Fresh Look at Print Automation: A Vertical Value Add-On6 Dec, 2007 By: J J Safer imageSource
Fresh Look at Print Automation: A Vertical Value Add-On
Many IT Directors are called in today to address technical problems that stem
from printing large and often complicated new business proposals. As IT Director
for one of the country’s largest construction contractors, I was often called in
to aid in the bid process, a critical part of winning a project which,
unfortunately, has also become increasingly complex, incredibly time consuming,
and extremely costly.
A typical RFP in the engineering and construction industry contains hundreds
of documents that must be opened, printed individually, watermarked, collated,
and logged. So we, like many other companies, would spend thousands of dollars
and countless man-hours bogged down in this process – on every RFP. And for us,
in many cases, it took more than a week to complete, significantly limiting our
ability to respond to bids and get them into the customer’s hands in a timely
and accurate manner.
Most of us know that there has to be a better way of handling these bids, but
often to our surprise, finding a print automation solution on the market with
the advanced capabilities necessary to simplify this process is difficult. This
led us to develop our own in-house software solution – affectionately dubbed
“PrintWeasel” – to automate the printing of a complex array of files usually
associated with construction RFPs.
This batch printing software helped us by identifying, analyzing, routing,
and load balancing files for a print job across all available printers on our
network. So with only a few mouse clicks, the solution automatically opens each
document (even if the user doesn’t have the source application), determines the
size and characteristics of each file, monitors the availability of each printer
on the network, and sends each file to the appropriate printer based upon work
load and paper size. By allowing documents to be printed to multiple printers at
once, the solution helped us gain control over the entire print process, while
greatly reducing the time to turn bids around and eliminating any outsourcing
Then we began selling the software to other construction firms that were
experiencing the same headaches and soon found that many other industries could
also benefit from this type of print automation technology. Interestingly, much
of the technology advancements in document management over the past decade have
focused on all things digital based on the notion that paper would soon be a
thing of the past. But in truth, the hard copy is not going away anytime soon.
In fact, the Information Age is responsible for an ever-increasing number of
documents that need to be managed, stored, retrieved and often printed.
Batch printing technology can be a critical tool in any industry where the
management of a large amount of documents and complex print jobs is the norm.
These include engineering, architecture, design, legal, insurance, healthcare,
government, and generally any enterprise with large-scale printing needs.
The good news is that batch printing technology can be easily used with
almost all types of printers and then sold as a packaged solution. Printer
manufacturers and dealers are beginning to realize how software automation
add-ons that increase printing speed and efficiency can differentiate their
products and increase revenues through higher page per machine figures.
Advanced batch printing technologies appeal to a number of buyers as they can
support as many as 400 different file types, including AutoCAD, PDF, Bentley,
Photoshop, TIFF and many others. These Windows-based systems have easy-to-use
interfaces and allow management of the entire print process, providing logging,
reporting and version control. A database of print jobs is maintained in the
system that allows users to conduct reprints of entire jobs or select portions
of jobs without running the entire batch.
When sold as a package with a printer or service, these unique features offer
a great way for printer manufacturers and dealers to add value for their
customers and stand out from the competition with sophisticated, smarter and
more efficient printers.
So while advancements will continue in electronic document management, the
hard copy is here to stay and a huge opportunity exists in the industry to
simplify the printing process for end users. Automation technologies such as the
PrintWeasel batch printing software will continue to flourish by helping printer
manufacturers and dealers offer complete solutions that help organizations work
faster, operate more efficiently, and most importantly, impact their bottom
JJ Safer took over as CEO for ProExecute in June of 2007 after serving as the
company’s CTO. JJ’s 15 years in the technology industry range from departmental
IT management to designing products for commercialization. He has led the
successful startup and sale of three IT businesses in the services, security &
product development industries. At (866) 587-7639 /