Many wide-format print providers are embracing use of Web-to-print, workflow, and MIS software to enhance their businesses and gain efficiencies.
But the selection of the software is not something to undertake lightly. The product has to fit your shop’s needs today and down the road, and must positively impact the company in every area of its business from order processing to production and shipping. As one Midwestern shop owner says, it affects every aspect of your business.
In the pages ahead, representatives of four North American shops talk about the products they selected, what they replaced, and how their choice is helping increase sales and profitability. The stories show just how much attention must be paid to getting the right software fit.
Nutis Visual Communications Group
When CTO Daniel Newman arrived at this 65-year-old shop, no product other than paper was used to track workflow. “Part of what we are trying to do with the Hybrid Software solution we have is not just improve information throughout the plant, but to also re-evaluate what we are doing. We’re just now implementing the Hybrid Facelift product, an MIS system.”
The product helps to track jobs through the plant and monitor how long jobs require to complete. It also helps managers keep an eye on delivery times as well as substrates being used and needed. “As we gain more data, we will be able to better manage waste and understand where waste is occurring,” he says.
Before the MIS system was implemented in mid-May, job progress through the plant could only be tracked once the jobs became orders.
“There’s a lot of things that happen before something becomes an order, and conversely there is the possibility of one press run feeding multiple orders,” he says. “We believe there’s going to be a lot of efficiencies. There was a lot of labor involved in people running around the plant, trying to keep track of where jobs were and what their status was. That efficiency will now allow those people to be used in ways that will more effectively grow the company.”
“Lastly, once the data is in after six months, we will be better equipped to re-evaluate how we quote different jobs. Up to this point, our quoting has not been informed by production data.”
West-Camp Press is a company that has been in existence since 1962. West-Camp Press is an offset printer producing display graphics and specializing in retail work, says CEO Ed Evans.
The company uses VUTEk printers and is in the midst of upgrading its company-wide MIS software to EFI Pace, following an evaluation of major products that took a year to complete. “Our MIS software was an EFI product, and needed to be upgraded,” Evans says, noting the software was seven years old. “We decided that EFI Pace would give us the most flexibility and minimize our touches. Most of our work is short-run, and quick turnarounds, and that guided our choice. We need to be extremely efficient with work production.”
Part of the problem the company faced was that it didn’t have one system to guide its production, but rather a patchwork cobbled together from different software products. That affected how quickly West-Camp Press could process work and the amount of man hours needed.
“We wanted one software system we could utilize for the majority of our operations,” Evans relates, adding the company expects to be able to process additional work without adding staff, and become far more efficient in every step along the way, from the front office to the shop floor to the shipping department.
Companies considering the move to MIS integrated workflows need to understand how various options will impact the many areas of the business. “Some products may have a sales focus, but you have to consider accounting, shipping, mailing, warehousing, inventory, and the shop floor,” Evans says. “[Software chosen] affects every aspect of your business.”