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SAi feature: How time efficiencies & AI can change Sign industry productivity

Michelle Johnson, Director of Worldwide Marketing at SAi, recommends to 'invest in,' not 'spend' time as we enter the start of a new financial year. When it comes to the bottleneck of designing signs to feed the printers, she predicts that AI (artificial intelligence) will be making a lot of the decisions in the future.

As we transition into the second half of the year, I find myself appreciating time as a precious commodity. I believe this is particularly the case when it comes to business. In my opinion, the key to success is not spending time but investing in it.

If you’re running a large format print business or sign & display company, you’ll be well aware of the numerous processes that consume vast amounts of time. The design stage is one of them. Have you ever calculated the number of hours needed to create just one job? If the answer is yes, then you’ve probably explored ways of reducing this. After all, time is money. SAi EggTimer Image 1

The good news is that there are software solutions available to alleviate this and streamline your design-to-production workflow. The foremost suppliers continue to introduce feature-rich products that fully address your end-to-end needs. Some even offer powerful 64-bit RIP engine, delivering unparalleled speeds. This horsepower combined with a haul of time-saving and hassle-free features, grants you unprecedented functionality, especially at the design stage. From a business perspective, this means you can exceed customer expectations for job turnarounds and maximize throughput, thereby adding to the bottom line.   

The time-saving solutions don’t stop there. Forward-thinking suppliers continue to look beyond their mainstay offering to provide added-value solutions that save even more time across your design-to-print workflow. These come in many forms including databases that provide an extensive catalogue of existing sign and display templates. Designed with efficiency in mind, you can quickly locate and download high resolution logos, fonts or vehicle wraps, to name a few. Jobs get designed and out the door faster and you’re ready to start the next one quicker, so you and your customer are smiling.

Perhaps you’re already smiling having saved time with such tools? That’s great, although with time – or lack of it – certain to be an ever-present issue, I would encourage you to keep a watchful eye on certain breakthrough technologies that may help alleviate this problem.

Imichellejohnsonsai 300x217ncreasingly, we are seeing technologies like augmented reality (AR) and artificial intelligence (AI) make progressive steps into the sign and large format sector. Although unlikely to be available in the immediate future, AI has the potential to revolutionize how signs and displays are designed. This might include the ability to aid sign designers by making suggestions on best practice fonts, images and layouts, which in turn could help automate the design process and enhance productivity for large format print / sign & display businesses.

So, if you think that unnecessary time is currently being spent in design time, perhaps it’s time for change? At the end of the day, you can’t make up for lost time, you can only do better in the future.

Michelle Johnson, Director of Worldwide Marketing at SAi can be reached at michellej@thinksai.com