The client had to print a very similar set of around 50 documents for each new project, and this took an admin 6 hours each day as the documents were of different types and nested in various subfolders within the project folder.
We were asked to look at a solution, and very quickly found a cheaply available tool Print Conductor that was able to shrink the task by a few hours.
This still required the admin to pick roughly the same 50 files through its interface for each project, and we felt we could do better than that.
Print conductor isn’t perfect, and we thought about building our own version, but instead decided to highjack one of its features: you can save the list of documents to print as a text file.
This wasn’t much use on it’s own, as the files were in a different location for each project (the list of files to print also varied by project type).
However, the pattern was predictible enough that we were able to write a script which generates a text file based on the project’s root folder and type, and then send it to the Print Condutor.
With this enhancement, the time was cut down from 6 hours to less than 1, and it only took a few hours of our time to string the whole thing together.
Take home points:
- Always check what tools are out there first.
- Sometimes it only takes a few hours of our time to save hundreds of yours.
- Tools can often be chained together with very crude automation, yet provide considerable time savings.