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Is Automation the Future of the Printing Industry?

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Is Automation the Future of the Printing Industry?

Some fabricators have doubts about how printing automation could help them improve their business. They wonder how technology could do a better job than the humans who have done it for so long. However, if you’re not utilizing automation for printing jobs, you’re not embracing the industry’s future.

Better technology can make jobs safer, faster and of higher quality. Can printing automation do the same for fabrication? Here’s a look at how this new tech can benefit you, your employees and your customers.

Why Should You Consider Automation?

When faced with the thought of introducing new technologies to your work floor, your first thought may be, “What can automation do for me? I’ve gotten along fine without it for years.” This is an excellent question to ask because there are plenty of ways it’s already improving manufacturing.

One company recently upgraded to automation in its fabrication and has seen impressive results. RenewAire experienced a boom in business and kept up with demand and production with automated machines. Its robotic laser punch, P4 panel bender and B3 press brake provided faster operation time. Reduced path time, precision and material-waste trimming have allowed the business to cut the lead time down by 40% on some parts. That’s beneficial for managers, workers and customers.

The benefits of an automated warehouse are also pretty impressive. Many businesses have reported automation has helped them improve delivery times, package-handling efficiency and order-fulfillment rates. Some have even reduced the need for humans. However, rest assured if you’re worried about automation affecting your employees. It’s entirely up to you if you’d like to implement it to that extent. Many companies have found ways to use automation alongside their workers, reducing wasted time, human error and injury rates.

Automation can also help improve sustainability. The machines operate as efficiently as possible, so you’ll reduce waste and unnecessary electricity use. You could start helping the planet with this new tech, combined with better supply and recycling. More efficient use of your machinery can help cut costs. The automated machines can tell where your facility is using too much energy and reduce your bills. New technologies may initially be costly, but they often end up saving money.

All in all, automation truly is the future of the printing industry. There are so many benefits it can offer to workplaces. Reducing human error, saving time and producing less waste are just a few. This technology lets you run more jobs in less time and makes them of better quality. You, your workers and your customers will love the efficiency and speed printing automation affords.

Ways to Use Printing Automation

You might be interested in finding some ways to integrate printing automation tech in your fabrication if all that sounds promising to you. These examples may pique your interest in investing in this exciting development.

1.    Auto Teaching

You’ll likely have to switch out colors often while printing. Each job can have different requirements. One might need to change after five or six colors, while the other needs laminating after two or three. Mistakes are easy with all these adjustments, and wasted time can fly by. The number of web paths you have to use can get overwhelming.

Luckily, printing automation can help solve that problem. You can tell the machine what web paths it needs to use and it will follow instructions without error. It can register the colors instantly, making the printing process more efficient. Automation makes job changing speedier than ever before.

2.    Printing Plate Pressure

The pressure on the plates transferring ink to material can change when humans use them. Each job can come out differently because of this. One label or print may get too much ink, soaking through the material, while another is far too light. This lack of quality control can lead to excessive waste and extended production times.

Automation controlling the plates will change things entirely. You can program the machine to keep the same pressure for an entire job. Instead of using too much or too little color, you’ll use exactly as much as you need every time. Any errors will be much easier to spot and change. These quick adjustments can improve quality control and make every product match.

3.    Feedback Systems

There isn’t a way to know when things start going wrong with traditional printing. One moment the job is running smoothly, and the next, you need to scrap a whole set of prints because an error started occurring during the process. Without getting feedback from the machine, you’ll have to guess what caused the problem and start over again.

Automation changes that. The machine can let you know exactly what’s going on once pressure-setting problems begin. This tells you where and why the error occurred so you can adjust the settings accordingly. Minimizing mistakes is a large part of printing automation, and this is a perfect example of how it can improve the process.

4.    Ink Use

Roller settings can significantly affect the quality of a print. Humans won’t intrinsically know how much ink to apply, making the quality of each project different. Extra ink can cause damage, while too little will decrease your efficiency. This part of the job can be a large source of error and unnecessary waste.

Automating this process lets the machine automatically know the right amount and density of ink to apply. This means each print comes out the same, creating consistency and showing where changes may be needed. You’ll also reduce the amount of wasted ink and flawed printing jobs.

