By Richard Romano, Industry Analyst
One major trend in print enterprise management software today is the emergence of MIS/CRM and workflow management systems that are as powerful as those used by the largest printing establishments but are tailored to, and are easy to use by, small and mid-size printers–that is, those in the three- to 20-employee range. The goal is to give smaller players all the benefits of a large, complex system without requiring them to invest the time and manpower in learning how to run it. It’s about scaling down the power of a big system, keeping it flexible, but also not bogging the user down in a slew of features that they’ll likely not ever use.
We welcome a new player in this market with a solution that costs as little as $115 a month.
Such a solution will need to have what have become essential components of today’s print enterprise management system: estimating, inventory management, integration with other systems in the plant, and the ability to connect to a web-to-print portal.
Based in Dublin, Ireland, and relatively new to the North American market, Wildcard Software was founded in 2003 by Geoff Needham, a developer of business management systems tailored for specific industries. The company has introduced Printlogic, an integrated business management system designed for small to mid-sized commercial printers and print brokers. With more than 300 users in Ireland, the U.K., and Europe, Printlogic is well-suited for a broad cross-section of individual print segments, from traditional offset to digital, from labels to wide-format. The software, like more and more software these days, is cloud-based and can be accessed from any computer or mobile device.
Printlogic includes the following components:
- Estimating. Printlogic generates estimates based on pre-loaded cost quotes for standard print products. It also offers a “manual” mode to customize the estimating process for more personalized or unique items.
- Order Processing. From the estimate, Printlogic will generate an order or, alternately, you can bypass the estimating process entirely and just create an order. This is especially helpful for repeat orders.
- Inventory Management. Printlogic also includes a sophisticated inventory management system, allowing users to keep track of stocks and substrates, ink, and other consumables. It also allows data collection from the shop floor, and can estimate job completion based on available inventory.
- Integration with Accounting. Printlogic also integrates with the company’s accounting system to generate invoices, statements, and other such documents. It will also integrate with as many as 20 major bookkeeping applications, such as QuickBooks, Sage, Opera, and more.
- Customer Management. Printlogic also offers a customer service management feature that reminds users to contact a particular client at a given time, whether it’s to follow up on a quotation, offer job status information, or chase after a past-due invoice.
Not all jobs are produced in house, and printers have found that outsourcing certain kinds of jobs is a great way to expand their product and service offerings without a high up-front investment. A challenge, however, is pricing, or covering the costs of outsourcing while at the same time offering enough markup to be profitable without dramatically overcharging the customer. To help with this problem, Printlogic lets you develop a database of third-party service providers or suppliers and prices on various types of jobs. This allows users to quickly obtain quotes on outsourced jobs, and respond more quickly to customers. It also helps gauge the profitability of outsourced jobs.
Printlogic can also integrate with Web2Print, Wildcard Software’s separate web-to-print module for creating online storefronts.
Printlogic is easy to set up and use, and takes an estimated one to two hours to train employees on the system. It is available on a subscription basis for $115 a month, which includes free training, support, and upgrades, with no seat limits. The system is specifically configured for each user, and can be reconfigured and tweaked as the business grows or changes.
Print businesses of all sizes need to maximize efficiency, and not just in production but at all levels of the enterprise, no matter how big or small that enterprise may be. They also need to leverage more and more data to effect those efficiencies, while being able to automate and streamline the more bureaucratic functions of generating and managing estimates and invoices. Inexpensive, easy-to-use, and yet full–but not over–featured MIS solutions are a welcome balm to these businesses.