Print Estimating and Order Management … Simplified

A Guide to help Print Companies and Sign Shops

Five questions to ask about print order management software

Written by Ordant on October 04, 2017

Does it ever feel like your business is spiraling out of control? Print order management software can help alleviate those feelings. When your current work is under control, you can focus your energy on growth.

It’s hard to sleep well when you are constantly worrying that jobs might be delayed or overlooked. But you can rest easy with a well-executed print order management system. With a cloud-based print order management system such as Ordant, you can always check the status of all jobs and whether they are on track for on-time delivery. And Ordant makes it easy to track shipments and convert completed orders into invoices.  

Why Do You Need Software?

A good print order management system is essential for managing the constant flow of ever-changing print jobs and delivery details.

In an ideal world, you could simply process every incoming order in the sequence in which the customer approved the job. But that’s not realistic. For one thing, no two jobs and no two customers are alike.

Some jobs may involve a simple banner-stand graphic with a 10-day turnaround time.. Event-related orders may involve a mix of small- and large-format graphics on paper, polypropylene, fabric, and outdoor-durable vinyl with a turnaround time of 5 days. Some elements of the event-related job might require hemming or grommeting. Other pieces might require laminating or mounting. Some customers are clear about what they want and prompt in approving proofs; others are not.

Likewise, not all print order management systems are alike. Some software can be slow, complicated, and intimidating. Other software, such as Ordant, is gloriously simple to use. When order management software looks as if it would be faster and easier than manually writing up an job ticket, your staff will be happy to use it.   

Five Questions to Ask

Here are five good questions to ask when evaluating print order management software.

How do the jobs get entered into the system?

In some cases, orders can automatically be entered after the client approves the online estimate. But you also need to know if orders can feed directly into your system through your online storefront. Can your sales reps enter jobs as soon as they have closed the sale? Is the system easy enough for use by employees who greet walk-in customers?

Can you easily customize the system to reflect how your print shop is organized?

The order management system will allow you to see whether a specific job is in your prepress, production, finishing, shipping, or billing departments. If you have additional steps in your workflow, such as outsourced graphic design or installation, you should be able to make the adjustment in the workflow yourself.

Ease of customization is particularly important if you have multiple types of printing processes. Some jobs might go to the screen-printing prepress department while others go to the offset or wide-format prepress department.You should be able to track where each job is at all times.

Will your employees use it?

A print order management system is useless if employees don’t enter all jobs that come into your shop. When employees create workarounds or work on jobs that haven’t been entered into the order management system, the software can’t accurately tell you if the jobs in the order management system are at risk of being delayed.

Choose an order management system that is simple to use. The more time it takes to learn how to use an order management system, the less likely your employees are to use it.

How easy is it to reprioritize jobs in the system?

The ability to make changes in digital workflows can be both a blessing and a curse. It’s a blessing when you catch an error immediately before the job goes into production. But it can be a curse when your best customer calls and tell you he needs the job finished even sooner than originally requested.

If you have to reschedule a few jobs to keep your best customer happy, you should be able to do so. With Ordant order management software you can easily do it in a manner that keeps every employee informed of the revisions.

What data can you collect from each job?

Can you control the type and amount of data the software will give you about each job and the amount of work completed each week, month, and year?  Sometimes you want a lot of data to make important decisions..Other times you don’t want to sift through mountains of data to get the answers you need.

For example, a simple list of jobs currently in the pipeline for the next two weeks can alert you that you might need to outsource some work or plan some promotions to generate new orders.

If you need more control over your orders, estimates, proof approvals, shipping, invoicing, and customer-relationship management, check out Ordant. To see a tutorial about Ordant’s order management features, watch this video on YouTube: https://youtu.be/Y3NLb9_ojds .Or schedule a personalized, one-to-one demonstration by visiting www.ordant.com

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“I cannot stress how vital Ordant is to the success of our business. It is the best decision with regards to upgrading our print estimating software I could have made.”
Rory O’Neil President Dynamite Digital
“They assisted with every need and provided me with the solution to not only quote fast but more importantly to provide accurate and profitable print quotes. I highly recommend Ordant.”
Art Moreno President Best Print Graphics
“It is very easy to use and it is a great tool to track our orders and estimates. We use it to price all of our digital, offset and wide format printing estimate.”
Jose Ibarra President Ibarra Brothers Printing