Having battened down the hatches and dug in over the past three years the decision was taken here at Mole Towers to invest in the business to make sure it’s fit and efficient for when the upturn finally arrives.
Don’t get me wrong, business is pretty steady, built on good staff and a nice selection of large-format print equipment. But, with that last 10% of turnover and profit being the most important, there is always the need to somehow make everything, and everyone, sweat that little bit more each month. So we selected a few key areas where we would like to improve to reduce bottlenecks: colour management, pre-flighting artwork and artwork approval.
This is where the fun began. After looking at many software and hardware products, we decided on what we felt was a good colour management solution that would give us consistent colour across our range of print and media combinations. Six months later we are still waiting for a reliable version to be installed. If we couldn’t still use our trusty Oynx Production Suite we’d be in trouble!
Now, I’m not saying those who sell software are liars, but some do stretch the truth way too much to get you to commit to their products and services. The problem is that once you have committed to a particular ‘package’ you are in the laps of the gods and only at this point do you find out whether it was a wise decision or not. I’m getting bored of the ‘just wait until the next version is released’ tagline.
We also invested in a great artwork collaboration system, which is finally communicating with our MIS and it’s working perfectly. Hurray! The problem? Our customers don’t want to use it! They receive a lovely email with a thumbnail of the artwork they need to approve. What they should do is click on that, view it in their browser and then approve and make notes for amendment. No way; they want to send an ‘old fashioned’ email back or complain that they don’t know what to do, completely defeating the whole object of this £30K investment and stopping our automated process in its tracks.
One year on, and little headway has been made in our quest for automation Utopia. Keep an eye out for my progress report in the coming months…