Workflow integration specialist Dan McLaughlin talks about his love for automation and how an increasing number of printing companies are asking for his help to automate their workflow.
The opportunities for automation are so powerful these days, we can automate almost anything in a print workflow. Combine Tharstern’s API with our (admittedly nerdy) enthusiasm for producing cool new integrations, and you get some very exciting stuff.
It really is worth the effort
A printer’s dream is to have as much lights out automation as possible and we’re helping them make this happen. But it’s having the vision to think you can reach this level of automation that’s important. It’ll take time and a lot of effort to get to this point, but it’s worth it. Keith McMurtrie, John Murphy and I are all a bit geeky, so we get excited about trying new processes that haven’t been tried before. We’re very enthusiastic about discovering new automation opportunities that work in conjunction with Tharstern.
From the simple…
There are really simple ways of using automation to increase efficiency, such as:
- Taking orders from third parties, processing them and putting them in Tharstern automatically.
- Artwork pre-flighting then automatically attaching it to the job and Tharstern will send it to pre-press automatically.
- Printing job tickets automatically when an order comes in.
…To the complicated
But we also work on more complicated automation projects, which you can read more about here. John and I are currently working on a system to do color checking and page checking against an estimate. The system will automatically check these when the artwork is uploaded, which will reduce touchpoints dramatically. Exciting stuff indeed.
The industry is embracing automation
Customers are really starting to buy in to automation opportunities and they’re becoming more ambitious and creative with what they want to do with their workflows. If a customer is willing to put in the time and effort, then there’s not much we can’t achieve. Sometimes the solution lies with some new cutting-edge technology that we’ve just discovered, which is always exciting for me.
The great thing about coming up with a new automation solution is that, once we’ve created a new workflow for one customer, it means we can offer it to other customers too. And even if it takes us a little longer to find that solution initially, in the long run, it pays off for us – we learn from it and create technology solutions that we can use for other customers too.
Automation opportunities will continue to increase
In the past year alone, automation has moved forward at a great pace. To illustrate how much, I now work full time on automation and integration projects, and I’m not the only one at Tharstern that does. It’s pretty exciting to be part of the printing industry’s technological evolution, I can’t wait to see what the future holds and what projects I’ll be working on next year.