ASU Enjoys the MIS Advantage
Since implementing a print management system, Arizona State University's Print and Imaging Lab is enjoying lower costs, additional business and much more efficient use of its time.January 2014 By Bob Neubauer
Like many in-plants, Arizona State University's Print & Imaging Lab used a home-grown, Excel-based estimating and job tracking system for many years. Though this eventually migrated to a Google Doc, to give staff better access, it was still cumbersome, and the job list was never completely up to date.
"We had to manually do the billing and then manually enter in the shipping information," remarks Cathy Skoglund, manager of operations and business development. None of the in-plant's various functions—estimating, job submission, invoicing, shipping—were tied together, so rekeying data was a common, time-consuming activity.
When Avanti Systems began testing a new cloud-based MIS solution called Slingshot, tailored to digital print providers, ASU's in-plant eagerly signed up for the project. The shop provided feedback, which Avanti used to tweak its system, before unveiling it at PRINT 13 last fall (where it earned a Must See 'Ems award).
Skoglund was blown away by how much simpler everyday processes became once the shop started using an MIS.
"It's awesome having a database now of our customers," she enthuses. "You don't have to enter in their information every single time." Account numbers and shipping addresses are all stored, for easy retrieval.
The Print & Imaging Lab's job board monitor now shows the exact status of each job, as employees update job information from laptops on the shop floor.
"When customers call, we can immediately tell them what the status is of their job," she says. "We're just able to make better decisions because the information is right at our fingertips."
This is a lesson in-plants everywhere are learning. Print MIS systems can save your in-plant time by ending inefficient, time-wasting processes and letting you concentrate on producing high-quality work for your customers. Most find these systems invaluable.
At ASU's in-plant—which functions mostly as a learning environment for ASU students, who make up 23 of the shop's 25 paid employees—having an MIS that was easy to learn and use was crucial. Slingshot filled that need. It has an intuitive graphical user interface, with built-in intelligence to guide users through the workflow.