The last decade has seen tremendous advances in the technology used to print full size architectural and engineering design drawings. The quality and speed of printers continues to improve while equipment prices and operating costs drop. This has given designers considerably more options when choosing the tools to commit their creativity to paper.
For architects, another trend has been the outsourcing of their large format printing to reprographers. Although this trend is now well established, most architects still find it convenient to be able to print full size drawings as check prints or for presentations. For this application there are many high quality inkjet printers available from Canon, Oce, HP and Epson. Typically these printers are used to print less than 1,000 square feet per month, and only a few sheets at a time. Many models have scanners as options enabling users to scan drawings to digital files or make copies.
While print volumes for architects have declined, engineers typically find it necessary to print multiple copies of larger drawings sets. LED (laser) printers are better suited for this role and capable of printing anywhere from 1,000 to 100,000 square feet per month, with differing degrees of paper handling efficiency for stacking and collating output. Most equipment in this category now comes standard with the ability to scan drawings in color to capture red lines and other notations. The primary manufacturers of large format LED printers are Oce, Ricoh and KIP, with Oce commanding the largest market share (41% of new placements in 2013).
A developing trend that could disrupt this pattern is the introduction of color devices capable of matching the speed of monochrome LED devices with very competitive operating costs. Most recently, Oce introduced the ColorWave 900, which can print design documents as fast as 12” per second (click here for a video demonstration)!
As equipment in this category becomes cost effective, designers will have the option to generate their plans in color, which will in turn aid in reducing mistakes in the construction process. This promises to be the “next big thing” in printing technology for the architectural, engineering and construction industries.
Brian assists customers in choosing the right wide format printers and scanners to fit their workflow and increase their productivity and efficiency. Prior to working for us, he was in the engineering industry. He has 12 years of experience and started with RJ Young in 2005. Brian is from the Dallas, TX area and works out of our Nashville, TN office. In his spare time he coaches middle school football, is heavily involved in his church and the local community.
Filing cabinets, lined up in rows and along walls, are not only taking up space, they are eating into your employee’s time, your organization’s bottom line and threaten both the compliance and continuity of your business. The good news is that same device that output those printed documents could be used as an input device, or on-ramp, to digital document management systems.
Consider a few facts regarding the cost of physical documents:
- $20 to file a document1
- $120 to find a misplaced document1
- $220 to recreate a lost document1
- $8 to $15 to physically send between locations1
- Average document is copied 19 times1
- 40% of businesses that suffer a catastrophic loss never recover2
Today’s multi-functional devices are capable of intelligent scanning and integrate into existing operating systems and workflows of most businesses. Below are four ways your multifunctional device, used as an on-ramp to a digital document management system, can increase efficiency and productivity in your business.
It’s important to think about how much can be saved by increased automation and improved productivity when gauging how much a document management system can reduce costs. For example, what is the cost of the filing cabinets, filing room storage and off site storage that could be eliminated? Can you reduce the cost of overnight document charges? Is it possible you could defer hiring additional full time employees due to increased productivity?
With I-9 errors on the rise, record fines from the SEC and HIPAA violations yielding record penalties, compliance across the board is increasingly important. Through back-file scanning or scanning of new incoming documents, intelligent scanning can kick off workflows to accurately store documents in a searchable central repository. These documents can then be easily located, from any location, within the repository. The documents are also protected with various levels of employee permissions which also creates an automatically generated log of access to document information for compliance purposes.
Collaboration in business helps you track progress or changes by keeping “live” content in a central repository system and giving access to sensitive business information to only those that need it. Documents and information can also be accessed, on demand, from any location.
4.Survive with Continuity
FEMA states that 40% of businesses never re-open after a catastrophic event and another 25% fail after one year. If you think about it your business insurance covers your equipment and inventory but if you are a business using filling cabinets and most of your data is stored on paper what is your insurance for that? How can you recover lost paper documents if they are destroyed in a disaster?
Areas that could have a great impact on the business with a document management system are accounts receivable, accounts payable, human resources management and contract management. Generally these areas handle large volumes of paper and proprietary information that could benefit from reversing the use of your multi-functional device from an output device to an input device and on-ramp to digital document management.
Sources: 1. Pricewaterhouse Coopers, 2. FEMA
Mark is responsible for the software sales and implementation teams. He has worked for RJ Young since 2013. Combined he has over 16 years of experience in the industry where 9 years were in IT and 7 years were in software. Mark works out of our Nashville, TN office and is originally from Montgomery, Alabama. In his spare time he volunteers for the United Way and enjoys kayaking, photography and craft beer.
Modern marketers are challenged to deliver materials “better, faster, cheaper, now!” When printing marketing collateral that equates to: high quality production, specialty papers, distinctive finishes, personalized messages, lesser budgets and tight (e.g. “we needed it yesterday”) timelines.
As early as five-years ago, offset printing, gang printing, black plate changes, generic messages and large print runs to inventory were the strategies to meet these demands.
Today, you can have it all with two steps. First, leverage advances in digital multi-functional printing devices. Second, employ marketing asset management software (AKA a web-to-print solution or Digital Storefront). These two things combined make high quality, on-demand printing and fulfillment of custom marketing materials possible.
Digital Printing Advancements
The first step to achieving it all is selecting in-house equipment or a printing partner with advanced digital production printing devices. Advanced digital printing technology allows for high quality printing, traditionally only achieved through offset printing. This includes accommodating specialty media, custom binding and advanced finishes such as aqueous coatings, color matching inks and even white ink. The equipment is also capable of executing variable data output for customized pieces.
