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Print shop automation and software

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Automation and software are two mayor allies in order to become more productive.

Technology has evolved and several tools have been developed to help production processes become more profitable and hugely optimized. ERP and several MIS software implementations can help print shops become highly automated and enhance job scheduling and even invoicing.

 

ERP Systems

ERP stands for enterprise resource planning, it’s a business process management software that lets an organization use integrated applications to manage the business and automate many back office functions related to technology, services and human resources.

ERP systems consist of several layers of integration, this depends on the company’s approach to what processes and what information is required to be managed by the system.

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An example of an ERP cost estimation process (courtesy of sistrade.com).

With the use of an ERP Software the company’s data is consolidated and integrated, time is optimized and the margin of error is significantly reduced.

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Some ERP modules that can be integrated into a system (courtesy of existek.com).

 

MIS Software

MIS stands for management information systems, this software helps an organization collect and manage its own information and help decision-making.

An MIS software is required to communicate or integrate with the other systems that are operational under the company to be able to manage information in real time. This is crucial in order to take full advantage of the MIS data harvesting and data analysis or even let your other systems take actions on behalf of the MIS software.

Having an MIS platform and not having enough data capture and analysis tools is a total waste of the software’s capabilities, an implementation of a platform like this is not an easy nor cheap task.

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An example of device management and information handled by a data collection agent (DCA) (courtesy of printfleet.com).

 

Print shop Software

There are several companies that developed ERP or MIS platforms specific for the printing industry, deciding if one of these is the right choice for your company is where things can get complicated.

Some MIS platforms have web integrations letting the final customer directly place an order for a print job from the company website, this level of implementation depends on the need of the company and the ability to automatically process and estimate a production job.

An MIS platform with order processing and control of material usage can highly reduce the amount of material waste and to optimize the production process. This can also include the projection of ink consumption per order, helping better estimate costs and even integrate inventory management.

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Monitoring the productivity from any mobile device is cloud based benefit (courtesy of sistrade.com).

 

The advantages

There are plenty of advantages that come with the implementation of either an ERP or an MIS platform. One of the most notable is the ability to identify the bottlenecks and inefficient practices, which can help reduce process dead times and delays between each of the processes.

Being able to have access to structured information related to production processes can help project consumptions and have a better handling of inventories, helping increase product rotation and avoiding to have over-stock or the opposite, no stock at all.

Another of the benefits of having an MIS or ERP system is the ability to have the information follow an order through the entire process, this automates most manual input chores and reduces errors.

One of the pillars of automation is the data recollection and processing; without good, reliable data, work orders don’t get produced properly and the efficiency and effectiveness of the whole process gets affected, affecting both the final consumer and the company itself.

 

Source: personal experience, and some informative sites.

 

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