Printing optimization

Discussion in '4-Color Offset Presses +' started by schoolprinter, Feb 27, 2024.

  1. schoolprinter

    schoolprinter Member

    Joined:
    Feb 2024
    Messages:
    6
    Location:
    Bronx, NY
    We are a high performing public charter in the So Bronx looking for ideas to streamline and improve our surprisingly large printing process.
    • We have ~22 printers, mostly Konica Minolta (12 KM-C4080, and various others), in 4 locations not far from each other.
    • Last year, we printed 27 million copies or our 1600 K-8 scholars for daily packets in 190 school days.
    • 37% of our printed pages were color, but we think only about 10% of our actual curriculum documents are in color, so there may be optimization there.
    • The printing processes at our 4 schools are operated independently, but the packs for 9 grades are mostly uniform by grade each day.
    • I am capable moving and manipulating data and can deliver these as pdfs or any other document type at least 5 days prior to the needed date, and might be able to increase lead time if I can build the case.
    I can feel in my bones that our process is not optimal, and I am looking for pointers/ideas about a strategy for optimizing into larger print runs and/or outsourcing some or all of the process. After two days of surfing, I am not finding much helpful information.

    This is my first time on this forum, so if I'm asking in the wrong way or wrong place, please let me know. Any feedback you offer would benefit disadvantaged children! Thank you
     
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2024
  2. Jack liston

    Jack liston Senior Member

    Joined:
    Sep 2019
    Messages:
    272
    Location:
    Connecticut
    You are in the right place but not the right section.you may be able to talk to printing community in the copier section of this forum.also I would suggest you reach out to some of the larger schools in the area like hostos or lehman.or even City of New York. Good luck with your search . kids are worth the effort
     
    schoolprinter likes this.
  3. Adil

    Adil Senior Member

    Joined:
    Nov 2021
    Messages:
    865
    Location:
    Casablanca
    It's great that you're looking to optimize your printing process! To streamline and improve efficiency, consider the following strategies:

    Centralized Printing Hub: Consolidate printing to a central location, reducing the number of printers needed. This can enhance control and maintenance.

    Color Usage Analysis:Review the necessity of color printing for curriculum documents. If only 10% require color, explore options to minimize color usage, such as defaulting to grayscale for non-essential materials.

    Batch Printing : organize print jobs by grade or subject, allowing for larger and more efficient print runs. This minimizes the setup time for each job.

    Print Scheduling:Utilize a schedule to plan print jobs in advance. Your ability to deliver data early allows for more time-efficient printing, reducing last-minute rushes.

    Outsourcing: investigate outsourcing options for large print runs. Professional printing services may offer cost-effective solutions and free up resources for other tasks.

    Workflow Automation: Explore automation tools to streamline the process further. Automated workflows can reduce manual intervention and errors.

    Printer Maintenance Schedule: Implement a regular maintenance schedule for printers to prevent breakdowns and ensure optimal performance.

    Cost Analysis: Conduct a thorough cost analysis, including printing in-house versus outsourcing. Consider factors like maintenance, consumables, and staff time.

    Environmentally Friendly Practices: Adopt eco-friendly practices, such as double-sided printing and optimizing paper usage, to reduce costs and environmental impact.

    Staff Training: Ensure staff is trained on the optimized printing process to maximize efficiency.

    Remember, a phased approach to implementation may be beneficial. Assess the impact of each change before moving to the next. Good luck with your efforts to improve the process for the benefit of the students!
     
  4. schoolprinter

    schoolprinter Member

    Joined:
    Feb 2024
    Messages:
    6
    Location:
    Bronx, NY
    You have perfectly summarized the all of the ideas going through my head. It would help to have suggestions about a book/article/forum that discusses *how* to do these steps, or tools or services that can organize or help us organize it. You would need to understand printers and their capabilities, software tools and probably also operations research. There would be so many variables for me to learn as a novice in this domain, and I'm not sure I have the bandwidth to recreate the wheel! Assuming there must be others who have dealt with this same problem.
     
