Raymond Duval, Director of Solutions Sales at Ultimate, discussed workflow automation with INKISH.TV:
What does the future for print look like when it comes to Automation?
What is needed to do, or what we need to do, it’s the same thing around the world: print volume has to increase. The number of jobs as a printer needs to increase, because my volume, meaning the number of copies for a single product, is going down! The only way to be able to sustain my business and print more, is to automate. With the same number of people, more or less the same equipment initially, with automation, by integrating everything, I can print more pages. It is inevitable for everybody.
Automation is not a matter of ”if” anymore. It’s a matter of ”when”. When do I need to grow my business or do I need to be forced to do it to grow my business.
What Ultimate offers in that perspective?
We glue the key components of it. Consuming the upstream ticket, the job intent, transforming it, imposing it for different devices either it’s cut sheet, roll-fed digital, offset or large format, and to be able to centralize it and generate the print-ready file. Then, we also do bindery automation, by consuming the same ticket to send it to different finishing devices to automate parameters and eliminating make-ready. That is the whole thing about Automation: removing touch points in a workflow.
How was the transformation process for a software provider throughout the years?
Innovation is all about transformation. The ability to understand the customer needs and the ability to foresee what will be required in the field. Thirty years ago, when we started to do imposition, it was all about convincing a company owner or a prepress operator to go from a knife, tape, marker, films to use a computer and a mouse. That was a strange concept to use a mouse, whereas in the last decade, it’s all about not touching anything. Automation should be light-out.
Where do you see the degree of Automation within a couple of years?
To much evolved level. It’s no longer going to be ”How do I connect the machines” and ” How do I connect the workflow components: the MIS, the imposition, the preflighting ”. It will be more from an operational perspective: ”How do I carry my production to the trucks”, ”How do I get the robots to carry the finished goods out of the door, to the trucks and to the customers”, ”How do I get feedback when I’m on vacations as a business owner and look at my numbers on my mobile phone, and know how many jobs came in, how many jobs are waiting, how many jobs in my shop. This will be the automation level in 5 to 10 years from now.
There will still be a need for printing in 10 years right?
Of course, printing is not dead! We hear that everyday. You can see it here [Think Smart Factory]. The modern printers are the ones that will automate and be able to capture all those jobs and will strive because print will always be there, and will be required by our kids, and their kids and the next generation after.
Watch the full interview on INKISH.TV by clicking here.