Do you use a print shop management software?

gazfocus

Well-known member
I've posted about this in the past in the MIS sub forum, but I am guessing a lot of people don't tend to go in there.

I am curious whether you guys use a shop management software and if so, which one?

I'm really looking for something that can:
- Quote Jobs based on paper costs / print costs
- Suitable for digital printing as well as promotional products, etc.
- Ability to send artwork approvals to customers.
- Ability to track production through the shop.
- Inventory management would be a plus but not essential.

We've been signed up to Shopvox for what must be 3 years now and still haven't got our heads around the pricing, etc. I'm not overly keen on the new version they've upgraded us to either so I'm thinking of ditching it for something else. The question is, do I make something basic myself with Microsoft Access or is there something out there that is worth looking at?

Would love to know what you are all using.
 
Been using PrintShopPro by Edu Business Solutions for about 2 years now. Quite happy with it. Does quote, cost management, custom order, store items, inventory management, production tracking. We do proofs to customers manually though you technically can through the software. Kind of clunky at times but the vendor is pretty responsive when we need help figuring things out.
 
Been using PrintShopPro by Edu Business Solutions for about 2 years now. Quite happy with it. Does quote, cost management, custom order, store items, inventory management, production tracking. We do proofs to customers manually though you technically can through the software. Kind of clunky at times but the vendor is pretty responsive when we need help figuring things out.
Out of interest, what sort of cost is that? Hate it when companies don’t put prices on their websites haha.
 
We use the hosted version, so slightly more expensive. Bout $7,000 a year.

Edit: We have multiple modules, making it more expensive. We have webdesk and manager modules, as well as an AD module that integrates into our organization. I think base price is closer to 3-4k year.
 
I've posted about this in the past in the MIS sub forum, but I am guessing a lot of people don't tend to go in there.

I am curious whether you guys use a shop management software and if so, which one?

I'm really looking for something that can:
- Quote Jobs based on paper costs / print costs
- Suitable for digital printing as well as promotional products, etc.
- Ability to send artwork approvals to customers.
- Ability to track production through the shop.
- Inventory management would be a plus but not essential.

We've been signed up to Shopvox for what must be 3 years now and still haven't got our heads around the pricing, etc. I'm not overly keen on the new version they've upgraded us to either so I'm thinking of ditching it for something else. The question is, do I make something basic myself with Microsoft Access or is there something out there that is worth looking at?

Would love to know what you are all using.
Nothing out there really fit our needs. We wanted to work the way we have always worked, but automate it. We built our own - php, mysql, and .fdf to generate Acrobat forms. Basic but does precisely what we need and we can tweak at any time. Linear view for each department or 2 week calendar view with jobs color coded to the department. Scan barcode on the jacket and then barcode on the station, machine, department, etc. to move it along and time stamp the move. We host it on our web server so that everyone can access from their desk or phone (Can't produce forms on the phone). No proofing. We handle that direct with Acrobat. Currently working on communicating with Quickbooks for estimating and billing. Fairly simple inventory. Not automated, but allows us to easily find paper and stored jobs. Logs pallet # and position. Items on the pallet. Print pallet tags with QR so that a scan with your phone will identify what's on there.
Even if you hire a programmer to do it, you probably won't spend more than a year, possibly two years worth of subscription.
 
We also use PrintShopPro and we're mostly happy with it. I'm sure there will be nuances to every product that don't work perfectly for everyone. It's worth noting, though, that we are an inplant. About 75% of our work is printing the same forms, books, and manuals over and over again. There is a great "Store" feature for that which shows a thumbnail of every standard product and they just click and tell us how many they need. We can even pre-set the order to a "Case" or a "Box" so they don't have to think about how many they want. We also use this section of the site for the promotional items we produce such as awards/plaques, cell phone cases with our logo engraved, coffee mugs, etc.

Another thing we like is the ability to program each item to be viewed by a specific person or department. This is important because we print for several different departments within our county. We don't want the transportation or land management department seeing the forms for the sheriff department, and vise-versa. When a user logs in, it notes their department and only shows them their products.

