Commercial Printing

Industry 5.0: The focus is on people

Digitalisation makes companies more efficient. Industry 5.0 puts print workers at the centre. The future lies in an open ecosystem.

30.05.2023
4 minutes 4 minutes
Table of Contents
Industry 5.0 can have many impacts on your processes - from prepress to finishing. The biggest challenge is to find out where inefficiencies lie and how employees can be relieved. An open ecosystem along the value chain is one solution. Read how Konica Minolta supports printing companies with project management and the right partners.

An article by Sacha-Vittorio Paolucci, Head of Industrial Printing Konica Minolta 

Digitalisation - also known as Industry 4.0 - offers huge opportunities for all industries -from administration to handicraft businesses to printing companies. Industry 4.0 connects service and production with IT. It is about networking customer data, suppliers, products and machines. Print shops can optimize their processes and derive from the data, for example to offer product and service innovations that solve their customers' problems at an early stage.  

Industry 5.0 puts the focus on people 

Industry 5.0 takes this idea idea one step further and puts people at the centre. It is about how new technologies can support employees and make work easier, how tedious tasks can be taken over by AI and how working time can be increasingly used for creative tasks. 

The solution lies in the fine art of using data wisely to make business processes more efficient. Processes can be streamlined or made more value-adding: 

  • Print jobs can be processed faster and more efficiently. 

  • Procurement is automated so that no one has to worry about reordering paper or new toner. 

  • Invoicing is done automatically at the end of the print job, which also saves resources. 

  • Data helps to upsell when advising customers. 

  • Employees get less routine work and have time for creative work. 

The goal of any print business should be end-to-end digitisation from receipt of the print job to delivery and invoicing. 

Konica Minolta supports its customers with a systematic approach on their way to Industry 5.0. The mission of the Konica Minolta team is to listen to printing companies, define their status quo and find out how they can connect in the next few years and where they want to be in five to ten years. We want to be there as a partner to help our customers achieve that goal. We focus on our customers' manufacturing strategies to ensure efficient and sustainable production capacity and to enable resilience and growth for our customers. Our focus is therefore no longer on what Konica Minolta can do as a print technology provider. We are focused on being a partner to print businesses at all levels, and on moving with you on the road to Industry 5.0.   

Open standards and automated workflows 

Konica Minolta is therefore working to establish a systematic, strategic and standardised structure as a basis for implementing processes and open technology. In short, the printing industry needs an ecosystem that is open to more applications - much like Android is open to apps inthe smartphone world. This is why Konica Minolta, unlike other printing companies, is committed to open standards and APIs. 

Printing today means so much more than just buying a new machine. It's about processes along the entire production chain, from prepress to postpress, as well as back office, sales, and accessories.  We used to think in terms of printed sheets. Today we think in terms of finished products, die-cut, gold-plated, assembled and delivered within the shortest possible time.  

Open ecosystems for letterpress and label-on-Demand-Print 

Moving a printing company towards Industry 5.0 is not easy - especially in an industry that is used to closed systems. But to meet the challenges of our time, the platform idea is the right solution.  

This is why Konica Minolta brings together existing partners who have more than 15 years of extensive expertise in both prepress and postpress. We draw on partners with many years of knowledge and bring them together with Konica Minolta as a general contractor to create a package of different solutions that work hand in hand. For printing companies, this means a long-term partnership and custom-fit approaches for the path to Industry 5.0. 

To do this, Konica Minolta is thinking about different ecosystems - for labels, for book publishers and Books on Demand, for Label on Demand and for packaging that support an efficient end-to-end approach. 

Motivating and retaining employees 

But the end-to-end approach doesn't just promote efficiency. New workflows also help with staff shortages. Many printing companies have neglected people with talent and given them manual, repetitive, almost boring tasks.  As a result, qualified people are becoming harder to keep. Employee loyalty is dwindling - as a result there is massive job hopping in the print market.  

In addition, COVID-19 has made people more aware of the importance of work-life balance. The entire print industry therefore needs to make work more interesting and creative again and encourage collaboration to attract talent to the print business and consider the human factor on both the PP and IP sides. Artificial intelligence, IoT sensors and robotics mean that industrial processes can be made even more efficient. In the process, the role of humans will also change, moving away from routine work towards more complex tasks such as programming and monitoring technologies. This is exactly what Industry 5.0 does. 

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