Printing Automation Can Be the Future

New technology can only improve upon the ways of the past. Each advancement makes workers’ lives easier, with fewer mistakes, increased productivity and a stronger commitment to the company. Using printing automation technology allows you to embrace this progress.

Implementation may have a high initial cost, but the improvements you’ll see will likely make up the difference. Better production speeds, less waste and improved machine efficiency make automation the future of the printing industry.

Emily Newton is the Editor-in-Chief of Revolutionized, an online magazine showing how technology is disrupting many industries.

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Guest Post

7 Reasons Why Businesses Need a Great Product Availability Tracker

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Product Availability Tracker

Emily Newton is the Editor-in-Chief of Revolutionized, an online magazine showing how technology is disrupting many industries.

As an entrepreneur, you must work to ensure you have the correct products in the appropriate quantities. Solid product availability helps you meet client needs, retain good relationships with suppliers, and improve overall operations.

Tracking product inventory can be complicated, especially when your days are full of hands-on work. Luckily, stock tracker technology can help. Let’s take a more detailed look at product availability and why businesses should invest in excellent product availability tracking technology.

What Is Product Availability?

From an entrepreneurship standpoint, product availability ensures you have the correct amount of supplies in stock to satisfy your clients and customers.

When you have the correct supply available, you encourage your customers to make regular purchases from your business because you’ve established yourself as reliable.

Keeping track of your inventory can be complicated and time-consuming. A product availability tracking system can help ensure you have the correct amount of stock available at all times. Companies use various methods to track inventory, including:

  • Barcode scanning
  • Radio frequency identification (RFID) tags
  • Stock books
  • Kanban system

Some companies also invest in stock tracker technology that sends real-time alerts when they experience inventory changes, whether from changes in demand or other factors.

Types of Product Availability Alerts

Stock alerts can give you real-time updates about changes in your inventory. These alerts may include:

  • Notifications about low stock
  • Messages about bulk orders
  • Alerts about slow-moving stock
  • Notices about new shipments

With stock tracker alerts, you can easily keep track of your available stock so you always have products available to satisfy clients and customers.

Why Businesses Should Have a Great Product Availability Tracker

The process of tracking product inventory can be made easier with a great product availability tracker. Check out these seven reasons to invest in a stock tracker at your company:

1.    Creates a Positive Experience for Clients

One of the top priorities of any business is creating a good experience for customers and clients. It’s why so many companies prioritize customer service and relationships with their consumers. When you have everything your clients or customers need in stock at any given time, you can improve their relationship with your company and create a loyal consumer base.

Meeting your clients’ needs is essential for fostering a positive experience for them. If you often run out of certain items that your clients need, their projects might become delayed, they could become frustrated, or they might start visiting one of your competitors to find the items or parts they need.

2.    Helps You Avoid Stockouts

One of the worst feelings as a shopper is to walk into a storefront and see aisles upon aisles of empty shelves. A similar feeling can be evoked when necessary parts or items are out of stock online. Stockouts can happen for various reasons, including underestimating the demand for a product and forgetting to place an order for restocking.

Product inventory alerts can inform you when the demand changes for certain products or parts. With that information, you can make more informed forecasting decisions about which products to purchase and in what quantities. This will help you provide sufficient stock so you don’t lose any loyal customers.

On the other hand, understanding your inventory can help prevent purchasing too much stock and losing money on items you don’t sell.

3.    Understand Sales Trends

With access to real-time product availability information, you can analyze and understand your business’s sales trends. This is especially helpful if your company experiences massive sales in one month and a lull the next, and you’re not sure why.

Getting a clearer picture of what products aren’t selling and which ones are in demand can be a valuable tool for the overall effectiveness of your company.

4.    Keep a Good Relationship With Your Supplier

Many moving parts make up a successful business, including participation from suppliers, distribution companies, and more.

If you source parts or materials from a supplier, having a product availability tracker can make your relationship with them more seamless and efficient. You can be more specific about your needs and foster a better relationship complete with open communication with your suppliers.

5.    Ensures Your Records Are Accurate

By implementing an effective inventory management system, you can gain a better understanding of your production limits and other processes so you can continually improve.

Keeping a detailed record of your inventory ensures your most essential records are accurate and up to date. If your records are inaccurate, you could face stockouts and issues with order fulfillment. Inventory alerts help you accurately keep track of that important data.

If your company has multiple locations, it’s even more important to standardize your inventory tracking to maintain consistency across your operations.