These advancements make short runs of high quality, custom collateral affordable, or less expensive than traditional methods as you can print on demand with no large inventories and little to no waste.
Marketing Asset Management Software
The second step to having it all is selecting a marketing asset management tool, also referred to as web-to-print software or a Digital Storefront solution. This online software provides online intranets/portals to help organizations centralize, customize and distribute marketing assets and collateral. If you are looking for a solution to control your printing budget, this tool is the perfect solution, allowing you to set individual budgets or entire facility budgets with no ability to exceed without approval.
This empowers pre-approved sales teams, field marketers, and partners to create custom pieces that adhere to all corporate brand standards by selecting from pre-approved templates and variable data. Creative files are auto-generated, eliminating the need for graphic designers to version materials and for brand managers to approve materials.
These online portals are also act as a storefront for promotional and wearable items, so your complete marketing store is in one centralized portal. User log ins can also be linked to budgets to assist in budget management.
Once you leverage an online portal for creating custom collateral, this can be sent to digital production printing shops or equipment in-house and printed on demand, quickly and seamlessly.
Simply put, you can have it all with digital printing on demand and online marketing asset management software. No creative bottlenecks and with high quality outputs. For a truly seamless experience you can also seek a partner to source and warehouse promotional items for a complete end-to-end on-demand solution.
Scott manages the digital print sales team and provides valuable service to our clients requiring outsourced printing and promotional items. He joined RJ Young in 2012 and has been in the industry for 16 yrs. Scott is originally from Fairview, TN and works out of our Nashville, TN office. In his spare time he volunteers for multiple charitable organizations in the Nashville area.
Sometimes the easiest way to describe a well-designed network is to describe one that wasn’t. Poorly designed networks are like a house I saw on HGTV – built small by today’s standards, but typical for its era. As more room was needed, the owners built on more rooms; as electrical codes changed, the newer parts of the home received that wiring while the rest of the home was left with nylon-wrapped two-wire copper. The resulting home feels like a labyrinth of wasted space that you can’t plug anything new into.
Many small businesses have computer networks that are built like that home – a patchwork of reactivity to the need for increased capacity, new compliance standards or repairs to the existing infrastructure. These design choices result in inefficient and unreliable networks that are expensive to maintain due to complexity and lack of future planning. They are what I would label a purpose-evolved network.
An alternative to the purpose-evolved network is a well-designed one. A well-designed network incorporates a plan to address future needs for capacity and performance and is proactively maintained to avoid service interruptions that bring business to a halt. The network expenses are planned and budgeted. Assets – the components that make up your network – servers, switches, routers, wireless access points, PCs, laptops, smartphones and the software they run – are tracked and scheduled for refresh within a timeframe which is reasonable for performance and reliability that fits your IT budget. Components are chosen which deliver the best performance and reliability for the services your company needs to run while delivering the best five-year return on investment.
Much like you would want to know the methods a candidate for management in your company would employ to achieve their goals – another important design factor to consider is the makeup of your current or potential IT provider’s company itself. What tools do they have available to design and maintain your network – and what safeguards do they put in place to keep their own network running? This is important because whether you know it or not – an interruption in their network services will directly affect their ability to maintain yours.
You should talk with your existing IT firm or any IT firm you are considering about their design ideas.
- What factors do they consider in designing your network?
- How have they designed their own?
- What processes have they established in their business?
- Do they have standards in place that will help you achieve your own goals for performance and reliability?
If you don’t exit the conversation feeling like they are employing a good design, then it’s time to start looking for a firm that does.
James oversees the Chattanooga, Nashville and Huntsville markets of our managed IT Services department. In his role he manages service delivery and support of engineers in all regions, does security and compliance auditing, and works with businesses in network design, implementation and troubleshooting. He has been in the technology industry for over 24 years. James is originally from Boston, MA and works out of our Chattanooga office. He joined RJ Young in January 2013 through the acquisition of his previous company, Preferred Computers, Inc.
The advent of the digital age created a complete change for the office equipment industry. Up until the digital era it was not uncommon to find an office work area that included multiple analog devices that worked independent of the network. As the roll out of digital products became available companies began to acquire separate copiers, facsimiles, scanners, and printers. This transition of new digital products began to open up the opportunity for the network to become the hub for all devices.
Products could now be connected to the network and all devices became integrated and were no longer just single function. At the same time this transition was taking place, manufacturers began to produce devices that were termed all-in-one or Multi-Functional Devices (MFD). These MFDs allow the office user to have one machine that would copy, print, scan, and fax. This increased efficiency, reduced costs, and most importantly took less space.
Since the network was considered the hub, it was easy to see how with these devices now connected, other efficiencies became possible. These MFDs now became more than just an output device but also became the on ramp for the network. The end user in addition to copying and printing could now began to scan hardcopy files and transmit them through the network. This ability also increased the need for digital information management and a system to file, sort, and locate these digital documents.
With the total integration of products, the ability to move documents around the network, and software to manage the digital documents, we have seen business processes and workflow become very efficient. Today’s office is experiencing less of a need to rely on hard copy output but more on digital output. There has also been a shift to move documents to the Cloud which provides increased security and the ability to collaborate on projects. All of this would not be possible if it were not for digital. Evaluate the use of the MFDs in your office. Are these MFDs being used as ramps to productivity and efficiency in the digital age or still only output devices.
Hunter McCarty – COO