There is widespread agreement that automating your production workflow has numerous benefits. Automation reduces errors and lets you do more with fewer resources. It supports increased throughput, allows you to make better use of your equipment, and gives you the tools and foundation to take on more work. All of this impacts your bottom line and can lead to increased profits, so automating your workflow appears to be a no-brainer.
But no service provider starts out with a clean slate. You undoubtedly have equipment, systems, software and processes that have evolved over time. It’s highly unlikely that you can eliminate or phase out anything that’s still working, particularly if it represents a significant financial investment. It’s also very likely that the plethora of equipment and systems in place come from multiple vendors.
Automated production doesn’t exist in a vacuum, so creating a successful end-to-end workflow requires that these various pieces be connected. And of course you also need to factor in the realities of your resources and your customers. What sort of skills does your staff already have, and what is the feasibility of expanding those skills, either through hiring or education? And what are your customers’ expectations for quality, control, turnaround time, security and more?
It’s clear that one of the most basic and most important aspects of an automated workflow is integration. So how can you best approach the integration puzzle?
Assessing what you’re dealing with and what your goals are is an important first step. Ideally you have already purchased hardware and software that is capable of being integrated with another system through a standard protocol or interface. CrawfordTech supports different methods for workflow enablement and integration, with flexible and scalable tools for virtually any environment.
You will most likely need to involve an outside resource or multiple resources, and will probably have to coordinate and work with other vendors. Cooperative relationships and partnerships go a long way toward guaranteeing the collaborative effort that is required when building an automated workflow.
And finally, whatever is built needs to be sustainable. Even if you rely on external resources to create your workflow, your staff needs to be able to manage and maintain it on a day to day basis. It should support the inevitable changes your business will face, including new equipment, new customers and modified processes without the need to start from scratch.
We’re launching our webinar series on Workflow Essentials with a session scheduled for next Wednesday, January 24 at 1:00 PM ET on Why Integration is a Key to Success. Join Product Marketing Manager Stephanie Pieruccini and EVP Scott Baker, who will discuss what you should consider and what methods can be used for connecting the pieces. Sign up today to learn more!