6.    Improve Your Operations

When you receive inventory alerts based on how many parts or products you have available, you can stay organized during busy selling periods, maintain control over your operations, drive sales, and determine when it would be appropriate to raise or lower your prices.

You can also delegate employees to higher-priority tasks when you have the ability to let stock tracker alerts and technology take the brunt of inventory management. This makes your operations overall more efficient and well-managed.

Tracking Product Inventory With Stock Alert Technology

If you’re looking for a more effective way to track your inventory and make your operations more efficient, stock alert technology might be the necessary next step. Tracking product inventory improves your relationship with your clients and customers, makes communication easier with suppliers, helps you identify your business’s strengths and weaknesses, and ensures your most essential records are accurate and up to date.

Like any entrepreneur, your days are full of hands-on work on the company floor. With product availability software, you don’t have to spend any more time tracking and analyzing your inventory and you can get back to what you’d rather be doing – building your business and interacting with clients and customers.

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Top Skills Every IT Professional Should Develop

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it professional skills

Whether you’re contemplating getting into the field of information technology or you’re already an IT specialist wanting to further your career, there are a number of hard and soft skills you need to develop in order to ensure success. These capabilities look great on a resume, they make you a more well-rounded job candidate, and they can enable you to become a more valued and efficient employee as well. With that in mind, here are the top skills you should develop to reach success as an IT professional:

Coding skills

Coding skills are among the most basic competencies every employer will look for in IT professionals. If the role involves programming and software or web development, that could also mean seeking proficiency in several programming languages, considering how most systems are built. That is why you should aim to expand your coding knowledge even if you’re already familiar with a couple of languages. Some of the most common competencies you should consider developing include C++, HTML, Python, Java, JavaScript, PHP, Ruby, etc. Training for advanced certifications and practical experience is also recommended.

Troubleshooting

To reach success in the IT world, you will also need to have exceptional troubleshooting and problem-solving skills. Whenever team members encounter tech issues that prevent them from completing their work, they will likely turn to the IT department to solve them if they can’t do it on their own. In certain roles, IT professionals may also be required to work with challenging and time-consuming algorithms. Unfortunately, extensive technical knowledge, hard skills, and years of practical experience are the only factors that could truly be of help when it comes to finding the right solutions in this area.

Analytical skills

Regardless of the specific role, each IT specialist will be involved in a number of projects that entail the analysis of database activity and recommending suitable solutions. Having the ability to think analytically and critically can help in discovering the right solutions that are needed for performing the job efficiently. Analytical thinking can also aid in processes such as troubleshooting, as well as making you more employable. To develop your critical-thinking skills, you can build reason through logic, do question assumptions, seek out diversity of thought, or take a specialized course.

Business administration

Developing your business acumen is important for any career, but it becomes even more vital in such a tough and competitive field as IT. For that reason, it might be a good idea to get an online MBA degree to enhance your resume. Allowing you to become a Master of Business Administration, this degree will help you develop core competencies such as business strategy, ethics, economics, finance, leadership, marketing, etc. Covering a wide array of crucial business skills, an MBA degree can aid in expanding your horizons, landing a better, higher-paying role, or simply boosting your career to the next level.

Project management

Dealing with several projects at the same time is quite common in the IT industry, which is why it might be wise to consider building your project management skills. Whether you decide to take a course or even develop these competencies yourself, the most important skills you should focus on include time management, planning and forecasting, budgeting, risk control, tracking and monitoring, and the use of specialized software. Having the ability to manage your workload effectively will demonstrate your multitasking and goal-reaching skills, which will appeal to any employer.

Organizational skills

Being organized when performing your work responsibilities is how you become a productive employee, and is another highly sought-after skill. Companies tend to prioritize candidates who can show good organizational skills, as it demonstrates their ability to perform well and follow a set schedule. New challenges that affect how you manage your workload can present themselves each day at work, and staying organized is a great way to show productivity, efficiency, and real value to employers. So, aim to build these beneficial skills through goal-setting, prioritization, categorization, rewards, etc.

Communication skills

Great communication skills are vital in all aspects of life, including the workplace. This is a very important universal skill that can help you interact with coworkers positively, collaborate with others efficiently, and assist with tech-related concepts effectively. Chances are high that you will work in a team as an IT professional, and you may need to talk to other departments, managers, and clients in many cases as well. Ensure you can communicate clearly and productively in any case, by contemplating sentences, being specific and brief, listening carefully, watching your body language, and checking all messages before sending.

