ASU Enjoys the MIS Advantage
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.
Related story: Avanti Slingshot at PRINT 13
Bob has served as editor of In-plant Graphics since October of 1994. Prior to that he served for three years as managing editor of Printing Impressions, a commercial printing publication. Mr. Neubauer is very active in the U.S. in-plant industry. He attends all the major in-plant conferences and has visited more than 130 in-plant operations around the world. He has given presentations to numerous in-plant groups in the U.S., Canada and Australia, including the Association of College and University Printers and the In-plant Printing and Mailing Association. He also coordinates the annual In-Print contest, cosponsored by IPMA and In-plant Graphics.