There's another section of the site for custom orders. They just pick a category (B/W Copies, Color Copies, Pads, perfect bound books, wide format, etc). It asks then their size, quantity, page count, finishing options, allows them to upload a file, and then shows them the price instantly. You can choose which paper and finishing options show up for every type of product. You can also choose for wide format if it will charge by sq inch or linear inch to accommodate the wasted material. For wide format, the software usually does a good job of calculating the imposition for how many signs can fit on the width of media you select.

There is also a template section of the website. This is for things like business cards or letterhead that need to be typeset. The customer enters their information, they see an instant PDF proof, select the quantity, and check out. You can program it so the business card comes to you 1up or imposed for whatever layout you use. We just get the 1up file and drop it into a hot folder that imposes it and selects the stock and sends to the correct printer.

Lastly, it does have the ability to generate quotes quickly, and email them with various quantities to the customer from within the system. You can change the status of your orders as they move through the shop. There is a dashboard where you can quickly see all of the orders left as quotes, or filter by jobs in graphics, printing, finishing, etc. We like that we can attach files to the orders within the system so anyone can see what the job is from anywhere without having to find it on the server. It also has inventory management, but we rarely use it. We find it's more work to keep updating it than just looking on the shelf.

A few complaints worth noting:
  • There are certain things we can't customize exactly the way we want. For example the job tickets it produces are a little cluttered and out of order for the way we prefer. Also, our accounting people want the invoices to be formatted a little differently.
  • There are only 4 categories available for the template items and they are preset to business cards, letterhead, envelopes, and newsletters. You can customize those to be named whatever you want, but if your organization needs more than 4, you're out of luck. The templates are also limited to variable text only, not swapping out logos. This means you have to make a template for every logo option. They do offer a plug-in (additional cost) that is similar to Canva.com where you can design online within the limitations you set. We did not opt for that.
  • Updating system-wide pricing is a nightmare. We recently had big price changes from our paper suppliers. There is currently no way to do this quickly. It requires opening 1 paper at a time and changing the price. Then you have to update each of the store items and template items one at a time. Very tedious. They have said they are working on streamlining this in the future because it was the #1 complaint by users at a recent user conference.
  • If you're a commercial print shop, this is probably the biggest concern: It does not allow you to produce reports on costs vs/ sales (profit) or instantly see your margins on an order. They explained to us that the software was originally designed for in-plants who are not usually concerned with profit, margins, or winning a bid. However, we need to be able to show we aren't too profitable, while still covering our costs, repairs, and future equipment investments. The current work-around has been to ask their support staff to generate a report at the end of the month for us. (They say it's in the works to add this on future updates) The software also doesn't have a way to account for labor costs or hourly rates. Everything is based on a price per unit.
If you're a smaller commercial print shop, I would point you to consider Printer's Plan by Print Reach as well. Their software does a better job of addressing the last bullet point I listed. That MIS software links directly to their online storefront called MyOrderDesk which has all of the same features I described above. We used Printer's Plan at two previous shops I was at and I found it to be very user friendly. I haven't personally used MyOrderDesk, but from the demo, it seemed to be just like most online storefronts offered out there. Another option to consider is PageDNA. They were originally geared for inplants as well, but they have come a long way. They sell direct, but they also sell exclusively through Konica Minolta if you happen to already be a customer of theirs.
 
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We also use PrintShopPro and we're mostly happy with it. I'm sure there will be nuances to every product that don't work perfectly for everyone. It's worth noting, though, that we are an inplant. About 75% of our work is printing the same forms, books, and manuals over and over again. There is a great "Store" feature for that which shows a thumbnail of every standard product and they just click and tell us how many they need. We can even pre-set the order to a "Case" or a "Box" so they don't have to think about how many they want. We also use this section of the site for the promotional items we produce such as awards/plaques, cell phone cases with our logo engraved, coffee mugs, etc.

Another thing we like is the ability to program each item to be viewed by a specific person or department. This is important because we print for several different departments within our county. We don't want the transportation or land management department seeing the forms for the sheriff department, and vise-versa. When a user logs in, it notes their department and only shows them their products.

