Stop Wasting Time: Get an MIS System
Job boards and spreadsheets don’t cut it these days. Only by using a print management information system (MIS) can you effectively manage your in-plant.April 2011 By Bob Neubauer
BEFORE HIS in-plant's print management information (MIS) system went live last summer, John Meyer says the production environment was more than a little chaotic. With handwritten job tickets, job specs delivered by fax and Excel files to track production, the in-plant was frequently overwhelmed trying to manually input job data or locate individual jobs.
"It was just killing us because it took so long to get a job number and put a job into the system," says Meyer, director of Rochester Institute of Technology's HUB Print & Postal Services.
Since putting Avanti's Graphic Arts Management System into production, he says, life at the 21-employee print and mail operation has been so much better.
"This has helped tremendously in cutting down the amount of time it takes to, number one, do quotes for people, and number two, get the jobs into production," Meyer says.
This is the lesson in-plants everywhere are learning. Print MIS systems can save your in-plant by ending inefficient, time-wasting processes and letting you concentrate on producing high-quality work for your customers. Some 54 percent of in-plants use an MIS system, according to an IPG survey, with more coming on board all the time. Most find these systems invaluable.
"You cannot tell what you're doing without an MIS system," proclaims Al Goranson, manager of Imaging Services at the University of Colorado (CU), in Boulder. "You can't tell if you're pricing right, you can't tell if you're paying correctly for paper, you can't tell if your markups are right. It's almost a minimum business requirement for anyone that wants to be able to justify their operation."
The nine-employee in-plant (which also employs six students) added the ePace MIS system five years ago. Pace has since been acquired by EFI, and the shop has been upgrading its software regularly. It uses the modules for estimating, price list quoting, production, accounting and reporting. The system has made the in-plant much more efficient, Goranson says.
See Every Job at Once
"At a glance you can see every job in the shop," he points out. "We used to spend an inordinate amount of time getting phone calls and having people stand up and go search" for a job. Now student workers quickly answer customers' questions about the status of their jobs.