Creative thinking when it comes to automation

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One thing is for sure, when businesses moved from Pre-press to Pre-media the need to automate processes didn’t go away. Each and every one of us will see automation is a different.
We could make a quick and by no means complete list of what we would want or should I say what our managers would want from automating parts of the workflow and it would look something like this:

  • Faster turnaround
  • Less or no human intervention
  • Reduction of mistakes
  • Better business analytics
  • More output channels from the same process
  • Raster and better return on investment

It’s not unusual to hear the pre-media departments saying or stating that nothing can be done, which is where the creative thinkers need to come into play and where having people that can script at any level in your pre-media department is invaluable.

Let’s take an application like Adobe Photoshop, for as many versions as I can remember the application has included Actions, actions allow you to record the repetitive tasks, from simple save’s to complex multi-functional actions…. Yet who actually uses them?

When we move outside of the application, and onto the workflow solutions we build these complex workflows to perform the automation for us, yet we have seen companies that still allow the users to create the PDF or Postscript file on their desktop and manually submit the files to the workflow, something a simple automator action could have done for the users.

Pre-media operators and managers need to be more creative in terms of what they automate; any task that has to be repeated should look to be automated. Always calculate how long the task takes, multiplied by the number of times a user performs the task, multiplied again by the number of users, you will find that some simple tasks that take seconds, cost you hours over a week.

When human resource is your highest cost, we need to think creatively about how we best get full value from the skills they have. Pre-media staff all have different skills and ensuring you are utilizing them to their best ability could increase the throughput you have.

I was always told to use the 80/20 rule, for 20% of the effort we could cover 80% of the work, well thinking back this was rubbish, a short term way of thinking, all improvements, large or small need to be done, as long as you are measuring the results you will find the savings amazing.

Here at Tunicca we help companies with the creative thinking automation process, you shouldn’t get confused with the creative designers here, we are definitely not creative designers in any shape or form, we are able to assist in reviewing your pre-media and pre-press environments and provide consulting services around what could be realised in cost savings by implementing automation where you may have not seen it before.

Author: Gary George

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3 Responses to “Creative thinking when it comes to automation”

  1. Andrzej Says:

    Regarding AdobePhotoshop Actions – I’ve been using it a lot. Few years ago when being a pre-Press step for the ‘creative’ part of staff. And it was simplyy because they’ve left me too few time for wasting it on manual job 😀

    BTW – there’s a lot of automation just waiting to be applied to every step of pre-media workflow. But, as usual, there’s still a lot of reluctance to ‘lose control’ of what’s happening with jobs…

  2. Rajesh Bhat Says:

    Automation – Great stuff isnt it. But very less people use it. I would rather ask how many of us make use of an application to its best. Distiller for example supports hotfolders for creating PDF’s automatically. Do we use them on regular basis? This is just a small example.

    We should use any application to its full and automate all the repetative tasks as much as possible. Most of the applicatiosn now a days supports automation. This saves time and has no errors.

    When it comes to workflow, the Enfocus products like Powerswitch, provides a lots of support in automating and one should make best of the workflows.

    I really enjoy creating automated workflows and processes to improve the efficiency and quality of output a lot.

  3. tele2002 Says:

    If the majority of users are not user the simple automation that is on offer directly in the applications, is what they offer simple enough to use?

    Look at automator in OSX, that is very very straight forward, yet what percentage of average users will build any type of action or droplet to utilize it?

    And, in our pre-press/pre-media space, should the ability to provide application level automation actually be part of what an operator should offer as one of their skills? Lets face it, who would you rather employee, someone who could bring some added value or someone who couldn’t!

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