From hard skills such as coding and troubleshooting to soft skills like organization and communication, the job of an IT professional can encompass a number of different competencies. Focus on the main ones mentioned above to enhance your resume and increase your chances of success.

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Simple Ways to Reduce Expenses when Managing a Vehicle Fleet

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Vehicle Fleet

If you own a fleet of vehicles, you are likely already aware of just how difficult managing day-to-day operations can be. Maintaining safety, punctuality, and efficiency is challenging enough without needing to weigh the often high maintenance costs and profitability as well. To make fleet management a simpler and more streamlined process, you will have to find new ways to save money in different areas of operation. With that in mind, here are some simple tips that might be of help:

Utilise cards and points

One of the easiest ways to save money on fleet management is to reduce your fuel costs. You can easily get special fuel cards for your drivers or even payment cards that allow you to collect points, get unique discounts, and reduce your fuel expenses. Depending on the type of card you select, you may also gain access to unique benefits such as fixed fuel prices close to the wholesale value, no interests and fees, lower admin costs, reduced risk of fuel fraud, etc. Don’t forget that fuel is a business expense that can be used as a tax write-off.

Focus on efficient driving

Drivers can impact fuel efficiency as well, reportedly around 30%. To reduce consumption and ensure safe conditions, it’s important to educate your drivers on the most efficient tactics. This includes avoiding harsh acceleration, hard braking, inconsistent and excessive speeds, and idling, as they can all quickly burn fuel. Air conditioning should also be used in moderation to increase fuel efficiency, and the weight of vehicles should be reduced as much as possible to avoid a negative effect on fuel consumption.

Use a telematics system

Combining onboard diagnostics with a GPS system, telematics is used to monitor fleet activity. These systems can map and record the exact speed and location of vehicles, and cross-reference this data with how cars are behaving internally. Tracking fleet information through telematics systems and making changes according to the collected data can go a long way toward reducing expenses. The right solution could also aid in identifying the most efficient routes, detecting when and where to refuel for cost optimisation, highlighting unfavourable driver behaviour, boosting employee morale and retention, and more.

Prioritise maintenance

Although often overlooked, regular maintenance can drastically cut costs in the long run. Checking your vehicles following a set schedule and making smaller repairs as you go is much more cost-effective than only repairing or replacing parts once they break down. Australian fleet managers, for instance, are well aware of this fact. That is why they often perform tyre replacement in Sydney with the most experienced mechanics. Not only can these experts deliver a fast and efficient service that prevents downtime, but they can carry out other crucial maintenance checks as well. Consider visiting similar professionals in your area for maintaining optimal operations.

Reconsider vehicle types

In order to minimise your expenses even further, you may want to reconsider the types of vehicles you have in your fleet. For example, many European companies have recently decided to switch to electric cars. Local governments offer incentives and subventions for green practices, including electric vehicles and renewable energy sources, which saves businesses a notable sum throughout the year. If you have similar opportunities, think about making the necessary changes that will aid in savings. If not, even reducing the weight of your vehicles and comparing the reliability and performance of your current fleet with new vehicles can help you make economical decisions.

Reduce the size of the fleet

While this may be an obvious way to save a larger amount, many companies rarely rethink the size of their fleets. But if you perform a more thorough assessment every once in a while, you might find that there are a number of vehicles you can replace or even entirely eliminate. Consider your current needs and daily business operations, as well as the overall workload and whether it can be distributed across the fleet in case you decide to downsize. If everything looks good and manageable, don’t be afraid to make a few cuts.

Invest in a good insurance

Regardless of the type or the size of your fleet, insurance should be a regular aspect of your business. It can keep both your vehicles and your company protected while reducing your expenses in terms of covering the cost of repairs and replacements if accidents and breakdowns ever occur. Instead of insuring every vehicle separately, go for a comprehensive policy that covers the entire fleet. You can enjoy the same benefits with this type of insurance, along with reduced premiums in many cases. When choosing the right cover for your fleet, try to shop around and consult professional brokers to make the best decision.

Efficient fleet management can often be a challenging and expensive task. Use the advice mentioned above to reduce costs and find new growth and success opportunities for your business.

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