October 19, 2016

A Day in the Life of an Operations Manager

I start my day with a regular turnover meeting: a recap of the status of each job completed (or not) as well as the discussion of any new problems. As part of this meeting my team reviews the workload for the day ahead in order to make sure we have all our bases covered with respect to materials, machines, and personnel. This can take from 20 minutes to an hour each morning with a repeat later in the day as part of our day to evening shift turnover meeting. Every since we installed a new inkjet press – about 3 months ago – my meetings are lasting at least an hour.

This particular day started off normally; tasks include creating reports manually to show how many jobs, envelopes and documents we produced in the last 24 hours. The information had to be added to the monthly analysis report; a manual task since there isn’t an automated process.

Then the phone rings; it is Customer Service calling to report that John Doe says he did not get his statement and is not going to pay until he receives it. I know it must have gone out to him, so I dig through the reports to look for the document.

A few trips to the printer supervisor and inserter supervisor and I learn that it was sent to be reprinted last week. Where is the job that has the reprints? That is truly the $64,000 question. Found it! A quick call back to Customer Service to inform them John Doe’s statement went out yesterday and he should get it tomorrow. Well that little adventure just wasted 30 minutes of my time!

A short time later…

“What?” I say to our sales team who just landed a large contract. “We can’t print that PDF file, we only print AFP.” Every so often, calls like this come in from the sales team. If only I could easily accept more print-streams as inputs and make them work with our current workflow. I have looked at various alternative solutions but they are either too expensive or labor intensive.

I need to find a better solution.

My printer and inserter vendors have been talking to me about installing an automated workflow. The benefits sound great and they say I can reduce or even eliminate my turn-over meetings by automating and tracking all of my jobs including my reprints. In parallel the system would inform customer service of the status of all our documents.

It all sounds great…that is, until they present me with a proposal. There is no way I will be able to get that kind of capital. Even if I could raise the capital to buy new equipment, servers, software, databases and months of professional services to get it running, the implementation time would be untenable. And what about the other equipment and software that we’re already using – like our postal optimization software?

What I need is to find a workflow that is affordable, scalable and configurable to my existing equipment and processes and one that does not require me to change my processes to match the vendor’s product offerings and software. In short I need what some people might call a magic bullet. No time to think about that now, I have meetings to focus on.

My 2:00 PM appointment arrives. It is a local sales representative from Crawford Technologies and we discuss CrawfordTech’s PRO Inkjet Express. With the ability to interface with my existing hardware and software, I don’t have to spend large sums of money to replace working solutions or wait for the benefits for an extended period of time.

Many of the providers that I have been talking to require each printer and/or inserter be 'upgraded' by the manufacturers in order to interface with their solution. My salesperson shows me the modularity of the CrawfordTech software and how I can track jobs at the piece level throughout the entire process, without expensive hardware upgrades.

With PRO Inkjet Express, I can accept the various PDL’s that are coming my way. Adding barcodes for device control is also easy and I can combine or segment jobs to maximize throughput on our new press and ensure efficiency with the capabilities of our inserters and mailing processes. I can also provide electronic distribution and support alternate channels.

What really attracts me to the CrawfordTech method is the way PRO Inkjet Express can handle all my reprints in an automated fashion and inform my Customer Service reps of the steps and status of each document. The best news is that the investment to implement and the total cost of ownership is within my budget and significantly less than other solutions I have considered.

As for reports, with the openness of PRO Inkjet Express, I can use my company’s existing database and tools to create reports tailored to my operation and requirements. I’m going to need to have another meeting with Crawford Technologies right away to see a proof of concept.

Does this story sound familiar?

If it does, we know how to help and just like this Operations Manager you could be installing a complete end-to-end affordable automated workflow in record time while meeting your budget.

Learn more about how PRO Inkjet Express can help you automate your workflow and make your days at work better!