There's another section of the site for custom orders. They just pick a category (B/W Copies, Color Copies, Pads, perfect bound books, wide format, etc). It asks then their size, quantity, page count, finishing options, allows them to upload a file, and then shows them the price instantly. You can choose which paper and finishing options show up for every type of product. You can also choose for wide format if it will charge by sq inch or linear inch to accommodate the wasted material. For wide format, the software usually does a good job of calculating the imposition for how many signs can fit on the width of media you select.

There is also a template section of the website. This is for things like business cards or letterhead that need to be typeset. The customer enters their information, they see an instant PDF proof, select the quantity, and check out. You can program it so the business card comes to you 1up or imposed for whatever layout you use. We just get the 1up file and drop it into a hot folder that imposes it and selects the stock and sends to the correct printer.

Lastly, it does have the ability to generate quotes quickly, and email them with various quantities to the customer from within the system. You can change the status of your orders as they move through the shop. There is a dashboard where you can quickly see all of the orders left as quotes, or filter by jobs in graphics, printing, finishing, etc. We like that we can attach files to the orders within the system so anyone can see what the job is from anywhere without having to find it on the server. It also has inventory management, but we rarely use it. We find it's more work to keep updating it than just looking on the shelf.

A few complaints worth noting:
  • There are certain things we can't customize exactly the way we want. For example the job tickets it produces are a little cluttered and out of order for the way we prefer. Also, our accounting people want the invoices to be formatted a little differently.
  • There are only 4 categories available for the template items and they are preset to business cards, letterhead, envelopes, and newsletters. You can customize those to be named whatever you want, but if your organization needs more than 4, you're out of luck. The templates are also limited to variable text only, not swapping out logos. This means you have to make a template for every logo option. They do offer a plug-in (additional cost) that is similar to Canva.com where you can design online within the limitations you set. We did not opt for that.
  • If you're a commercial print shop, this is probably the biggest concern: It does not allow you to produce reports on costs vs/ sales (profit) or instantly see your margins on an order. They explained to us that the software was originally designed for in-plants who are not usually concerned with profit, margins, or winning a bid. However, we need to be able to show we aren't too profitable, while still covering our costs, repairs, and future equipment investments. The current work-around has been to ask their support staff to generate a report at the end of the month for us. (They say it's in the works to add this on future updates) The software also doesn't have a way to account for labor costs or hourly rates. Everything is based on a price per unit.
If you're a smaller commercial print shop, I would point you to consider Printer's Plan by Print Reach as well. Their software does a better job of addressing the last bullet point I listed. That MIS software links directly to their online storefront called MyOrderDesk which has all of the same features I described above. We used Printer's Plan at two previous shops I was at and I found it to be very user friendly. I haven't personally used MyOrderDesk, but from the demo, it seemed to be just like most online storefronts offered out there. Another option to consider is PageDNA. They were originally geared for inplants as well, but they have come a long way. They sell direct, but they also sell exclusively through Konica Minolta if you happen to already be a customer of theirs.
Excellent points. I am an inplant as well.

Would you mind PM'ing me a copy of the margins report you're getting ran? I've been generating print/sale order reports and manually calculating margins, attempting to make everything in PSP as close to cost as possible. Would be nice to see if there's an easier way. If it looks like something that would work for us, I think I'd start asking PSP to do the same lol. No worries if you can't share, just thought I'd ask.
 
Excellent points. I am an inplant as well.

Would you mind PM'ing me a copy of the margins report you're getting ran? I've been generating print/sale order reports and manually calculating margins, attempting to make everything in PSP as close to cost as possible. Would be nice to see if there's an easier way. If it looks like something that would work for us, I think I'd start asking PSP to do the same lol. No worries if you can't share, just thought I'd ask.
I won't be able share that with you, but you can ask PSP to send you a report for your own account. To make it work, you need to make sure you're filling in the 'cost' field on the store product detail page as shown in the screen shot below. The monthly report bases the calculation based on these fields and not the print order. We didn't know that originally, so we didn't bother to fill it in for our store items. We're going back and doing that now. For the template items and custom print order items, the report does base it on the print order.

1689965357679.png
 
We use Docket Manager. It does the quoting, invoicing and basically is our docket but in digital form. We still print out physical dockets to move with the job and for samples, but everything is done through Docket Manager.
 
