Skip to main contentClick to view our Accessibility Statement or contact us with accessibility-related questions.
A man pushing pallet of printed output in print shop overlayed with gear icons

Zero Downtime: Building Towards the Dream

It’s either a pipe dream or the Holy Grail of printing.

Some say it’s impossible. Others, that it’s just elusive. Whatever the reality, zero downtime would be a dream come true for just about any printer. No one wants to see idle machines haunting their plant floor. Especially today.

With cost pressures squeezing cents and dollars from margins, the print technology you invest in needs to work harder than ever to pull its weight. The price of an hour’s downtime is greater than ever.

So how do you push productivity to the extreme? Here are some tips for those trying to achieve the dream of zero downtime.

Apply Your Tech to the Right Jobs

Maximizing uptime is all about automating the friction out of workflows. But boosting productivity comes with its caveats. Bill Gates famously mapped out the two ways automation can go for your business: 

“The first rule of any technology used in a business is that automation applied to an efficient operation will magnify the efficiency. The second is that automation applied to an inefficient operation will magnify the inefficiency.”

So what does that mean for you? You need to evaluate your equipment and play to its strengths. Scale up your most efficient, lucrative activities and try to wean yourself off the rest. If you spot gaps in your infrastructure that are holding you back, invest in the technology that will open up that opportunity—if the returns will justify the investment. Innovation is no good if the result is clunky processes and half-speed workflows.

A man and a woman at a laptop in a print shop

Work the Flow

When printing doesn’t flow, it fails. And as you push towards capacity, the process pitfalls that lie just beneath the surface get bigger and bigger. To stop cracks from appearing in your workflows, you need to do two things well: automate and simplify.

Use web-to-print portals so customers can easily order prints to their preferred specifications again and again. Remove touches from your prepress processes wherever you can. Automate decision-making using smart workflows and conditional logic. And look at processes end-to-end instead of in a series of segments. Super-slick silos are still silos, and stitching processes together leaves gaps at the seams.

Since reliability is paramount, you’ll also want to work redundancy into your flow so important jobs can be moved to a backup printer if needed. This may seem like a downtime catch-22—where working to capacity requires spare capacity—but no one said dreams were easy to nail down.

Want to learn more about how to make your work flow?

Read our post 5 Workflow Jams and How to Avoid Them.

Keep Your Eyes Peeled

You can’t fill the gaps in your workflows if you don’t know they exist. Visibility is everything. So make sure you keep your team in the loop and that everyone who needs it has access to reporting dashboards and other relevant metrics. Set up automatic alerts that immediately notify the right people when something goes wrong, not further down the line when it causes a bottleneck.

Customers need clear visibility of their order too. So keep them up to date with email notifications as part of your web-to-print service. They’ll be happier, and your staff won’t be bogged down on the phones answering customer queries.

Don’t Just Focus on Filling Your Order Book

Before you try to supercharge your operation, take the time to see where the efficiencies and inefficiencies lie. Find your sweet spot—whether it’s a job type such as custom variable or wide format, or a customer type such as small companies in specific verticals.

If you’re on the journey from print service provider to marketing services provider then look for opportunities to process more value-add jobs and cross-media services. This will help to solidify your status as a strategic partner for the long term.

Holy Grail or pipe dream, zero downtime represents a very real ambition to get the most out of your production printing equipment.

Could you take a slice off your downtime by tightening up your workflow automation?

Learn more here.

Xerox Versant 180 Press

The 7 leaps forward of print technology

How adopting advanced print technology can help your bottom line.

workflow automation new business processing

Workflow Automation

What every printer needs to know

Related Articles

  • Two employees at Rapidity review print samples from their Xerox Iridesse Production Press

    UK printer delivers high-value projects while lowering environmental impact

    Rapidity gains efficiency, versatility with Xerox® Iridesse® Presses

  • people on bridge color roof

    Power Up Your Production Print Profitability

    Our infographic provides an at-a-glance look at the latest industry intelligence to help put your production print operation on the path to profit and growth. Download it now.

  • Children sitting at table with teacher working on computers

    Improved Student Engagement

    See how using Xerox® Baltoro® HF Inkjet Press helps school DCMO BOCES deliver more-engaging educational content while saving significant costs.

  • Person in a darkened room peering at a large monitor

    Getting Started with Xerox® FreeFlow® Core

    Join our Xerox virtual webinar to help streamline your pre-press workflow and say goodbye to touchpoints and bottlenecks.

  • woman on phone with laptop

    How Print Service Providers Can Drive Profitability

    Download our checklist to help you stay ahead of industry headwinds and be more profitable while managing the shift toward shorter, faster turnaround jobs.

  • production print documents

    Solving Print's Pain Points

    Explore the latest trends and solutions in print operations with Printweek’s special supplement, sponsored by Xerox. Gain insights into digital transformation, efficiency, and sustainability for your print business.