  5. Adil

    Adil Senior Member

    Joined:
    Nov 2021
    Messages:
    865
    Location:
    Casablanca
    Absolutely, there are resources and tools that can guide you through the process
    - Investigate workflow automation tools such as EFI Fiery Servers or PulseDirect to streamline and automate your printing processes.
    - Connect with professional associations like the Printing Industries of America (PIA) for access to industry expertise, events, and resources.
    - Explore forums like PrintPlanet and MyPrintResource, where professionals share insights and discuss best practices in the printing industry i hope we have the same discussion here
    In color printing forum
    - Books like "Operations Research: An Introduction" by Taha can provide a foundational understanding of operations research concepts applicable to process optimization.
    - Reach out to Konica Minolta's support or resources section for insights into optimizing their specific printer models.
    - Consider exploring Lean Manufacturing principles, as they can offer valuable insights into process optimization. Books like "The Lean Six Sigma Pocket Toolbook" by George or "Lean Thinking" by Womack and Jones are good starting points.
    - Research outsourcing platforms like Printivity or PrintNinja to understand the services they offer and whether outsourcing is a viable option.
    Remember to assess your specific needs and constraints as you explore these resources. Learning from others who have faced similar challenges can provide valuable shortcuts in your optimization journey.
     
    schoolprinter likes this.
  6. schoolprinter

    schoolprinter Member

    Joined:
    Feb 2024
    Messages:
    6
    Location:
    Bronx, NY
    I'm guessing these are coming from chatGPT, and they add to my knowledge and are very much appreciated, but they don't solve my problem. I need an expert who has actually grappled with this problem or one like it!
     
  7. junker1984

    junker1984 Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jan 2010
    Messages:
    1,035
    Location:
    US, Midwest
    Artificial intelligence…is just that:D
     
  8. Jack liston

    Jack liston Senior Member

    Joined:
    Sep 2019
    Messages:
    272
    Location:
    Connecticut
    There are resources in the city of New York.reach out to General printing office if you can. Or maybe University of Rochester. They had a large print community
     
  9. schoolprinter

    schoolprinter Member

    Joined:
    Feb 2024
    Messages:
    6
    Location:
    Bronx, NY
    Thank you very much, I will research that angle.
     
  10. turbotom1052

    turbotom1052 Senior Member

    Joined:
    Oct 2008
    Messages:
    1,051
    Location:
    Vermont
    This is the point where you may need to dig into pocket and hire a specialized sort of consultant. As helpful as this forum is when it comes to very specific and pointed advice to questions, it seems to be that what you're looking for may be a bit too broad to be thoroughly covered here. Sounds to me that what you're in need of is a business model!!!
     
  11. schoolprinter

    schoolprinter Member

    Joined:
    Feb 2024
    Messages:
    6
    Location:
    Bronx, NY
    Ha, We have a business model, we are a school educating young scholars! I guess I was hoping an enterprising consultant might appear, but none has. After more research, my perception is that the manufacturers and leasing/servicing companies have set this all up in a way which is very beneficial to them, but less so for end customers needing a large volume of regular printing. Maybe there would be a good business model for an independent consultant to evaluate and maybe aggregate print flows.
     
  12. turbotom1052

    turbotom1052 Senior Member

    Joined:
    Oct 2008
    Messages:
    1,051
    Location:
    Vermont
    I worked in the NYC printing trade for the better part of 30plus years. The industry has died in New York but you may be able to still find a printing broker doing biznez in the tri state area. You can be pretty certain that this printing broker if he still exists will call himself a printing company but will likely just have office space and a willingness to hustle the needs of print buyers. This just might be the type of guy you might use to pull it all together for you if there still exists such a person.
     
  13. schoolprinter

    schoolprinter Member

    Joined:
    Feb 2024
    Messages:
    6
    Location:
    Bronx, NY
    Yes, that is the kind of guy I was probably fishing for! It seems like somebody would want to aggregate ~25m predictable weekly copy volumes (20% color) in the Bronx.
     

  14. turbotom1052

    turbotom1052 Senior Member

    Joined:
    Oct 2008
    Messages:
    1,051
    Location:
    Vermont
    My guess would be that you may have to cross the river to NJ as an unfavorable biznez climate has pretty much killed the printing industry in the 5 boroughs, and is quickly killing others. Does your charter mandate that you only do biznez with NYC companies?
    There is a company that for decades was located in NYC that has since moved across the river into Harrison NJ. The companies name is Precise Continental Printing. The person you would want to talk with would be either Jim or Sheila Donnelly. You could tell them that Tom Hanley sent you. These folks are some of the best at what they do and will not disappoint. They are full service so will be able to take care of all your needs, and will actually do the work in house as opposed to just acting as a middleman. Just a short hop on the Path train would have you there in minutes from Da Bronx.
     
Loading...