A Print Management Information System, or Print MIS for short, is software used to manage the key operational processes for a printing business. Owners of printing businesses use this software in order to eliminate mistakes, simplify their business management and improve productivity. The ultimate goal of print shop management software is to reduce the bottom line and build a solid foundation for growing the business.
Why should you implement a Print MIS for your business?
The ever-changing nature of the printing industry makes it necessary to optimize your processes if you want to compete with other businesses in the industry. With the rapid addition of new industry technologies, customers have become accustomed to high-quality, low-cost jobs with quick turnaround. In order to meet these expectations, your production needs to be as efficient and organized as possible. This, of course, will put your labor costs to better use as well as reduce expenses resulting from costly human errors.
The money you save with a print MIS will allow you to offer more competitive pricing and win more business. Because the software will optimize your workflow, you will be able to handle more of these jobs and get them done quicker. In other words, having management software is a huge competitive advantage and is one of the best things you can do to ensure success for your business.
Deciding which business management solution you will use is one of the most important decisions you will make. Setting up an MIS is time consuming and not a process you’ll want to go through more than once. In order to make an educated decision about which solution to go with, you need to make yourself familiar with the functions of a print MIS and decide which are the most important to you. These are some of the major components to look for when comparing solutions.
At the core of a successful printing business is accurate pricing/estimating for each job. Underestimating job costs will lead to low estimates cutting into your profits. On the other hand, overestimating costs leads to non-competitive bids which will ultimately result in lost business.
It’s important to choose software which can quickly and accurately determine how much a job will cost to produce, so that you can make competitive bids without the risk of going too low and losing money.
Production Scheduling and Job Tracking
You want a print MIS with the ability to schedule new jobs for you as they are entered. It’s important that the software can fit new jobs into your production schedule without overlapping previously scheduled jobs. Once this is done, a good MIS will allow you to easily track the job through production until it is complete.
Material Handling and Inventory Management
One of the largest factors affecting your job costs is the materials being used. Effective print MIS solutions are able to keep track of your materials inventory, inform you when you need to restock and even determine the optimal nesting patterns to make the most efficient use of your substrate. Make sure you understand a system’s capability for material handling when considering it for your own shop.
Invoicing and Accounting
Collecting payment can become tedious when it is something you have to manually keep track of. When your business grows to a certain size, spending time on repetitive tasks like creating invoices will get in the way of other processes that are important to boosting sales and providing the quick service your customers expect. Be certain that your MIS software solution will allow you to automate the process for creating and sending out invoices as well as updating your A/R in real time. This is a huge time-saver and shouldn’t be undervalued.
Other Factors to Consider
Aside from the functions a software can perform, there are other important considerations to make when trying to determine the best platform for your business. Here are some of the key factors to look at:
The success you have with implementing a management system for your business will largely depend on how well it integrates with other software that you use. The whole point of using an MIS in the first place is to be as efficient as possible, which is done in large part by limiting touch points. It’s obviously a problem if you have to enter the same information multiple times because your MIS can’t communicate with other programs you’re using to run your business.
When you are evaluating your options, write down the different software programs being used in your business. For example, take note of any Web2Print solutions or accounting software that you’ve implemented. Make sure to take the time to ask sales representatives if their software has all of the necessary integrations. The last thing you want to do is waste a couple of months setting up your new system just to find out that it won’t work for you!
Supported Pricing Methods
As I mentioned above, accurate estimating of your print jobs is one of the most useful features that a shop management system will bring to the table. That being said, you need to be careful to choose a system which can support the pricing methods you use at your shop. Most solutions you come across will support simple methods for pricing i.e. unit-based or area-based pricing. If you are consistently estimating high volume or complex jobs for your customers, its likely that you will need a system which supports cost-based estimating. Not all MIS providers offer this capability, so make sure that a system is a good fit based on your estimating needs before purchasing.
Customization and Setup Time
Firstly, I want to explain what I mean by ‘Customization.’ As you’re probably well aware, every printing business is different in some way. We have different products, workflows, departments, pricing methods… you get the point. A software which is customized during the setup process gives you the opportunity to implement a solution designed with your own specific business processes in mind.
I grouped customization and setup time together because they directly impact one another. Generally, software tailored to your individual business requires a more involved setup process, and vice versa. You need to decide what matters more to you and your business: a faster setup process or a highly customized business management system.
These are just some of the most important capabilities and factors to look for in a print shop management software. If you’re looking for a Print MIS to manage your shop, Printmatics is an excellent option which has all of the mentioned features and many more. Request a demonstration with our team and take a look at the features which make Printmatics the best print shop management software available!