance items to ensure budgeted limits are not exceeded


ZenSmart’s automated QA Fail System is a significant leap forward in production management for the print-on-demand industry. By automating error correction and bringing a high level of efficiency and accountability to the process, ZenSmart not only reduces costs but also enhances overall operational effectiveness.

Explore ZenSmart’s Solutions

For businesses looking to streamline their print operations – whether they be 3D, label, packaging, photo, apparel, giftware or display – and effectively manage quality failures, ZenSmart offers industry leading integrated workflow automation for sites from small to very large. Learn more about ZenSmart’s capabilities at https://zensmart.ai.

Sammy Brent

Sammy Brent is the CIO of ZenSmart, a leading workflow automation platform that streamlines manufacturing in On Demand plants across the world.



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