Commercial Printing

Four common misconceptions of digital transformation

For print service providers digital transformation is set to be transformative but there are some misconceptions. Here we clear them up.

4 minutes 4 minutes
Table of Contents
Digital transformation is increasingly recognised as a critical step for print service providers seeking to enhance their operational efficiency and optimize their competitive edge in a rapidly changing print production marketplace. However, there are several misconceptions surrounding digital transformation that can undermine its effectiveness and impact potential benefits. Here we explore the four common misunderstandings. We also identify the realities of a successful transformation strategy in this digital age.

1. New software processes will result in smooth transformation

Myth: A common misconception is that the simple adoption of new software processes or systems will lead to a smooth and beneficial digital transformation. This underestimates the complexity involved in integrating new technologies within existing business process. While new software tools can offer powerful capabilities, their introduction alone will not achieve the desired results if the current processes are flawed or inefficient. To exploit software’s full potential, the processes in which the software is used must be completely rethought, as in most cases adjustments are necessary. New software can prove efficient and error-free when it is not only used as middleware but as part of an end-to-end approach.

Reality: Before implementing new software systems, decision-makers should undertake a comprehensive end-to-end review of existing processes. This will help identify and understand inefficiencies, redundancies, and bottlenecks that can hinder the effectiveness of new approaches. This critical assessment and process re-engineering is essential to ensure new digital tools deliver the expected improvements and help prevent the exacerbation of existing challenges.

2. Change should be localised

Myth: Another misconception is that digital transformation initiatives should be localised or limited to specific departments within an organisation. This approach is often taken to minimise risk or disruption. However, digital transformation can shape every print production process and needs a coordinated approach to be fully effective.

Reality: Adopting a holistic approach to digital transformation more effective. When changes are implemented across the entire organisation, it ensures consistency, facilitates better data integration, and leverages synergies between different departments. This comprehensive approach enhances the potential benefits of the digital transformation journey and promotes a unified culture that embraces change.

3. Employees will readily embrace transformation

Myth: There is often an assumption that employees will automatically embrace new digital tools and processes. However, the reality is that change can be daunting, and not everyone is prepared or willing to adapt to new ways of working.

Reality: Successful digital transformation requires active change management and employee engagement strategies. It is essential to communicate the benefits and necessity of change effectively and provide the right training and support. It is crucial to recognise and address employee concerns and challenges as part of the transformation. Employers should acknowledge that issues arising during the transition are often due to the change process itself, not employee errors. Making employees feel valued and involved in the transformation can significantly ease the transition and create a positive culture of continuous improvement.

4. Digital transformation will result in job losses

Myth: One of the most challenging myths is that digital transformation inevitably leads to job losses, with increased automation and digital tools replacing human workers. This mindset can create resistance among employees and can be a significant barrier to embracing much needed evolution that help an operation remain competitive.

Reality: While digital transformation can lead to shifts in job roles, it does not necessarily result in fewer jobs. Often, work simply evolves. While jobs that involve repetitive tasks may decrease, more creative, analytical, and strategic roles typically emerge. As a result, digital transformation can be seen as an opportunity for job transformation rather than job elimination. Employees can be retrained to leverage new technologies to perform their tasks more effectively and creatively. They can take on new roles that add greater value.

Moving forward with digital transformation

Understanding and addressing these misconceptions is crucial for any print service provider embarking on a digital transformation journey. They should focus on thorough planning, holistic implementation, active employee engagement, and continuous adaptation to evolving technological landscapes.

When considering how to review what digital transformation can achieve, it's important to engage with stakeholders to align technology choices with business strategy, goals and needs. Explore digital systems and solutions that can support specific business objectives, ensuring they integrate well with the operational requirements and enhance the overall strategy.

What to consider regarding your transformation

When reviewing digital transformation opportunities, it's important to consider the entire operation and business processes. Identify current ways of working, bottlenecks, and pain points. Consider areas where automation, data integration, or new digital tools could streamline workflows and drive efficiency.

Digital printing solutions can play a key role in transforming traditional print operations. They can introduce some potential improvements and capabilities. They include:

  1. Variable Data Printing - Allows customisation and personalisation of printed materials through digital printing, enabling more targeted and effective marketing campaigns.

  2. Web-to-print Solutions - Provides an online ordering portal for print jobs, automating ordering and reducing manual touchpoints.

  3. Workflow Automation - Digital printing workflows with prepress automation can significantly reduce labour costs and turnaround times.

  4. On-Demand Printing - Enables printing of what is needed when it is needed. Shorter runs that match demand help reduce inventory costs from overproduction. The latest software developments have focused on improving efficiencies, but their effectiveness can be hampered by existing faulty processes. 

  5. New Applications - Digital printing allows operation to expand their product portfolio with applications such as variable packaging, labels, and wide-format graphics. Label & Packaging: More productive with structured data | KONICA MINOLTA

Print service providers should look for ways to integrate new capabilities into automated workflows spanning ordering, prepress, printing, finishing and distribution. They should partner with experienced solutions providers to help identify the right investments in new technology and steps for seamless integration and friction free transformation.

By debunking these misconceptions and approaching digital transformation with a clear, informed strategy, print service providers can maximise the benefits of their digital initiatives. They can deliver a competitive advantage and enable future resilience, agility, and growth.

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