Unlocking automation could be the key to your success

Gershon Alon
Friday, August 30, 2019

Few would dispute that automation can unlock success for any print business battling falling prices, shrinking margins, shorter turnarounds and the need to embrace e-commerce. However, the challenge is finding the right key that can unlock your business’s true potential.

Recognising this need, HP has been steadily increasing its focus on PrintOS, its cloud-based operating system, delivering a growing set of solutions and apps that drive productivity and innovation. Recently, HP boosted its investment in automated print services with the acquisition of OneFlow Systems (OFS), a London-based workflow partner driving the HP Site Flow app.

Currently serving more than 22,000 registered users at 10,000 print businesses owning HP Indigo, HP PageWide and Scitex presses, and HP Latex printers, PrintOS is growing by leaps and bounds. In the last six months alone, more than 2,000 printers joined the PrintOS community.

Cloud solution to harness data and grow business
Savvy printers that want to thrive and not just survive are embracing this transformation as a solution to Industry 4.0 automation. Printers, like all businesspeople are striving to stay profitable and grow, whether it’s increasing uptime, reducing reprints or uncovering new opportunities for improvement. Those printers who have adopted the shift to automation are reaping the rewards, becoming tightly controlled, profitable enterprises.

Through a unique collection of more than 30 applications, PrintOS gives printers access to a secure suite of automation tools with an instant line of sight into their business, allowing them to improve control of their print operations from anywhere at any time.

PrintOS is fuelled by data and the connectivity of the cloud. Here are some of the most powerful PrintOS applications and how they are helping printers harness data to grow business and thrive.

PrintOS Print Beat
PrintOS Print Beat analyses press performance and reveals press bottlenecks while guiding operators where to focus their efforts. Print Beat dashboards can be viewed per site or per press monitoring print volume, press availability, failures/jams, restarts and more. By having visibility into key press performance indicators, HP Indigo customers can accelerate decisions and increase their press utilisation.

According to Brian Benson, founder and chief executive of Atlanta, Georgia-based Benson Integrated: “HP PrintOS gives you the opportunity to pivot and react. With PrintOS you’re getting information in real time and that alone allows for real-time assessment and growth”.

Print Beat OEE
An add-on feature to Print Beat is OEE (Overall equipment effectiveness). OEE has become an industry standard for measuring manufacturing productivity with benchmarks measured by availability, performance, and quality.  PrintOS Print Beat OEE automatically calculates press performance and analyses production bottlenecks.  It reveals real opportunities for improving operations, reducing overtime and labour costs while increasing press output.

By maximising each of the three OEE pillars, PrintOS helps print service providers to improve their bottom line regardless of whether they are small family-owned shops or large, multi-site installations. Customers that participate in the OEE program report 20% improvement in press uptime thanks to planned maintenance and other activities taken based on OEE intelligent insights.

PrintOS Color Beat
Color Beat is providing a solution to transforms the manual and time-consuming colour tracking and measurement process, into a two-minute (or less) automated process that greatly simplifies the ability to deliver colour accurately and consistently across different jobs, presses and geographies.

Color Beat is currently available on HP Indigo 10000 and HP Indigo 12000 digital presses. In August, Color Beat received a 2019 InterTechTM technology award. The joint submission by HP Indigo and Vistaprint demonstrated the ability of PrintOS Color Beat to ensure printing the same file in different locations with consistent colour.

Demanded by brands, colour quality and consistency is a competitive advantage for printers. A job printed on one press should accurately match a job printed at a different time or even on another press, possibly in another region. Colour management processes need to be easy, accurate – and the faster the better to meet tight deadlines.

PrintOS Color Beat uses the HP Indigo press inline spectrophotometer and cloud connectivity. Colour measurements are automatically captured from the press as jobs are being printed. The data is stored, analysed and maintained on the cloud delivering up-to-the minute reporting including heat maps and historical data which can be viewed from any web or mobile device anytime, anywhere. The simplicity of Color Beat enables printers to reach high colour quality without being colour experts.

Frank Polanco, quality engineer – Digital Print Technologies at Vistaprint, said: “Automating the colour process control on all presses was a milestone for us. We have regained precious press operator time and are reaping the rewards of highly consistent and accurate colour measurements. Currently, we have removed all offline process control stations off the production floor and are confidently moving forward with HP PrintOS Color Beat.”

HP’s PrintOS Site Flow
As web-to-print gains a deeper foothold in the industry, printers inevitably experience a higher number of jobs with shorter print runs, needed to be delivered within 24 hours or less. HP’s recent acquisition of OFS, developer of Site Flow, is an important milestone in executing HP Indigo’s strategy to drive profitable page growth for customers. The ability to automate hundreds or thousands of orders daily and deliver them within a very short turnaround time with no compromise on quality, has become an important paradigm for success. PrintOS Site Flow production management software suite enables printers to manage thousands of jobs per day, from job submission to shipping, helping customers automate, optimise and innovate across the entire value chain.

Guernsey-based IPS Ultraprint implemented HP PrintOS Site Flow to give it the capability to deliver thousands of orders each day, with the flexibility to cope with peak seasons. “[Site Flow] enabled us to grow very quickly. 22% year-on-year for the past four years since we put it in. If you’re going into the personalised market, you really do need to speak to HP on Site Flow. It’s the only way to deal with lots and lots of items,” said IPS Ultraprint managing director Rob Plampton.

PrintOS Composer
PrintOS Composer is a great example of how marrying innovation with automation can deliver high-value jobs leading to profitable growth. PrintOS Composer turbocharges the processing of VDP jobs on the cloud. These jobs can include HP SmartStream Mosaic and Collage variable graphics which can consist of thousands and even millions of unique graphics automatically generated from seed patterns or elements. PrintOS Composer uses the scalable computing power of the cloud to produce 1:1 print communication up to 50 times faster when compared with processing on a local PC/Mac computer.

“We composed a live Mosaic job of 2,000 covers in PrintOS Composer. PrintOS Composer aced it in just three minutes,” said Roger White, creative & technical lead at London-based FE Burman.

PrintOS Marketplace: A toolbox of innovation
The recently launched PrintOS Marketplace is a community platform designed to help users boost capabilities and automate various stages of the workflow through HP and partner solutions. It is a one-stop shop extending PrintOS through a growing library of apps and components that can be installed or loaded in just a few easy steps including HP PrintOS Color Beat and OEE.

As a cooperative hub for print buyers, print service providers, HP and third parties, PrintOS Marketplace aims to help customers do more. Projects-in-a box for labels and packaging, commercial and photo printing helps printers innovate and respond more quickly to new sales opportunities. Ready-to-go projects include HP Mosaic and HP Collage packaging templates, seed patterns, sample files, and royalty free images and icons.

As a useful resource dedicated to help customers grow their businesses, Marketplace also houses valuable information and insights on market trends as well as sales and business development tools.

The PrintOS Ecosystem – positioning printers for success
In summary, the PrintOS ecosystem is a platform that addresses the many dimensions inside a print provider’s world, allowing them to overcome complexity and be more efficient so they can put greater focus on innovation and driving value. With the wide and growing variety of production automation and quality tools, greater visibility into print performance and the latest launch of Marketplace, HP PrintOS is arming print businesses for success as we march into 2020 and beyond.

Learn more about PrintOS and what’s possible at hp.com/go/printos

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