by Piet De Pauw, Head of Marketing
Quick Start Automation for Newbies
Bluetree Group’s print division had a simple goal. They wanted to make buying print as easy and fast as possible, for everyone from individuals to businesses.
Close attention to customer needs and high-quality products meant business was good. But manual processes meant that time was being lost everywhere in the production chain.
As sales grew, time was getting critically overstretched. Everyone at Bluetree knew automation was essential to keep business growing. But there was a problem…
No one at Bluetree knew how to automate!
That’s when they went looking for a solution that could give them a foot in the automation door without coding skills… and that’s when they discovered Enfocus Switch.
Fast Track Wins
When you’re not an automation guru, but you know you have to automate your business, what do you do?
Ask Mark Young, Managing Director at Bluetree Print, and he’ll recommend you tinker with Enfocus Switch.
The beauty of Switch, particularly in the early days, for someone like me, was that you're allowed to make mistakes. You move things around, you can drag things around, and you kind of work through trial and error.
As Mark soon discovered, even with no coding skills, he was able to get significant productivity wins:
At the time, when we weren't experienced in coding or proper impositions and things like that, Switch gave us a lot of flexibility and a lot of fluidity over some of the other applications. And particularly when it came to designing workflows, and moving things around. It was pretty straightforward once we'd seen Switch, and it kind of blew the rest of the software out of the water.
Mark and his team soon reduced the amount of time that operators were spending on jobs while also cutting unnecessary costs. One early win was moving from hard to soft PDF proofs. This alone saved up to 700 sheets being printed per day.
That’s the beauty of progressive automation with Switch: you can start small with no automation experience, and you will see big wins fast.
10 Second Proofs
With early successes helping business so much, the Bluetree team looked for further growth opportunities through automation. Once again, Enfocus Switch had the tools they needed to fulfill their automation vision.
Before Switch, Mark remembers the customer approval process being really drawn out and laborious. It was crying out for automation:
We wanted to make it really, really easy, and we always had this goal in our mind that it should take 10 seconds.
With new staff joining the Bluetree team, including Matthew Kay, who brought software development skills, they were able to do precisely that. Today, Mark speaks with pride of how:
Our unique 10-second proofing tool speeds up the order process, and hands control to the customer.
Automating Print Production
Meanwhile, with business growing rapidly and new developer skills onboard, Bluetree progressed to the next phase of automation with Enfocus Switch. As Matthew Kay, Software Developer at Bluetree Group, explains:
We have Fujifilm Jet Press, and we have HP Indigos, Xerox iGens, Heidelberg litho presses, and HP Scitexes. Switch is involved in driving all of those presses, and helping to automate so that operators don’t have to put jobs manually on the presses or do any kind of imposition themselves. Essentially, allowing them to concentrate on what they need to do.
Today, Enfocus Switch drives every aspect of production at Bluetree, from receiving, preflighting and approving jobs, through imposition and ganging, to interactions with the MIS and output. It helps power 4,000 plus jobs a day. “Without Switch and PitStop,” Mathew says, “that would not be possible.”
And automation has made for speed gains that delight Bluetree customers too. From Matthew’s log of jobs, he’s able to observe:
The quickest that we've had an order come through from the website all the way to being dispatched is 23 minutes and 17 seconds.
Know anyone who doesn’t like faster delivery times?
Today, Enfocus Switch is embedded in every aspect of work at Bluetree. Mark recognizes the journey he was able to take the company on with Enfocus Switch from simple beginnings to full plant automation and beyond:
We made it quicker, and made it faster, made it more effective. And then, when you add in people who know what they're talking about—rather than me just playing with a toy, and playing with a solution—and put some coding and some development behind it, you can do some really, really incredible stuff.
Who is Bluetree?
Bluetree Group employs over 600 colleagues in Wath Upon Dearne, Yorkshire. Founded in 1989, and has grown from humble beginnings to the UK’s largest online printing business and first UK manufacturer of Type IIR Surgical face masks. Bluetree operates through three brands; instantprint.co.uk, Route1Print.co.uk, and bluetreemaskbox.co.uk. An award-winning business, they have appeared on the Virgin Sunday Times Fast Track 100 ranking not once, but twice, and have also been awarded the Sheffield Business Award for Company of the Year. Every person at Bluetree has a role to play in their success, and they know that without our team of passionate colleagues, they wouldn’t be the business that they are today.
Bluetree Group hit 4000+ jobs a day through progressive automation with Enfocus Switch
Award-winning Bluetree Group is the UK’s largest online printing business with over 600 employees. Faced with the challenge of growing their business, Bluetree Group started a journey of progressive automation with Enfocus Switch. From simple first steps, Bluetree today deploy Switch extensively, and it drives automation in their 145,000 square foot production facility.