Streamlined processes, effective resource utilization, lower costs, and increased profits are the goal of any business, but this is especially true within the print and mail industry where competition is fierce and profit margins are narrow. Companies rely on their print management information systems (MIS) to help manage key processes and functions, but their effectiveness will be impacted by whether their system is integrated or a Frankenstein.
A Frankenstein System
While Halloween comes only once a year, some print and mail shops struggle day in and day out with their Frankenstein MIS, which is a system cobbled together from bits and pieces of programs that were not designed to be integrated. Some companies have programmed customized software bridges that intend to help each separate program work together. This patchwork of programs and patches may get the job done, but they come with hidden costs.
Problems inherent with these Frankenstein systems are:
- Increased Errors. This need to input data into multiple discrete programs increases the risk of errors. Something as simple as a misplaced comma or an added zero in one program versus another can result in expensive mistakes and dissatisfied customers.
- Poor Resource Management. From scheduling machines and staff to tracking inventory, Frankenstein systems poorly manage these tasks, which often result in costly workflow bottlenecks.
- Poor Communication. When multiple platforms don’t “talk” efficiently to each other, it fractures the person-to-person communication between shop departments and with the customer. In this situation, it is difficult to keep everyone on the same page and the result is project delays and unhappy clients.
- Lack of Vendor Support. When a problem occurs with this type of system, getting vendor customer service becomes a lengthy, frustrating and expensive process. Vendors will point fingers at the other company’s program as the cause of the problem.
There is a better way.
An Integrated System
An integrated system is one that performs all of the major functions needed to run a highly efficient and customer-responsive print and mail shop. It begins with a robust, flexible MIS that has a powerful application program interface (API), which allows you to seamlessly incorporate additional programs within the core system.
The key benefits of a truly integrated system are:
- Reduced Errors. The single point of data entry means that there is no need to re-enter information into the system, which results in fewer errors.
- Powerful Resource Management. With an integrated system, scheduling is streamlined and the system flags necessary personnel if there are conflicts so that they can be proactively addressed. Inventory is tracked by usage and reorder alerts are sent prior to critical shortages.
- Effective Communication. With an integrated system, everyone can check the status of an order and other necessary information. When the order is complete, the bill is generated and sent with minimal effort. The customer is kept in the loop on the status of their project and has a positive experience with the business.
- Better Cash Flow. The ability to bill as soon as the project is complete results in faster payment and improved cash flow.
- Responsive Customer Support. An integrated system means that you are working with one vendor to address any questions or problems that may arise. Response times are shorter and focused on resolving the issue rather than trying to pass the problem along to another vendor.
Some shops have a Frankenstein system because they cannot clearly see the positive ROI. Older systems can’t integrate with other programs the same way that newer systems can, and thus a Frankenstein is born. Other shops purchased core modules from different vendors to save money, but had to accept a lower level of integration performance or spend money on customized patches that don’t always work.
Whatever the reason, if you have a Frankenstein MIS it’s time to slay that monster and purchase an integrated program that can truly support the growth and prosperity of your business. Print Reach has the integrated MIS and web-to-print resources you need to improve efficiencies, save money and deliver amazing customer service. Our powerful API connects our MIS with the programs that you already use, making the system customizable to your operations.
Now is a great time to make an investment in your business with our systems. Not only will you have the best tools on the market, you will also receive a tax write-off for 2019. Our customer service is second to none and the ROI of our programs is outstanding. No matter what size shop you own, we have the solutions you need. Contact us today to learn more about our platforms and request a demonstration.