We use Docket Manager. It does the quoting, invoicing and basically is our docket but in digital form. We still print out physical dockets to move with the job and for samples, but everything is done through Docket Manager.
How have you found DocketManager and have you used it for long? At my previous shop, we almost went with DocketManager as our first MIS (we were looking at their W2P option as well) but plans fell through.
 
I won't be able share that with you, but you can ask PSP to send you a report for your own account. To make it work, you need to make sure you're filling in the 'cost' field on the store product detail page as shown in the screen shot below. The monthly report bases the calculation based on these fields and not the print order. We didn't know that originally, so we didn't bother to fill it in for our store items. We're going back and doing that now. For the template items and custom print order items, the report does base it on the print order.

View attachment 292134
Wouldn't work for us without some heavy lifting, we price everything at cost so those fields are exactly the same for us :S
 
I've posted about this in the past in the MIS sub forum, but I am guessing a lot of people don't tend to go in there.

I am curious whether you guys use a shop management software and if so, which one?

I'm really looking for something that can:
- Quote Jobs based on paper costs / print costs
- Suitable for digital printing as well as promotional products, etc.
- Ability to send artwork approvals to customers.
- Ability to track production through the shop.
- Inventory management would be a plus but not essential.

We've been signed up to Shopvox for what must be 3 years now and still haven't got our heads around the pricing, etc. I'm not overly keen on the new version they've upgraded us to either so I'm thinking of ditching it for something else. The question is, do I make something basic myself with Microsoft Access or is there something out there that is worth looking at?

Would love to know what you are all using.
Hi!

We may have what you're looking for, let's Chat! PrintGizmo fits your requests, check it out here: elynxx.com.

When you're ready we're here to answer any questions. Have a great one!
 
EPMS..Enterprise Print Management Systems. A full suite software with additional functionality not built into the core product. Estimating, ticketing, inventory management, data collection and much more. Worth a look. I've been a client of theirs for 24 years.
 
We use www.presscentric.com it as a fantastic software with everything from web to print to back of house. Pricing is very very easy to set up with alot of variation you can do to get it exactly how you want. It also comes with alot of your product pre setup with pricing so u can simply just edit the price instead of building the whole thing. We have the online design tool as well as a bunch of other add ons available. it does all the automatic imposition and and work flows to make life super easy.

I would call
Neel Bans
Phone: 1-888-850-4497 ext. 103

Their Customer service is absolutely amazing. Let them know scott from Perfect Printing Sent you . Im happy to share a few screenshots but they are about to drop a new update they have had in the works which will make it better again .

You can view my site. www.perfectprintingfl.com

This is just an example product so u can see roughly how its done with alot of simple options
 

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EPMS..Enterprise Print Management Systems. A full suite software with additional functionality not built into the core product. Estimating, ticketing, inventory management, data collection and much more. Worth a look. I've been a client of theirs for 24 years.
Hi. Are you happy with the product and support you receive for this MIS and what type of business are you using it in?
Cheers
 
I've posted about this in the past in the MIS sub forum, but I am guessing a lot of people don't tend to go in there.

I am curious whether you guys use a shop management software and if so, which one?

I'm really looking for something that can:
- Quote Jobs based on paper costs / print costs
- Suitable for digital printing as well as promotional products, etc.
- Ability to send artwork approvals to customers.
- Ability to track production through the shop.
- Inventory management would be a plus but not essential.

We've been signed up to Shopvox for what must be 3 years now and still haven't got our heads around the pricing, etc. I'm not overly keen on the new version they've upgraded us to either so I'm thinking of ditching it for something else. The question is, do I make something basic myself with Microsoft Access or is there something out there that is worth looking at?

Would love to know what you are all using.
I have tried a few different options out there. Problem always was that they are catered to a more universal option but never had exactly the capabilities we wanted.

I ended up just making our own through MS Access as well as other tools. Took some doing but was worth it to get exactly what we needed. I have since made three more for other companies. It isn't too hard but takes a considerable amount of time.

Worth it pay someone even to setup something that way vs the other options I saw.
 

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