Taking a different view of measuring profit
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By Laurel Brunner
29 March 2012
You can even access HP Scitex Production Analyzer from the cosy calm of your armchair via a mobile device
Printers have traditionally measured their business according to the volume of work going through the factory. Print business owners generally keep track of the number of jobs coming in over days and weeks, using this metric as a guide to the business's health. If there are enough individual jobs coming to keep all the presses running for a full shift, then the business is probably doing alright. A drop in job numbers is traditionally considered bad news.
But this type of thinking may have had its day because it belongs to the commodity mentality that used to typify the printing industry. Volume and frequency are still important symptoms of a business's health. But alone they are not enough as indicators of a digital printing business's sprightliness, especially in the sign and display market where the value of jobs and single prints can matter more than their number.
For sign and display producers, an alternative model is to measure the value of jobs on a per copy basis, along with how many square metres of printed substrates are going out the door. This can be calculated per day or per week, based on costs to the business as well as revenues. Using the amount of square metres shipped out per week requires a new mindset and depends heavily on process automation. Workflow automation with links to a decent MIS provides the data that makes it easy for a business owner to measure business performance in this way. HP's recently introduced Production Analyzer for Scitex is a great example of this type of technology. It provides data analysis and production information for tracking and documenting production events. It is an aid to business efficiency as well as providing information about how many square metres have been printed and shipped over a given period.
This type of technology can also help business owners to meet the needs of different customers, because it provides historical data. It is cloud-based software sold as a service, the SaaS model, so estimates can be based on similar jobs printed at different sites. The idea is to help sign and display printers to better understand their operation's strengths, such as fast turnaround and weaknesses, for instance inadequate colour management across devices that might lead to remakes. The Production Analyzer can help with identifying performance failures on individual machines, operator productivity and all manner of useful statistics.
Perhaps the best thing about this software is that it doesn't need to be installed. It operates in the cloud so all that is needed is payment of the €4,000 (£3,300) licence fee. HP takes care of all the hardware, software installation, upgrades and bug fixes. The only thing a sign- and display-maker has to do is to focus on how to get more square metres out the door, which is what it's all about.
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