How Manufacturing IT Teams Can Save Money

Manufacturing companies operate 24/7. A single production failure could lead to hours or days of downtime. Even though the manufacturing industry’s revenue in the United States hit roughly $7 trillion in 2023, companies are still struggling with shortages and are implementing layoffs. 

To keep profit margins up and production running, manufacturing companies need to be smart about how they cut costs. One way to save money and prepare for the future is to invest in output management software. 

Output management software is similar to print management software, although output management software also includes features such as application modernization, formatting support, and integration with workflow management tools. 

Here are some of the ways output management software can help manufacturing companies cut costs and shore up their finances. 

 

Break Down Siloed Workflows

To stay competitive, manufacturing companies need to maximize their internal efficiency. Breaking down siloed workflows and becoming more agile will be the key differentiator between successful and unsuccessful manufacturing companies. In fact, a renewed focus on business agility was the top trend listed for 2024 manufacturing industry trends

Manufacturing organizations use many different systems to generate, store, and send supply chain and quality control documentation for production lines and tasks. These systems may not have native ways to communicate and integrate with each other. Although each system offers important services, it doesn’t always work together—and neither do the associated team members. 

Manufacturing IT teams can use an output management solution to help bridge that gap. To break down siloed workflows and unite different systems, your IT team can implement an output management solution that cuts costs on repetitive and unnecessary tasks, improves document visibility, increases collaboration, keeps documents consistent, and streamlines workflows and approvals. 

 

Control Print Volumes

Manufacturing IT teams can save their companies money by using output management systems to control print volumes. One way to do this is to implement printing quotas. 

Obviously, this can save money on printing materials and prolong the life of the printing machinery. However, there are other cost advantages associated with implementing print quotas. Quotas encourage employees to share documents virtually, which increases collaboration, streamlines document workflows, enhances the security of sensitive information, and improves overall efficiency.

By controlling print volumes, IT teams also get complete visibility into print activity and document distribution. This process ensures documents are delivered to the right place, at the right time, and in the right format. IT teams can help prevent errors and duplicate printing, too, which also saves print costs because there isn’t a need to reprint. 

 

Prevent Expensive Downtime 

Downtime is one of the most expensive mistakes that manufacturing companies can make. The costs add up to much more than the missed work. According to a 2022 Siemens report, unplanned downtime now costs Fortune Global 500 companies 11% of their yearly turnover. That downtime amounts to almost $1.5 trillion in losses.

Imagine that a manufacturing company misprints a batch of documents (such as shipping labels). It was a small error—maybe a single number was off, or a barcode was wrong. The mistake shuts down a large portion of the warehouse as employees scramble to figure out which labels are correct and which are wrong. All other processes stop, and shipping is paused. If some mislabeled products have been sent out already, a recall may be necessary. This downtime becomes drastically more expensive than the cost of the mis-shipped products alone. 

Output management software can prevent this expensive downtime. Manufacturing IT teams can keep the supply chain moving by controlling the flow of automated business processes in ERP environments. With the print and document management features of output management software, IT teams can minimize costly errors like barcode misprints or faulty ERP documents and meet data security compliance standards.

 

Protect Against Cybersecurity Risks

Cybersecurity should be top of mind for manufacturing companies’ IT teams. According to an IBM report, manufacturing was once again the top-attacked industry in 2023 for the third year in a row, representing 25.7% of cybersecurity incidents. Any kind of cybersecurity breach can lead to stolen information, lost data, PR and brand damage, and severe system downtime—all of which cost your company money. 

To protect your company and save costs, one of the first steps your IT team can take is to begin using output management software. Output management’s secure release printing features protect sensitive information by implementing access controls and encryption.

 

Avoid Regulatory Issues and Stay Compliant 

Ensuring the security and compliance of documents, especially sensitive or confidential information, is a significant concern for manufacturing enterprises. Compliance with regulations like GDPR or HIPAA can be challenging without proper controls. Additionally, many organizations struggle with effective document archiving, making it challenging to access historical documents when needed. 

To save money, manufacturing companies can invest in output management. Output management software keeps your documentation compliant, which can prevent hefty fines from regulatory bodies. Staying on top of compliance issues also helps future-proof your company against having to make larger and more expensive process changes later down the road. 

