Researching printing software can be daunting. That’s because so many types and sizes of printers are used for thousands of different purposes. To find the software you need, you must understand the subtle (and constantly changing!) differences between print management software, print business management software, and print workflow software.
For example: If you want software to help manage your printing business, you probably won’t find it if you search for print management software or print workflow software. But you will find many choices if you search for print business management software, print business software, print shop software, print estimating software, or Print MIS (management information systems).
At Ordant software, here’s how we see the difference between print management software, print business management software, and print workflow software:
Print management software is typically used by network administrators to monitor the secure, cost-effective use of multiple workgroup printers in corporate office environments. With enterprise print management software, network administrators can track and control printer usage and expenses by department, ensure the security of printed documents, and reduce paper waste.
Print business management software is used by print-service providers to improve the overall efficiency of functions related to business operations. For example, print business management software is used for sales and administrative functions such as providing estimates to clients, managing orders from multiple customers, coordinating proof approval, scheduling and tracking jobs, and printing invoices and shipping labels. Customer-approved data about each job stays with the order during every stage of production and fulfillment.
Some print business management software was developed primarily for specific types of printing services, such as sign printing, screen printing, or label printing. Newer forms of print business management software, such as Ordant software, are designed for shops that produce a wide range of printed products with a variety of large and small printing devices. For example, Ordant software is used by businesses that print everything from business cards and marketing collateral to T-shirts, outdoor banners, and promotional products.
Print workflow software typically refers to software that overrides the printer driver with industry-specific tools that control the end-to-end production workflow. For example, print workflow software for large-format printers might include tools for imposing pages to be folded and trimmed, nesting different sized jobs, resizing photos, tiling panels, managing color, and adding grommet marks for finishing banners. Or, print workflow software can help ensure that color is reproduced in the most predictable, consistent manner on different types of analog presses, digital presses, and large-format printing equipment.
Why Is There So Much Confusion?
As various digital printing have been developed, adopted, and promoted, the expectations of customers has steadily risen. Today, customers expect ultra-fast turnaround of relatively small batches of highly customized printed materials. It’s almost impossible to meet these expectations without the type of intelligence and automation that printing software can provide.
But whenever developers of printing software add new features to solve a wider set of challenges, it becomes increasingly difficult to group printing software into distinct, easy-to-describe categories.
Because some print management software, print workflow software, and print business management software do have some overlapping capabilities, it’s quite common to confuse them when searching for information online.
For example, some print management software or print workflow software for large-format printing may include tools for preflighting and proofing print jobs, scheduling jobs, and calculating the costs of performing each job.
Similarly some print business management software may include nesting and job set-up tools to help determine the most cost-effective layout for large-format print jobs. A large-format print job that requires blank material to be trimmed off the edges of a wide-format roll will be more costly to produce than a job that can be run with minimal wasted material.
If your print management software can automatically calculate the actual cost of ink and material used for print jobs, your print business management software can use that data to help estimate the cost of printing similar jobs in the future.
All types of printing software can help you maximize the return on your investment in printing equipment.
But most print management software is geared toward controlling costs on multiple, smaller printers used by a variety of employees.
Print business management software is designed to help print-business owners maximize profit by improving efficiencies. When you can easily process more estimates for shorter-run jobs, you can reduce the amount of time your expensive high-production printing equipment sits idle. Your best employees can focus on selling complex, higher-margin jobs.
If you are looking for print management software for small, networked office workgroup printers, Ordant software isn’t right for you. But if you’re looking for print business management software for your print-for-pay business, Ordant offers an easy-to-implement, highly customizable solution.
We have helped hundreds of print shops gain control over their estimating, order management, and proof approval processes. And we can help your printing business or sign shop too. To schedule a demo, visit www.ordant.com