Print MIS considerations

Print MIS

 

Much has been said about Management Information Systems for the print industry. As a basic premise, Print MIS software will normally provide some or all of the following functions

 

1. Cost Estimation and Quotations
2. Workflow Management and Business Intelligence Reporting
3. Invoicing and integration to accounting and other systems
4. Artwork Storage and Management
5. Order Management and Fulfillment
6. Online Editing and Typesetting

 

There are many solutions and service providers out there but which is the right one for you and what are the considerations to have in deciding on a system to implement? Given below is a checklist which can help the average print company to decide whether or not to take the plunge in getting a Print MIS Software for themselves to use.

 

 

  1. An improved and more efficient  operation
    1. The system needs to be efficient and flexible enough to adapt to different workflows and requirements.  For example, a digital workflow is different from an offset one and will have different pre-press and finishing methods.  Some MIS systems were written long ago and may force the operations to an inefficient process.
    2. Better documentation and production process requirements
    3. Forms such as quotes, work order sheets, delivery notes, labels should be an integral part of the business
    4. Stock and fulfillment control
    5. Data management and transfer
  2. Better data collection and business intelligence
    1. A good MIS system allows the business to manage the workflow and track where the jobs are at any time.  It also allows the business to measure the profits and which customers provide a better margin
  3. Remove bottlenecks which slow down the business
    1. For many printing companies, a troublesome bottleneck is the sheer number of quotes which need to be provided to the clients whereas the number of people who are qualified to provide accurate quotes are limited.  In an industry where a delay of even a few hours may cause the business to lose the job, yet even a slight error in estimate may cause a cost overrun. It is little wonder that most business owners are still doing the estimations themselves
    2. An MIS system should keep old records so that re-prints can be easily checked for the specifications and old quotes.  This will make re-calculation for the new quotes easier
    3. Reducing the time for calculating estimates allows more time for selling and new business development
  4. Fast, accurate and flexible cost estimating
    1. The entire process starts from the cost estimate.  This has to take into account all the processes and cost variables so that it is accurate.  An error started here will affect the entire flow of the particular job
    2. Working backwards can allow the business to compare to a customer’s target price and see how it impacts the bottom line.
  5. Market products effectively
    1. Is there an online presence?  Does the system allows the customer to self-serve, price and order print and other items on the web?  Does it allow web to print functions such as online editing and typesetting?
    2. Many medium to large clients today use portals which allow their staff to login and manage internal functions such as purchasing collaterals and stationery directly from their vendors.  The Print MIS system should allow for integral with 3rd party systems using standard methodology such and cXML punchout messaging.
  6. Technology requirements
    1. Is the system web-based
    2. Are there client/server options
    3. Can it be subscribed as Software as a Service?
  7. Training, setup and support
    1. Switching to a Print MIS solution will require changes in how the business and staff deal with the operations.  Training in how to use the system and adjust to the processes is important.
    2. How configurable is the system?  Can it be setup to provide a look and feel of desired outcome? 
    3. Is the system user-friendly and intuitive?
    4. Is there support available locally
  8. Costs and grants
    1. What is the price implication for client / server options
    2. What is the price implication for SaaS (Web-based)
    3. Is the hardware requirement stringent?
    4. Is it necessary to hire IT staff in-house to implement a Print MIS solution?
    5. Are there grants available in your country which can defray the cost of buying such a system?

 

ARIS Pacific is working on a Print MIS for the Asian market.  Watch this space as we will be launching a web-based demo very soon. To find out more about our Print MIS solution, please write to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.