A Supply Chain That Runs Itself
HOW CAN IT AFFECT YOU?
To find out what process automation can mean to your business, take a mental inventory of your company's systems. You may find systems for production, tracking, scheduling, estimating, billing and general ledger. These systems generally receive information from different sources (raw files, instructions, purchase orders and bills, to name a few) and generate myriad types of output (such as final files, proofs, invoices or orders for consumables).
If your shop is like most, these systems do not share information, and most are not organized as relational databases. If this sounds familiar, you'll be able to relate to the following scenario that occurs daily at many prepress houses, publishers and printers.
In a non-automated workflow:
1. Before the file for a chapter of a book comes in the door (literally or virtually) of ABC Prepress, the book publisher fills in a job ticket and generates a purchase order (P.O.).
2. The publisher's staff keys the information into the P.O. system, then usually prints out and faxes the P.O., or mails it out with the job.
3. The job arrives at ABC, probably on a disk or CD with a hard-copy proof. At ABC Prepress, a customer service representative (CSR) enters the P.O. and any publisher job-ticket information into the production system.
4. The files then get preflighted and copied from the disk onto a work-in-process server.
5. Next, an ABC production team member assembles a job bag, which includes all the checklists and any original components.
6. This job bag moves around the shop until the job is completed, and the final files and proofs are delivered to their destination.
7. The job bag is then shuffled into billing, where it is mated to an estimate.
8. After the CSR has analyzed the job, an ABC biller creates an invoice.