What do printers need to consider when implementing a new print MIS?

Ross Edwards.
Ross Edwards.

Here, Ross Edwards, Business Development Manager at Print MIS leader Tharstern (Kennesaw, Georgia) explores how printers are diversifying into other markets and why they need an MIS that can cover different types of print. Tharstern specializes in Management Information Systems (MIS) and workflow solutions for the global printing industry. Its MIS software is a fully integrated and modular system that can be configured to meet the requirements of your specific business – especially printing, packaging and label printing. Its workflow solutions are currently utilized in over 700 sites with more than 7,000 users worldwide, and are constantly evolving, shaped by new technologies, changing trends and user feedback.

Modern printers need a versatile MIS. In the past few years, the printing industry has seen an increasing number of print service providers (PSPs) venture into new markets and take on different types of print that they haven’t tackled before. PSPs who initially specialized in one sector are moving into others. It’s simply the way the industry is evolving. Commercial printers are diversifying with wide-format products, and large-format printers are diversifying with small-format products. So, it’s more important than ever that PSPs have a versatile MIS that supports the different disciplines of print. Nobody knows what the future will hold for their business, so companies must ensure that they give themselves the option to try new things and adopt new processes.

MIS solutions make automation and integration of all aspects in your printing operation much easier – reducing touchpoints and downtime, while boosting productivity.

MIS is shaping the future of print. The latest developments in print MIS are allowing printers to automate virtually every aspect of their workflows more and more. The number of touchpoints is decreasing constantly due to MIS advances. To really take advantage of the automation opportunities out there, PSPs should consider choosing software solutions that have an API – a tool that allows developers to interact with the software application – to request information from it and ask it to carry out actions on its behalf. MIS solutions that have this capability make automation and integration much easier, and they also provide the agility that PSPs need to succeed in this technologically evolving world.

Another trend that’s apparent in all industries is the importance of the customer experience. Having specific modules such as CRM (Customer Relations Management) to help you target your communications, and Job Tracking to help you deliver real-time order updates, are key to success. The customer wants to be kept up to date with the process of their order, without having to ‘chase’ the company or be ‘passed along’ from one person to another. This is the dynamic that PSPs must be aware of when choosing a new MIS. They have to be certain that if a new trend or development comes along, they can use their MIS to their advantage. In some ways, they have to be able to predict future issues they may have, then decide on an MIS that isn’t going to restrict them in the months and years to come.

Tips for implementing a new MIS. Different MIS vendors provide different quotes for how much time it’s going to take to implement the project – so be cautious! If you think the time quoted seems low, then you may be about to embark on a painful implementation process. To make your MIS project successful, adequate training and consultancy is crucial. PSPs might sometimes say that they haven’t got time to implement a new MIS, but the benefits in the long run are absolutely worth it. If an MIS provider only quotes a couple of days for implementation, then this should raise a red flag. The printer needs to find out what’s included in those two days and what support is offered after implementation. When considering a new MIS, it’s also vital to make sure you have the correct team in place. Creating a team of enthusiastic, competent staff from each department is important to a successful implementation. Educating your staff about the new MIS and why it’s being implemented should be a priority. This will increase awareness, enthusiasm and limit problems in the future.

For more information please visit https://www.tharstern.com/.

 

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Tony Curcio is the editor of Graphic Arts Magazine.