In today’s difficult manufacturing environment, any cost savings that can be achieved from within the firm are a bonus.
One way a manufacturer can often save on costs is by examining their Portable Document Format (PDF) requirements.
According to many firms remain unaware that a review of their PDF requirements can deliver savings.
‘A close look at your business PDF needs is often one of the fastest and easiest ways to reduce costs while improving security, workflow and productivity.
‘Many businesses have installed PDF solutions or are tied into expensive licensing agreements for PDF capability that is beyond their needs. Manufacturing firms need to identify a PDF solution that fits their requirements to help ensure value for money while optimising productivity,’ explained Craig.
Following is a checklist to help firms choose the right PDF solution for their manufacturing enterprise.
- Identify the PDF functions your business requires. For instance, do staff simply need to view PDFs or do they need to be edited, converted and created. Consider also if staff need to work with order and shipping forms, sign documents digitally or compare documents side by side. The need for such functionality will help you narrow your PDF software options.
- If you already have a PDF solution implemented, examine your current costs, ascertain the software’s capability and how many users are benefiting from its functionality. This will help you further clarify your business PDF requirements.
- Consider the various licensing models available, their advantages and disadvantages, to identify the one that best suits your manufacturing firm’s needs. Ensure that the PDF solution you choose is not cost prohibitive and therefore, restrictive in allowing you to provide a PDF solution to as many desktops as you require. Perpetual licensing is ideal for cost management and allows some of the cost of the software to be written off over a number of years.A cloud solution is subscription based and requires paying a fixed monthly fee.
- Identify the degree of security that your PDF files require for both internal and external use. Is the current content of your business PDF files protected sufficiently and can 256-bit encryption be added?
- When exploring the various PDF providers in the market beware of:
– Freeware – as this is often easy for hackers to penetrate.
– Free PDF print drivers – as these often lack any functionality.
- Examine the provider’s software upgrade policy. Some providers upgrade their PDF software with every change of operating system; others upgrade every 3, 5 or more years. Ascertain whether the software you are considering will be supported at the desired cycle.
- Ensure the PDF solution you choose is easy to use, install and deploy within your existing computer environment. Flexibility is key so that documents can be shared or restricted, and features turned off and on, as required.
- Ascertain whether free training plans and quick reference user guides are supplied by the PDF software provider. These would be particularly valuable if you do not have access to an in-house IT expert.
- Check if the PDF solution will require patching frequently as this can be a very time consuming and frustrating process. Some PDF solutions, such as Nuance PDF, only require patching when a new operating system is released.
Reviewing your PDF options with the above checklist in mind can help you choose wisely for your manufacturing firm.
[Craig Jennings is Director for Imaging and Dragon Sales APAC for Nuance.]