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The Other Shop Software: Business and Management Software

(March 2014) posted on Mon Mar 03, 2014

More than 30 sources for business and management solutions that can make you more efficient—and profitable

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It tends to get far too little attention at events like the SGIA Expo and the ASI Shows, and its slice of the pie is often equally small when it comes to publicity in general. You could easily make the argument that it is the Rodney Dangerfield of specialty graphics and screen printing.

We’re talking, of course, about business and management software. The right such software can make your shop not only an efficiency demon but also a more profitable operation—helping you to put in place systems, tools, and strategies that can make you more effective in costing and estimating, monitoring inventory, creating schedules, tracking jobs, automating shipping and fulfillment of jobs, and much more. And it typically allows you to do all of this seamlessly.

In our look at business-management software that follows, we’ve strived to focus on standalone tools that are primarily geared toward print providers (not generic business software), and we’ve pointed out when software is specifically engineered for screen printing or specialty graphics. We have not included RIPs that simply have business/management modules or features (but see the sidebar), nor have we included software aimed at production processes.

Activity Software
Created specifically for the signage and graphics industries, Activity Advantage allows users to create estimates and work orders; manage inventory, vendors, and ordering information; generate accounting and production reports; market to customers; export to Quickbooks; and track customer contacts and notes. It also allows for job-profit reports, automatic inventory updates, surcharge capability, and the ability to use the Art Approval and Estimates modules online. Its Shop Floor provides for the tracking of jobs through production, creation of time and productivity reports, and job scheduling.

Avanti Computer Systems
Avanti’s Slingshot incorporates business intelligence (CRM, dashboards, reporting) and production planning (estimating, automated purchasing, scheduling, sales orders), as well as warehousing, shipping, and billing into its platform. It leverages JDF/JMF and XML to communicate with key applications within the shop, such as web-to-print, production workflow tools, and post-press and production equipment. Slingshot can be Cloud-based or hosted on-premise. Various print-production modules are also available.


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