Mr Thirlby, as a former Heidelberg customer, you understand how to get the maximum performance out of a machine better than almost anyone. What are the important factors?
The key to higher performance is the upstream processes. How quickly the job reaches the machine is a decisive aspect. All the production data must be systematically collated and analyzed. This is the first step towards lean, automated workflows – and therefore towards a Smart Print Shop.
What role does software play in the success of a print shop today?
A very important one, as all the systems that are involved in the printing process are networked via software. But the good news for the printer is that, thanks to Prinect, machines and processes have become so intelligent that the upstream process all the way to the press can be fully automated.
Automation and networking – are you alluding to the Heidelberg Push to Stop philosophy?
That’s right. Push to Stop demonstrates the maximum of what is possible in terms of automation and networking, as well as that profitability and business success do not depend on the machine alone. Everyone who buys a Speedmaster XL 106 starts from the same position. The amount of profit they then actually make is down to their knowledge. For example, knowledge of how a production process can be made leaner and the throughput can be increased. Or in connection with the question of which products and prices will attract more jobs from which customers. Prinect gives insight into these questions.
So you mean less “gut feeling” and more business based on data in the future?
This is precisely the added value that Prinect brings. The central business platform makes it easier for companies to use their data profitably. Prinect collects information along the entire value chain. This makes all the factors that affect profitability and productivity transparent. The printer therefore knows where he has to intervene in order to improve.
Can you give an example?
A lot of companies ask themselves why on average only one in every five quotes results in an actual job. Prinect provides answers based on facts. It shows which product requirements – e.g. concerning delivery times and quality – various customers have and what price they are prepared to pay. It also shows which product and market segments a company’s own strengths are in, in order to allow an appropriate business focus.
With respect to production, Prinect shows where the printing process is interrupted and why a job change takes 20 minutes. The platform supplies hard facts and figures. With this knowledge behind them – we call this business intelligence – the management of a print shop can make better business decisions, for example in connection with investments, pricing and the product portfolio.
Prinect therefore comprises an operational and a commercial workflow?
Yes, they both belong together. The more efficient production is, the lower the costs are. This makes it possible to offer products at an attractive price and thus acquire more jobs. Furthermore, the networked, consistent and high-performance Prinect production flow reduces the workload on the management. Instead of spending a lot of time getting jobs through production as economically as possible, they can dedicate their efforts to strategic tasks.
The high-performance production flow with Prinect – what does this look like in detail?
A key factor is that Prinect minimizes process variables and manual intervention, i.e. the touchpoints. To do this, an all-round view of all the processes is provided – from pricing to postpress. This is important as everything is interlinked to everything else, and everything influences each other.
Can you give an example for this as well?
A lot of companies change the sheet format on one single press six times a day. This results in approximately two hours of downtime and a higher postpress workload. With Prinect, process parameters such as the sheet size or color configuration can be optimized to ensure that fewer changes need to be made during a changeover. These standardized settings determine how a job is completed, without the need for any manual intervention. However, Prinect does not only control the production chain, but it also calculates the costs and, if several machines are available, decides which one can produce the job the most economically.
What can I achieve overall in terms of improved performance?
Companies can double their output or halve their costs.
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