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The Key to Effective Use of Inkjet is Workflow

By: David Day, EDP, Product Marketing Manager and Workflow SME

The key to effective use of Inkjet Technology is workflow. This was echoed many times at the InkJet Summit attended by many InkJet end users, as well as, perspective Inkjet users.

The nay-sayers are spreading gloom and doom that print is going down. The fact is print has never been stronger. What we print and how we distribute it is changing. And since print is not disappearing, we all know that InkJet technology for print is the way to go.

The Analysts have jumped on the bandwagon, the print hardware vendors all have inkjet offerings and many have models to address the various volume duty cycles based on the business needs of their customers like you. Some vendors are even working on cut-sheet inkjet technologies and we have seen them being introduced at shows like this past year’s GRAPH EXPO.

Effective workflow isn’t just a wish, it is a requirement for effective use of inkjet technology, whether you are looking at (or already have) monochrome or full-color inkjet printers for your operation. With the speed of inkjet it is important to complete a thorough analysis of your workflow and job-size. This will benefit you in many ways. For example, consider these improvements to your operations:

  • Balancing your print to minimize roll changeover
  • Concatenating jobs for greater throughput
  • Managing jobs for post-printing operations
  • Maximizing postal discounts
  • Utilizing full color
  • Minimize (or eliminate) complex changes to your legacy applications
  • Taking advantage of postal discounts for use of color (in statement production)
  • Reduction of costly inventory

Using workflow tools when you adjust your print to match the printer capacity, you gain production and quality attributes. Print job sizes may or may not have been balanced to match the roll size. Stopping and starting your printer for roll changes takes time and the cost is lost productivity. In the monochrome world, combining and merging like type jobs eliminates costly production stops. Your post-print operations might require smaller job sizes and in the past print and post-print operations have used the same job size. Today, you can combine the jobs for greater print efficiency while having the ability to break the job to smaller subsets for post print production, all while maintaining integrity and the required Mail Run Data Files (MRDF) or equivalent all while maintaining integrity for tracking and compliance.

Larger print runs (passed to your postal discounting software) can yield greater mail density and reduce your postal spend. Maintaining the proper mail.dat or mail.xml files can be maximized and yield these savings.

When you migrate to full-color inkjet production, you can start to merge non-like jobs since you are now able to overlay the letterhead and logos of each document type on the fly garnering even greater efficiency and cost savings. Don’t forget, the elimination of costly inventory and time to change paper stock between jobs. And the USPS is offering discounts when you migrate from monochrome statement type jobs to full color (the discount does not apply to spot color). Additionally, with the “second ounce rides for free” discount any householding you accomplish can add even more to the bottom line.

All of this sounds great and the savings can be substantial…that is until you sit down with your IT department and realize the time and cost in redevelopment of legacy applications. All is not lost! You can have the ability to use your existing legacy applications and jobs and let the Crawford Technologies solutions merge you print streams to accomplish all the above. It is like having your cake and eating it too.

You don’t have to go this road alone either; this is where the professionals at Crawford Technologies work with our clients as they migrate from toner based print technology to inkjet. We can help you co-mingle jobs, manage the “logos” and “letterhead” for each job to create a larger job consisting of previous smaller jobs. Basically, we are talking about implementing a plain paper factory or in other words – creating jobs of the size to take advantage of speed and throughput of the inkjet printers.

The challenge is to keep track of each sub-job to make sure all the documents are accounted for. Again, this is where we assist our clients with Automated Output Management (AOM) tools to automate the processes with complete accountability. And let’s not forget, in many organizations, there are disparate Print Data Languages (PDLs) created by a hybrid of legacy systems. By utilizing our tools and implementing a full solution, our customers are able to standardize on the PDL of their choice (AFP, IJPDS or PDF, for example) and take full advantage of their new hardware purchase.

The path to Inkjet has a lot of upsides for companies that print High-Volume Transactional Output (HVTO) or, as many of us call it, customer communications. And with the proper tool set the process of implementing inkjet can be smooth, more economical and improve many business processes and results within your organization. As an example of the positive benefits of an inkjet printer implementation, please view our on demand educational webinar based on the case study I presented at this year’s Inkjet Summit.

Want to learn more, give us a call and we can discuss workflow benefits with you and work with you to maximize your investment in inkjet technology.

Edit Blog Post
March 3, 2017


  • Ernie Crawford
    CEO & President

    Ernie Crawford is the founder and CEO of Crawford Technologies, a global leader in the print and electronic document industries. With over four decades of experience, Ernie is a respected thought leader and innovator in the field of document management and has been recognized for his contributions to the industry with numerous awards and accolades. He is committed to delivering innovative solutions to his clients and has led Crawford Technologies through significant growth and expansion while maintaining a focus on exceptional customer service. Ernie is a sought-after speaker and has presented at numerous industry events and conferences.

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