Printers missing out on potential growth opportunities

The Automation Gap surveyed more than 150 key industry stakeholders
The Automation Gap surveyed more than 150 key industry stakeholders

A survey conducted by Ricoh UK and Printweek to better understand where the print industry is on its automation journey found that over half of businesses believe they have failed to invest in technology to drive their industry forward.

The new report, ‘The Automation Gap’, examined attitudes and the adoption of automation from more than 150 key stakeholders across the sectors of printing, imaging, and associated digital services.

It found that while nearly 80% of the printing industry wants to automate to improve efficacies, over half (52%) of businesses are still running on legacy or manual systems. Additionally, two thirds of the industry (66%) anticipate increased investment in business process automation, while 57% of respondents agreed that cost savings can be made with automation.

Ricoh UK national sales director Simon Isaacs said: “When it comes to print services, document storage, signing and delivery, automation has to be the next ‘business-as-usual’ implementation.

“Evolution is a central part of business success and the results of our survey demonstrate just how eager the print sector is to drive innovation and utilise automation to improve the quality of service and productivity of their employees.”

Ricoh said the findings would have a particular impact on those reliant on print services, such as public sector agencies, and highlighted its recent work with the DVLA. 

Producing over 100 million driving-related documents a year, the DVLA partnered with Ricoh to help improve its efficiencies and sustainability efforts in line with an expected 30% year-on-year increase in print volumes.

The organisation subsequently installed a Ricoh Pro VC60000 high-speed inkjet press to ensure it could exceed its required service-level agreements, as set by a range of government departments. This enabled it to beat production timeframe targets by half, while reducing paper usage and machine downtime and cutting maintenance costs.

Jonathan Gordon, OSG IT development manager at the DVLA, said: “Ricoh ProcessDirector is really the brains behind our operation and was ideal for the type and volume of work we do at the DVLA.

“Its flexibility means we can create different applications, manage the large volume and complexity of data we receive and process transactions quickly. It tracks print jobs through the different print and processing devices, so we know where every mail item is at any point in the system.

“We can now create our own workflows and job paths depending on type of data and document. That is very helpful because we can make changes ourselves, when file type changes for instance, without having to rely on specialists.”