“We’ve always strived to be on the cutting edge of newer technology, software, equipment, and automation,” says Wallace Carlson COO Charlie Cox. “That was always our differentiator: pulling away from the rest of the pack and putting ourselves in a little bit of blue water.”
The impetus to improve its workflow stems from a movement five years ago at Wallace Carlson, when company leaders realized a need to adopt newer, advanced equipment and software systems while also looking at the potential artificial intelligence and robotics will offer. Two years into that initiative, Wallace Carlson purchased the Midmarket Print Suite, a comprehensive workflow that uses EFI Pace MIS/ERP software at its core, to streamline the company’s state-of-the-art production capabilities.
Last year, after investing nearly $4 million in equipment and operations, Cox felt it was important to focus on training and reworking processes and procedures to ensure that the company was mastering and making maximum use of its existing Midmarket Print Suite workflow capabilities. Enhancing scheduling was the next logical step for the company.
In September, Cox took the leap toward advanced, dynamic scheduling, purchasing EFI PrintFlow software for Wallace Carlson’s workflow Suite. “We knew the time would come when we’d have to implement more of an electronic scheduling module,” says Cox. “We looked at the other offerings in the marketplace, but PrintFlow just seemed to really dominate. And, with its compatibility with Pace, it just made perfect sense to bolt it on and tie it all together.”
Automating manual processes
The company, which caters to the packaging, secure packaging, pharmaceutical, financial, corporate, and education sectors, has been scheduling jobs manually, which can be very time-consuming. With PrintFlow, which Cox expects will be fully operational in the first quarter of 2021, the scheduling process will be more concise and transparent, which will help the company continue to improve and grow.
“What we’re experiencing today is not uncommon in a company experiencing growing pains, and we’ve had a nice growth trajectory for probably the last three years,” says Cox. “Even with the pandemic and everything that’s going on in our world today, we’re still going to post some growth this year.” The PrintFlow investment will help Wallace Carlson tighten up internal processes, ensuring that growth does not come at the expense of productivity.
The software, a leading, award-winning solution for automated scheduling in print and packaging operations, uses an advanced optimization rules engine to address a company’s specific needs and characteristics. PrintFlow processes users’ specific data to give them the power to optimize job sequencing. As a result, companies can efficiently synchronize production while considering a multitude of issues that can affect each step of each job.
No more scheduling guesswork
PrintFlow generates automated, up-to-the-minute run lists and can create optimal production paths to help users build a better, more profitable, and more efficient business. At Wallace Carlson, the software will allow for the synchronization and sequencing of orders based on job characteristics and production constraints, eliminating guesswork and manual juggling of scheduling variables.
“I’m really optimistic we will recognize efficiencies in all areas, including tighter scheduling in our press department, and less non-chargeable time, which could be in any department,” says Cox of his upcoming switch to PrintFlow scheduling. “We spend a fair amount of time in the company asking, ‘What’s next?’ ‘Is this ready?’ ‘Is that ready?’ You add that up over a year, and it’s a lot of wasted time.”
Wallace Carlson’s clients, according to Cox, also stand to benefit. “The ultimate goal here is customers will see a faster return on their marketing investments. In the grand scheme of things, clients will be able to get their product to market faster, which is a win-win for us and them,” he said.