Whatever form it takes, a management information system should be the central data repository for your business.
The first MIS programs specifically for printing were introduced in the late 1980s, primarily for the largest commercial printing enterprises. MIS programs for smaller printing businesses were introduced in the mid-1990s. But they didn’t really become popular until the big economic slowdown of 2008 and 2009 gave print providers a lot more time to think about the future of their businesses. If firms wanted to stick around, they had to figure out how to cut costs, diversify, and become more efficient at processing a higher volume of shorter-run jobs.
Today, interest in workable print MIS programs is rising because so many B2B customers and consumers expect to be able to place some (or all) of their orders online. The adoption of web-to-print programs means orders will come from a variety of online and traditional sales channels, and multi-piece orders may need to be output on a mix of analog and digital printing equipment. As a result, keeping all job-related data in a centralized database becomes both more complex and more critical for making sound business decisions.
Among younger buyers, digital printing has created an expectation that almost anything can be printed in short runs and with very short turnaround times. This has raised problems for printing companies that remember the good old days, when clients were willing to wait two or three weeks for their orders to be delivered. When longer lead times for bigger print runs were the norm, printing companies could charge more for rush jobs. Today, people expect every printing company to be a quick printer, no matter what type of printing equipment is used.
This has forced all types of printing businesses to take a fresh look at their MIS programs.
“Inefficiencies in your processes come to light much faster when your order volumes double and your run lengths get cut in half,” says Matt. “Doing a lot of manual order processing is not only very inefficient; it can also eat up a large percentage of your profit on smaller jobs.”
MIS for Signs and Graphics
Processing a high volume of shorter-run, customized jobs is nothing new to companies that have used screen printing to produce signs, graphics, and specialty products. Companies that have been in business for generations have adapted to a variety of manufacturing processes over the years.
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