How Manufacturing Companies Benefit from Vasion’s Output Management Software

Vasion’s Output Management solution is ready to help manufacturing companies’ IT teams with their cost reduction strategies. By centralizing control, Output Management connects processes from legacy applications to manage all aspects of document distribution, printing, and routing for fewer expensive errors and increased efficiency. Through the unification of print and document processes, manufacturing companies can enjoy better data security while avoiding downtime. 

To see how Output Management from Vasion can help your manufacturing company cut costs, schedule your free demo today

Three Ways to Make Printing More Reliable

General office printing requires reliability and availability, so in-office and remote employees can continue their work. A direct IP printing model works well–it relies on a direct connection from the workstation to the printer without using the Internet. Even if an Internet outage occurs, printing continues.

But you’re not only managing general office printing. Your organization integrates many core business processes with electronic record and resource applications that store, manage, and generate documentation. This is especially prevalent in the healthcare industry with electronic health and medical record systems managing all patient information with physicians and nurses needing access to distribute care accurately. 

Your print servers are heavily tied to these vital business processes, intercepting spooled print jobs from the source application and distributing them to the printer or channel they need to go to. 

Consider an output management software.

Output management software either works with your print servers or replaces them entirely. It sits between the source application and your printers to facilitate communication. This software automates, manages, and distributes output from any source application to multiple channels, either physically or digitally. 

Here are three ways we suggest improving the reliability and efficiency of your output processes using output management software: 

1. Confirmed Delivery of Print Jobs

Printers on their own don’t give you all the information you need about the status of your print jobs. Most of the time, it’ll tell you it received the job, then radio silence. If your batch print job of 50 documents made it to page 35 on the first document before stopping, and it’s not a lack of paper or ink, you aren’t sure how to diagnose the issue. Or worse, you’re unaware of any issue until missing invoices, shipping forms, and contract pages grind everything to a halt. 

Output management software often provides bidirectional communication as part of the print job’s journey. It’s extra assurance and confidence that your print jobs and output processes were delivered where they need to go. These updates could also tell you what page the job failed on and what issue occurred, giving you the chance to address the issue immediately without hours of troubleshooting. 

2. Redundant, Low-footprint Infrastructure

Using a Windows, Linux, or Unix print server offers load-balancing and clustering as long as it’s configured and maintained properly, but often operates as a single point of failure if the servers crash from any kind of software or network issue, printing can’t continue, which, of course, is a detrimental interruption to your processes and workflows. 

Output management software doesn’t have to run on a print server. Some use a service client–a low-footprint client that performs similarly to a print server but is much simpler to spin up and maintain redundant instances, eliminating the single points of failure. Print jobs are spooled and received by a service client, load-balanced to the redundant clients, processed, and distributed simultaneously. With significantly less effort and maintenance, your processes can easily scale with your organization’s demands and speed. 

3. Rules-based Automation 

With the advancements in machine learning and robotic process automation in recent years, automation should be introduced in some form for your document processes. Automation can save employees three hours a day, roughly 30 hours a month, eliminating manual touchpoints such as converting individual files to PDFs for printing or reprinting if print jobs fail.

Setting rules that automatically perform specific actions when certain triggers and conditions are met significantly reduces, if not totally eliminates, manual tasking. One popular case is if a print job fails due to an unavailable printer, it automatically redirects to an available backup printer to complete the job successfully. Compounding with the hundreds of documents and outputs processed daily, this simple redirect rule significantly extends your environment’s value and reliability. 


Vasion’s Output Management solution has the reliability you’re looking for. 

Replace your Windows, Linux, or Unix print servers in your environment with a much more reliable and highly available Output Management solution that ensures any output makes it from your source applications where it needs to go, in the format it needs to be in, and when it needs to be there. The solution is backed by a robust feature set that ensures reliability at every stage:

 

If your organization manages multiple critical output processes for the business to function efficiently and successfully and is trying to do it over various disparate systems, or if you’re just looking for more reliability overall, chat with us about your goals, and we’ll discuss where we can help. 

Schedule a demo today.