This is a guest article from Print Reach Software, a valued BCC Software partner.
Are you spending too much on an old workflow that really isn’t up to speed? Or are you generally looking at how your business can profit from a new MIS or W2P system? Why not let us help take some weight off your shoulders. Below are our top three considerations which any Printer or Mailer should have when searching for an upgrade or a brand new system.
When searching for a Management Information System (MIS) or W2P system, some major things to consider are the current situation and setup of your workflow. Are you planning for the long-term future or short-term? Once a new system has been chosen, how will the implementation process go?
1. Consider the Future
Did you know that most Printers and Mailers change their MIS system once every 10-15 years?
This is an alarming statistic, as it shows that outdated and vulnerable software and systems are still being used to this very day, despite far safer and advanced solutions being available for the same or cheaper price. Be aware of how often the software’s vendor releases updates. Updated software can protect its users from security loopholes and other vulnerabilities. It also shows that the vendor takes their product seriously.
As technology grows, so should MIS and Web-to-Print software systems. Make sure to keep an eye out for companies who offer new features, updates, and patches for their software.
Another topic to consider in regards to the future is the Printer or Mailer itself.
Are there plans to sell the shop? Will ownership be given to someone else, or will a merger happen within the next couple of years? These questions may affect the decision on when, or if, to upgrade.
Check Customer Pricing
Shops should also take a moment to look at their customer pricing and see where profit is being made and where it isn’t.
Here are a few important questions to consider:
- Are there options for outsourcing elements of your workflow?
- Should some projects be dropped altogether?
- When were prices last updated?
A new MIS and W2P system opens a great opportunity to welcome improvements to the shop, or at the very least, review other aspects of it. Reviewing prices, in general, is a great way to welcome a system upgrade.
2. Does The MIS or W2P System “Play Well With Others”?
In the modern world of universal interconnectivity, it is important to have software integrate with others. Some Printers and Mailers may use software from separate vendors for their Front-End, Pre-Flight, and MIS systems, which could lead to slow workflows or unnecessary bottlenecks.
A modern MIS and W2P system must be able to work well with other software. Take the opportunity to eliminate or reduce redundancy in general. Update all portals and software so that technology is on your side, not against you.
The more you can accomplish with your system with fewer touchpoints, the better and more efficient everything will operate.
Also, take advantage of this moment to look at any other clients’ special needs or valuable additions to your shop’s systems. Consider a punch in and punch out feature or making it easy for clients to see when orders are shipped and expected to arrive.
Implementing new software is a company-wide event and should be taken seriously while at the same time not being rushed.
To begin, it is always preferable to assign a team to drive the project. This can be multiple people, such as the heads of departments. Assign a project leader to coordinate and organize the implementation. While not everyone has to attend every demo, the team should be able to provide input into what they believe is beneficial or not to their company’s workflow.
Prepare in advance so that when the time comes, the implementation process can be a smooth ride forward.
The Project Champion
Web to Print and Print Management software systems can easily get off track during their implementation, which can lead to a failure to launch. This is why it is crucial to have a project champion take part in the process and own significant sections of the implementation process.
It can be hard and draining, but it doesn’t have to be. Be wary of decision fatigue and how it affects your decision-making abilities, especially during an important process such as this.
Once the tools you have chosen are installed and ready to use, you can start managing your documents. You will need to make some important decisions:
- When and how will you create the first document or print template?
- If you want to add your online processes to the automation, which aspects exactly will be important to incorporate?
- With whom will you work for data management?
A good platform should take care of all these key points for you. A popular approach to gathering all this information is to use focus groups and interviews. Using an MIS system can streamline the process for business owners and create an automated and dynamic workflow.
For additional information on how to handle and avoid fatigue during an MIS or W2P implementation, please read one of our previous blogs:
Decision Fatigue and MIS/W2P Implementation: