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Production efficiency by streamlining your processes

Are you ready to make the most of your inkjet press? Discover how to rethink your processes and how Canon’s offering can help you achieve production efficiency.

Production efficiency by streamlining your processes

Team discussing business goals

Need to rethink

The pandemic has greatly accelerated the demand for faster turnaround, low-volume print runs and on-demand printing services combined with an uptake in online ordering. This has forced many businesses to rethink their processes and technology to remain profitable and agile. In order to meet customer expectations, more and more PSPs realise that an investment in digital inkjet technology and digital workflows offer new paths towards efficiency.

Latcham Direct, a UK commercial printer recognised the potential of inkjet and invested in their first Canon VarioPrint i300 in 2019 and a second press in 2020. However, a digital inkjet press alone isn’t the answer to the increase in low-volume print runs PSPs are facing. Instead, this investment should go hand-in-hand with the process of rethinking and re-engineering your business’s production workflows.

There are lots of opportunities to achieve greater operational efficiencies, reduce costs and enter new markets with digital inkjet, but there are also a lot of variables to consider. “First and foremost, realise that an inkjet device alone won’t give you everything. It is part of the solution that drives efficiency - but all parts of the manufacturing process need to be considered,” as Mike Hughes, Managing Director at Latcham Direct, explains.

While inkjet technology itself can provide a significant boost in quality, speed, flexibility and cost-effectiveness, unless the workflow before and after the press has been optimised, as a PSP, you’re not going to get the best return from your investment.

Embrace change to thrive

Discover what the future could hold for you as a commercial printer, and how you can optimise processes through end-to-end solutions.

Optimised workflow considerations

When it comes to optimising workflows, we recommend considering the following approaches. Firstly, focus the assessment of existing production processes on the 4Ms – manpower, method, machine, and materials. Taking this approach can provide you with insights into how people are behaving as much as how well equipment is performing.

At Canon, we also often find that starting at the end and working backwards can be a more valuable approach when looking at process optimisation. Look at your semi-finished or finished product and then start to consider how that can be best manufactured, including all necessary production steps in pre-press, press and post-press. In order to assess the processes, not only costs should be considered as a criterion but also other important efficiency factors such as quality, speed, uptime, personnel deployment and flexibility.

Mike Hughes explains what Latcham Direct took into account, “We needed to consider the finishing capabilities to make sure these were aligned and could manage the workload and prevent bottlenecks. We needed to consider the flexibility requirements in terms of the application types, and our customer requirements in terms of quality, run lengths, personalisation, finishing and turnaround times.”

Application example

Automated management and service solutions

When developing our inkjet systems at Canon we examined the individual process steps of our devices in order to deliver the most efficient products. Features like fully automated cleaning routines, camera systems that detect and eject paper that is damaged and real-time inline monitoring of quality to detect any nozzle failures in the print heads and correct them on the fly have taken away a lot of operational tasks and support the overall equipment effectiveness.

Alongside this smart automation, we’ve also developed a proactive service model that allows for real-time connectivity between the customer and the Canon factory, so that our service organisation can see and predict machine issues, ensuring that the press maintains uptime levels that, until now, simply weren’t possible. All these things enable a manufacturing process to run more smoothly, save time and money and deliver new opportunities for printing companies.

“We spent a lot of time not just understanding the Canon technology and how it would fit and what benefits we would get, but we analysed the service capability and support mechanisms in place also,” says Mike Hughes when reflecting on Latcham Directs’ relationship with Canon. “I’m pleased to report that this has also proved to be a really positive outcome where we enjoy a great level of service and support from Canon. It is definitely about forming the right levels of trust and partnership.”

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