Why every Printer needs an MIS

Every large printing company in the world has streamlined their operations with a Management Information System, a print MIS. Most mid size companies have, too. That leaves many small shops where the owners or managers still use calculators to estimate printing. And pen and paper to write up job tickets. If you're among them, we need to talk.

First, there is some truth to what you read in the trade papers. It will take a little practice, patience and discipline to integrate an MIS into your workflow. And when you factor in your time, startup costs will be higher than what's printed on the box. But it would be a shame if that's what's keeping you from enjoying the benefits. What the columnists forget to tell you is that you're not installing a supercomputer to manage a battleship. You're installing store-bought software to manage a rowboat (no offense). Far easier to implement and much less disruptive, with the relatively small financial outlay amortized in no time.

Once installed, an MIS will save time and reduce errors forever, or else the thousands of shops already using one would go back to using calculators. And the money part? Five hundred dollars with a perpetual use license and no maintenance fees, while not chicken feed, is unlikely to break the bank. What it will do, without fail, is free you to focus on what's important for your business: growing it.

Maybe this will help tip the scales
You know you need a Print MIS when:
  • You spend too many hours working up quotes for people who are obviously price shopping.
  • You saved a messy quote for tomorrow and a day later catch yourself moving it to the bottom of your in-pile for the third time.
  • You finally get motivated and work up that quote but are told the contract was let yesterday.
  • You priced a job from a counter price list and accidentally picked the wrong column.
  • You wrote up a job ticket for a repeat order of a carton of letterheads and entered PMS 185 instead of 186 because that’s what the handwritten number looked like on the old job ticket.
  • You get a repeat order but can’t find the old job jacket so you have to ask the customer for a sample.
  • You get a repeat order for envelopes but forget the customer has moved and has twice ordered letterheads with their new address but you’re copying the information from the job jacket for the old envelopes.
  • You quoted a job below cost because your calculator must have malfunctioned.
  • You’re tired of grabbing prices out of the air and finding job jackets in your desk drawer.
  • You have to rerun a job because the order came in by phone and was written down on a napkin.
  • You lost the napkin.
  • You catch some free time to enter half a dozen job tickets for a project on a deadline when your best customer walks in for coffee and a chat because she was in the neighborhood.