The 4D Benefits of Going Digital with Your Proofreading Process

Document under digital inspection

Date: August 22, 2019 | Category: Quality | Author: Ryan Szporer

When it comes to automation, 4D stands for something other than four dimensions. The benefits of going digital instead of sticking to manual processes can be just as impressive, especially with regard to updating your proofreading process and introducing a digital platform into your workflow.

The Pitfalls of Dirty, Dangerous, and Dull Work

The first three Ds instead stand for “Dirty,” “Dangerous,” “Dull”. The acronym implies automated solutions can add value to tasks previously completed using manual labor, in large part because workers may not want to do them. To at least a certain extent, it’s accurate. This may include jobs like mine exploration (dirty), delivering pizza (dangerous), or being a teller behind the counter at a bank (dull).

With specific regard to the latter, Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) are commonplace and serve as proof that robotics can make companies more profitable without sacrificing employees’ jobs. The number of ATMs and human tellers in the United States have both increased since the former were first installed. ATMs have allowed banks to open more branches, leading to more positions and actual bank tellers, with their job descriptions evolving in the process.

A recent series of essays from the Vancouver-based Fraser Institute, a self-proclaimed independent think tank, argues much the same thing: “While automation, artificial intelligence, and robotization will eliminate or change the nature of some jobs, these technologies will also create many new jobs at a time when [the retirement of baby boomers] will reduce the labor force as a share of the population,” says one of the essay’s author’s, Steven Globerman.

Digital vs. Manual Proofreading

In any case, on the subject of tedious tasks, proofreading has been proven to be more effective when it’s done digitally instead of when manual labor is used. Inspection results must still be verified by someone in the quality control department in question. However, whereas avoidable errors slipped through the cracks before due to inevitable drawbacks like proofing fatigue, now a digital system is ideally put in place and made responsible for running the actual inspections.

The platform in question, like GlobalVision, would draw attention to potential issues when comparing master and sample files. A quality control technician then determines which differences must be addressed before the hypothetical print job is finalized. It may sound like an additional step, but when digitally proofing a single leaflet takes mere seconds instead of hours, the time savings after having moved to a digital solution cannot be denied. Combined with the heightened accuracy, packaging gets to market faster, still in pristine condition.

In fact, automation has been proven to reduce human error by as much as 50%, improving overall efficiency by 75%. Speaking of which, the fourth “D” has been said to stand for “Delicate.” It remains relevant to proofreading, with lost lab samples due to human error being estimated as costing $20,000 in losses over a four-month period.

Preserving Your Brand Through Effective Quality Control

Printing samples are similar, as they must be handled with care. When all is said and done, they amount to product packaging in the hands of consumers, after all. If there’s little debate that typos and errors, in general, must be weeded out before that point to preserve brand integrity, the same argument holds true for the overall condition of the packaging. Automation is less of a wild card in that context and is a better bet to keep shipments from the printer in good shape.

In the end, proofreading manually isn’t necessarily a job no one wants to do, but it is one that has its fair share of pitfalls. It’s dull and delicate and even dangerous, in the sense that one wrong typo can lead to serious health consequences for consumers if they get the wrong dosage information on their medication. The fourth “D” in the case? Just “Digital”.

Going digital helps eliminates all those concerns, enabling companies to focus more attention and resources on developing the product itself. After all, it’s what’s inside the packaging that keeps customers coming back. All (hopefully pristine) packaging does is hook them to start.