Standard Finishing
4Over

Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

Skills MIS-Match: Three Signs Your MIS May Not Be For You

Collapse
Canon
X
Collapse

  • Skills MIS-Match: Three Signs Your MIS May Not Be For You

    Skills MIS-Match: Three Signs Your MIS May Not Be For You
    By Richard Romano, Industry Analyst, and Joe Lehn, PressWise

    Now more than ever print businesses have a need for their operation to be guided by some kind of central intelligence, usually called a Management Information System (MIS). The MIS is not by any means a new concept, but it is playing a greater role in today’s print businesses. The thing to remember is that not all MISes are created equal. Just as different employees bring different skill sets to an operation, so too, do different MIS implementations. To be effective, an MIS needs to be tailored to the individual business.

    Here are three warning signs that your MIS may not be a perfect, or even good, match for your business.

    MIS-Match #1: The problems that your MIS was designed to solve are not the problems you have.
    As Margaret Mead once said, “Always remember that you are absolutely unique. Just like everyone else.” Your print business differs from every other print business. Each MIS is designed for a particular market segment with particular needs which may be different, in whole or in part, from your own. So, understanding the origins of a given system may help in determining how well it fits your own unique needs.
    For example, your primary business may be inventory fulfillment with only a small amount of printing. As a result, having a full-fledged printing MIS without inventory integration would be a bad fit. On the other hand, a commercial web offset printer may have complex pricing and production requirements and need strong job ticketing capabilities, but may not need finished goods inventory management. So, in this case having a full-fledged printing MIS would be a good fit.

    Think about your typical job’s run length, if there is such a thing. If it’s more than 100,000 impressions, you need to worry less about rapid job changeovers and makereadies than if your average run length is normally less than 100 impressions per job. Also consider these difficulties: Is your management based on complex accounting schemes where you need a strong job costing system? Do you produce repetitive short-run digital jobs from a web-to-print portal? Do you need a production system that doesn’t rely on manual ticket entry?

    A properly fitted MIS will take all these questions and concerns into account. What’s important to note is that whatever the problem, there is a solution. You first need to identify the specific challenges that need to be overcome to operate efficiently. After that, the method for evaluating various software solutions will become clearer when navigating what is offered on the market today.

    MIS-Match #2: You handle web-to-print orders differently than walk-in orders.
    Ideally, your online portal and your bricks-and-mortar shop should be two “doors” that lead to the same place. Having two different systems means that customer and job information will need to be re-entered when jobs are transferred from the walk-in portal to the digital workflow. This not only takes personnel and time, but can also introduce re-keying errors, confusion in production, and different people processing orders. It also requires people to learn two systems simultaneously, which translates into increased training costs.

    Having parallel production tracks makes the management of digital resources a challenge. For example, pricing needs to be set up in more than one place, which can lead to variability in estimating. If two systems have different pricing curves and different ways of interpolating prices, they won’t generate estimates in exactly the same way. It’s also difficult to get accurate reporting for business intelligence purposes when the information exists in more than one place. This can all lead to customer confusion. Should they order online or offline? Online for some things and offline for others? Does the pricing differ between ordering methods?

    All too often, a company’s web-to-print system does not integrate with the MIS that controls the rest of the operation. It sends information directly into production and doesn’t “play nice” with the rest of the enterprise. You don’t want a web-to-print system that competes with the plant’s MIS. There needs to be a single enterprise-wide system that provides pricing, tracks materials consumption, and performs other analytical tasks. Jobs should be funneled into the same system leading to the same destination–regardless of whether they come in online or offline.

    An example of a print MIS to consider in this case is SmartSoft’s PressWise, which was built from the ground up to include web-to-print and online storefronts. The quotes it generates online use the same pricing tables and production standards that an estimator would use to quote walk-in or other non-web-to-print jobs. Thus there is no duplication of tasks or systems, and, more importantly, no conflicting price quotes.

    MIS-Match #3: It still takes too much time and too many touches to turn around each job.
    It’s no secret to anyone in printing today that run lengths are getting smaller. At the same time, margins are shrinking as well. The challenge of digital printing has always been aggregating as many digital jobs as possible, and an essential part of this is turning those jobs as fast as possible. Whatever additional time is required for someone to work on a job eats into that margin.

