Optimising Document Workflow

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By Hennie Kruger, DDS product and marketing manager of Océ South Africa

Staying afloat in the choppy waters of today’s economic environment demands that companies look for opportunities to deepen customer relationships, improve efficiency, and generate more profit. In many cases, this means re-engineering processes to position businesses for leaner, more productive and customer-focused operations.

To do this, companies are implementing ongoing improvement programmes to transform their business processes. However, one aspect of the business is frequently overlooked: document production. This is alarming, given that documents underpin virtually every business process, from invoices and statements to marketing brochures, product manuals, letters, reports and e-mails. Although much of this information-generation is digital, virtually any area of any organisation can be linked to information that eventually becomes a document.

Why then are companies not taking advantage of the opportunity to make real cost reductions and enhance productivity in the document production arena? While some organisations are making good progress, many are unaware of the inefficiencies in their document processes.

Typical challenges include:

  • Eliminating redundancies and incompatibilities between systems from multiple vendors.
  • Unifying disparate processes and reducing the IT maintenance workload.
  • Managing and supporting data streams from a wide variety of mainframe, PC and Macintosh systems.
  • Bridging proprietary digital workflows.
  • Reducing the time and money spent preparing documents for print.
  • Minimising downtime and errors.

For many organisations, the default solution is multiple, inefficient workflows from multiple vendors with multiple dedicated staffs to support them. Typically, a number of different software products from several vendors are used to support different requirements in different environments. With the failure to optimise workflow processes resulting in excessive costs, inefficiencies, redundancies, incompatibilities, down time, and delays, there is the growing need for robust solutions that optimise document workflow within and across specific business environments, allowing jobs to be run wherever needed, independent of output device, model or make, device location, or departmental boundaries.

Industry experts generally define document workflow as the collection of processes required to take a document from concept and creation through to proofing, job tracking, prepress, printing, finishing, distribution, and archival. Essentially it provides the framework for the entire document lifecycle.

In spite of the large percentage of operating budgets that are spent on producing documents of all kinds, document workflow costs and inefficiencies often go unexamined, unmeasured, and unmanaged. As a result, inefficient, incompatible, or underpowered workflows can cripple even the healthiest of companies; whilst open, efficient, and effectively powered document workflows can set companies up for growth, cost savings, and increased competitive advantage.

Optimising workflow begins with an understanding of your current business and the way that work actually flows. This provides a starting point for developing a solution that streamlines, simplifies and unites operations and resources, whilst eliminating any unnecessary steps.

A digital workflow solution should support applications generated on PCs, Macs, or mainframes and be able to send them to any printer in any department. It should automate processes throughout the document lifecycle, from creation and composition through printing, finishing, and archival. With it, you should be able to make scheduling decisions and split workloads based on printer availability and not on the ability or limitations of a particular device or proprietary data stream. Like any technology investment, a digital workflow solution should be optimised for current and future use and should be flexible enough to address diverse requirements.

Achieving the right balance of performance and productivity in your workflow may mean bridging multiple, proprietary workflows with an architected solution that supports and simplifies document production across multiple vendors, applications, and environments. Consistent, comprehensive, and compatible, Océ PRISMA is an integrated family of adaptive workflow management software that makes work flow faster and more efficiently by working harmony with the systems and processes that are already in place.

Océ PRISMA supports Océ and non-Océ devices, bridging proprietary systems and data streams including PostScript, AFP, PCL, LCDS, PostScript, PPML, TIFF, and PDF. Most importantly, it offers the flexibility needed to improve a business by streamlining workflow within and across business environments.

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