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MIS Improves Efficiencies at Ashland University

By adding a management information system, Ashland University’s in-plant has greatly improved its productivity and can quickly access accurate job data to create reports.

January 2012
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BEFORE LAST July, managing the print workflow at Ashland University Printing & Imaging Solutions was, let's say, a bit cumbersome.

"We would print out our job tickets, and then we would enter it in a system, print out a separate copy [and] take it to our business manager," recalls Paul Jones, director of the Ashland, Ohio-based in-plant. But that wasn't the end of the paper trail. The business manager would then prepare an Excel spreadsheet to send to the business office. There, someone would key in this information yet again, this time into the university's main administrative software, so money could be transferred from departmental accounts.

The inefficiency of this Excel-based system was wearing down Jones and his staff. So with the support of the business office, the in-plant secured funding last summer to acquire EDU Business Solutions' Print Shop Pro Manager software, along with WebDesk, Document Converter and Template Builder.

Since then, life has been so much simpler for the in-plant's six full-time and four part-time and student workers. Customers can now pull up previous jobs and review the details, sparing staff from fielding their calls. Productivity has improved as a result of orders being placed online through WebDesk. And Jones can now quickly call up accurate, reliable job data to create reports for management—something he now does weekly, compared to just two or three times a year with the old system.

"Just a couple of clicks...and you're done," he remarks, adding that he recently created a report in five minutes that would have taken him an hour previously.

Having all this job data so close at hand is helping to ensure the shop's survival in tough times.

"We use justify our existence," Jones affirms.

A Busy In-plant

Founded in 1878, Ashland University is a mid-sized, private, non-profit university located on a 135-acre campus in north central Ohio. Printing & Imaging Solutions serves all campus departments, as well as students, local schools, private businesses and non-profit community organizations. In 2011, Jones says, almost 20 percent of the in-plant's revenue came from outside the university.

The shop provides both offset and digital printing, using a four-color Heidelberg Speedmaster 52, a Canon C1135 and a Canon imagePRESS C6000. Other services include wide-format printing using an Epson 9900, laser/rotary engraving and T-shirt printing. The shop added this last service three years ago, and has so far printed 80,000 shirts. The in-plant handles between 300 and 500 jobs a month for its more than 700 customers.






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