Written by Barb Anselm, Vice President of the Gil Hatch Center for Customer Innovation at Xerox Corporation

I have the unique privilege to meet with many customers at the Gil Hatch Center for Customer Innovation and discuss what their primary focus is and what area of opportunities they foresee for their business. Over the last several months, it has been interesting to observe more printers focused on workflow and lean document production than ever before.

Dialogue around production workflow has increased over the past few months with workflow being seen as an opportunity that can grow a customer’s business and/or reduce their cost. In my discussions with customers in both in-plant environments and commercial print environments, investing in production workflow is an enabler that streamlines operations and provides print providers better access for their customers. Workflow automation optimizes processes that can result in reduced labor and training…all translating to reduced production cost.

How about lean document production (LDP)? What is it? LDP can be simply put by saying: drive costs down and productivity up. However, LDP is a comprehensive assessment of key operational matters including equipment types and usage, headcount, peak hours, job cycle times and much more to optimize a production environment’s processes. This methodology can manifest itself in value stream mapping or automated document factory but requires an investment of time (and maybe money) by management and the operations staff to properly evaluate their processes.

Workflow and LDP have been hot topics for many of our visiting customers. Even when many printers are reluctant to leave their operations for a day or two, others are attending workshops to make them stronger competitors, better able to serve their customers profitably by looking at production workflow and LDP.

What are your thoughts on production workflow and lean document production? Have you looked at these solutions to differentiate yourself from your competition?