Choosing print company software can have a significant impact on your bottom line.
Making smart choices enables your firm to be more productive and competitive with fewer employees and less overhead. And it can enable you to diversify and grow by adding new services. Some print company software can help you provide specialized marketing services needed to retain your biggest and best customers.
But buying the wrong print company software can seriously erode profits. Your staff can waste hundreds of aggravating hours developing fixes or workarounds to system that was never a good fit for your operations. While you spin your wheels, your competitors race ahead with highly automated systems that really work for them.
Selecting print company software can be daunting, because so many categories of software exist. Some software helps manage business functions, while other software automates prepress, production and finishing processes. More advanced software can add capabilities such as the ability to create, automate, and measure personalized marketing campaigns that integrate printed, online, and mobile communications.
At some point during your company’s growth, you will need software to streamline your business operations, sales processes, and production systems. If you’re not sure where to begin, here are five good questions to ask yourself:
1. What is my long-term vision for the company? Would you prefer to serve a relatively small group of bigger companies? Or do you want to serve as many different customers as possible -- in your hometown, the region, or nationally? Do you have a unique business model that could be duplicated in other cities and scaled up quickly? With a clear growth strategy, you can eliminate print company software products that don’t fit your goals.
2. What business problems do I need to solve immediately? Perhaps your employees spend two or three hours a day on repetitive administrative tasks such as estimating, retrieving or re-keying order information, or answering basic customer information about job status. Or maybe you’re routinely losing money on several orders per month. Perhaps you’ve lost money on jobs that were inadvertently overlooked. In these situations, you should start with print business software that helps you be more efficient in how jobs are quoted, managed and delivered.
If big customers have complained about your ability to provide consistent color, adopt print company software that can control the predictability of your color output from multiple devices.
Some print workflow management software includes tools for setting up job tickets and tracking job status and production costs. But print workflow management software is fundamentally different from print business software. Print business software expedites estimating and invoicing and provides data that can help you determine which jobs, products and customers are most profitable.
3. What type of print company software would enable me to offer better service to my customers? It depends on what your customers value most. If most of your business comes from a few big, contracted customers, then you might want to focus on building web-to-print services that make it easier and more convenient for them to continue doing business with you. Or, you might invest in a digital asset management system that enables growing companies to easily store and reuse the rights-managed images, approved text, templates, and brand graphics they need for online and print marketing programs.
But if your customers have complained about late deliveries, miscommunications, or oversights on their orders, you might want to focus on software that can handle order management, proof approvals, customer-relationship management, and job-status tracking. A program such as Ordant software can alert you if a job is at risk for late delivery so you can take corrective action before you disappoint the customer.
If your shop produces a high volume of fast-turnaround, short-run orders to a huge variety of price-conscious customers, you can provide better service by quickly and consistently providing clear and accurate quotes and invoices.
4. Will my employees use this software? Investing in any type of print company software can be a waste of money if your employees refuse to use it. If the software is too complicated, frustrated employees will revert to the “old way” of doing things or invent workarounds. If the software disrupts established procedures, consider how much time will be required to persuade employees to accept the new way of working.
5. Can it really reduce my overall operating costs? What hidden costs might crop up after you start using the new software? Will you need to hire a new employee to keep the software updated? Will you have to pay extra to customize certain features? How much does it cost to upgrade the software? Add new users?
Compare the total operating cost of the new software to the potential cost savings you could achieve if the print company software was fully implemented.
If your company is ready to adopt print business software, schedule a demonstration of Ordant software at www.ordant.com. When you see how simple it is to use and customize Ordant estimating, order management, and web-to-print software, you can rest assured that this is a platform that can grow and evolve with your business.