How much could your print shop save with workflow automation?

This the primary question preventing many print service providers from investing in automation software. Without a direct answer, the return on investment is unclear. This article will cover three things:

  1. How to establish a benchmark to calculate your savings
  2. An estimated ROI of print workflow automation from research
  3. What others have reported as the main benefits from automation.

How to measure your workflow automation?

Why there’s no direct answer, is because every print shop is different. It’s also because it requires print manufacturers to quantify things they haven’t yet.

**THE HIDDEN COSTS ** Most print companies measure their efficiency in terms of revenue per job or turnaround time. However, this doesn’t expose the true costs and inefficiencies in a production process. Often resulting in companies trying to increase order size or just hiring more manpower to speed up production. As we explain in the webinar hyperdrive your business performance two additional metrics –time per job and jobs per employee – would better identify your bottlenecks. By quantifying their hidden costs, print shops now have a benchmark to improve upon as well as a quantifiable way assess the ROI.

Interested in an industry benchmark? We’ve done this exercise with a handful of print manufacturers and are collecting this data to provide an industry benchmark. To compare your current benchmark with peers in your industry, contact GSBsolutions@hp.com.

**MEASURING SUCCESS ** The second part to understand is that the ROI of automation isn’t always a direct cost savings. It can save time per task, improve overall turnaround time, improve efficiency per employee (number of jobs processed in an hour per employee), and improve revenue per employee. As efficiency and throughput improve, a print shop may need to invest more to match their growth. Hence why it’s important to not measure success by costs savings alone. A print manufacturer must also measure the growth and efficiency metrics mentioned above to understand the true value of workflow automation.

What’s the return on investment (ROI) of print workflow automation?

HP Site Flow connected with Keypoint Intelligence – Infotrends to find out. In their 2019 software investment outlook reports, they surveying over 200 print service providers across Europe and North America and asked the average time it took an operator to complete a task, per job. Using this Keypoint Intelligence calculated the saving of automating three of the most common pre-press tasks – file retrieval, preflighting, and imposition. Assuming an average salary of €45/hour per employee, Keypoint Intelligence calculated the following savings for the following industries:

  • Average Reported Savings for General Commercial Printing: 40 minutes per job or €24 per job
  • Average Reported Savings for Publishing: 62 minutes per job or €37 per job
  • Average Reported Savings for Labels and Packaging: 53 minutes per job or €31 per job

The majority of these print services providers didn’t have automation. Around a third had partial automation, hence the sizable time savings. For the full report, request a free copy here (or copy/paste this link http://bit.ly/ROIreports).

Automation could save €24 - €37 per job by automating three prepress tasks. Imagine the end to end savings

What benefits are print shops reporting?

While not quantified, NAPCO and HP Site Flow did a study that found over 50% of US print manufacturers claimed automation saved them time and money. Primarily in the form of:

  1. Faster order processing (60%)
  2. On-time delivery and shipping (54%)
  3. Water and error reduction (53%)
  4. Improved margins and cost savings (50%)

To get the full reports, request your free copy here (or copy/paste this link http://bit.ly/FPreports)

**Fig. 1 Benefits of Automation – Reported by US Commercial Printers ** fig 1_ROI of print automation_benefits of automation.png

Invest to Save

If you’re ready to improve your operational efficiency and gain the benefits of automation, click the contact us button or sign-up for an HP Site Flow Light trial account.