    There is an Irish blessing that goes something like “may you make it to heaven half an hour before the devil knows you're dead.” Likewise, you want a job to make it through production before the estimator knows they’re there. Think about something like an order for 500 business cards. There is so little margin (if any) on a job like that, and even less if it needs to go through the traditional channel of salesperson to estimator back to salesperson to CSR to production workflow. This means automating as much of the process as possible. Automation can be found in many areas, such as allowing customers to order online from a catalog of standard print products, consistent pricing that is calculated automatically, and preflighting and proofing files before they even make it into production.

    Having this kind of automated production process also gives customers what they want: the convenience of ecommerce. Printers need to facilitate this convenience for customers, while at the same time shaving time from every order. This is where a good MIS can play a central role.

    Regardless of whose solution you ultimately end up using, if any or all of these three warning signs apply to your shop, it’s time to reevaluate your MIS.

    PressWise believes in an all-in-one web-to-print, MIS and workflow automation solution to offer advantages over multiple, independent systems. PressWise provides a single, powerful system designed to streamline your workflow, reduce touches, lower costs and increase efficiencies you need to survive and thrive in today’s market.
    http://www.presswise.com/

    PressWise provides a single, SaaS-based print workflow system, with the comprehensive tools needed to streamline your operation and grow your business.
      Posting comments is disabled.

    Categories

    Collapse

    Latest Articles

    Collapse

    • How to Stop Chasing Color and Increase Profitability
      noelward
      By Noel Ward, Editor@Large

      Chances are, you’re seeing more and more jobs that require full color—it may be even most of the ones coming in, given the rapid increase in digital short-run printing. With that demand comes the need for color consistency, reliability and predictability, so you have to set and satisfy customer expectations for how colors will look on the printed page. And that is not always easy. Some familiar color reproduction challenges include:
      • Repeatability (matching
      ...
      06-08-2018, 02:10 PM
    • You, the Tax Man and Section 179
      noelward
      By Noel Ward, Editor@Large

      Owners of small to mid-size businesses—meaning just about any type of print provider—know first-hand how tough it can be to keep a business profitable and moving forward. You’re always looking to get the most favorable returns on every deal and you try not to leave any money on the table. And when it comes to taxes, it’s especially important to know how to work the rules. And right now, one of the best of the bunch is called Section 179. Your tax guy...
      06-05-2018, 08:12 AM
    • SGIA and NAPCO Media Engineer an Inclusive Trade Event for an Evolving Market
      MyWildIrishProse
      Sean O’Leary




      In October 2019, the Specialty Graphics & Imaging Association (SGIA) and NAPCO Media will launch Printing United, a trade show and conference envisioned to reflect the dynamics of a convergent printing industry. The move is the most recent development in a process, first announced in February, that began with a split between Printing Industries of America (PIA) and the Association for Suppliers of Printing, Publishing and Converting Technologies...
      05-10-2018, 07:55 AM
    • You've Been Hacked!
      noelward
      By Noel Ward, Editor @Large

      Well, maybe you haven’t been hacked (that you know of), but chances are one or more of your customers has, whether or not they are willing to admit it.

      I was getting a glass of wine at the One Canon event a few weeks back when Carlos Fernandes the head of Agile Cybersecurity Solutions came up and introduced himself. He asked how familiar I was with the issue of cyber security. I said that to be honest, I’d thought of data security as something...
      05-02-2018, 03:48 PM
    • The Light Stuff:
      MyWildIrishProse
      GTI’s Illuminating thoughts on ISO 3664.:2009 and color viewing environments

      Sean O’Leary

      As printing technology gallops like a runaway stagecoach along the digital trajectory, one critical production facet persists as decidedly analog and human: the dream of universal color viewing environments. Especially for higher value creative projects, the standardization of color evaluation supply chains is essential across the creative/production continuum. Designers, brand...
      03-22-2018, 11:37 AM
    • Why Inkjet?
      noelward
      By Noel Ward

      When the first high speed inkjet machines, all roll-to-roll devices, began reaching the market there was a lot of skepticism. Even some of the journalists and analysts with whom I swap perspectives weren’t sure inkjet was going to be a real player. Some thought (or maybe hoped) electrophotographic (EP) systems would go on forever. EP was, after all, their comfort zone. Many remained skeptical about inkjet.

      Why would anyone want cutsheet inkjet?
      A couple...
      03-12-2018, 12:22 PM
    Working...
    X