Choosing print company software to automate different elements of your operation can be daunting. It requires vision, strategy, and familiarity with all of your options.
Here are 11 categories of print company software that can help your shop become more productive and efficient.
Online ordering (web-to-print). This software enables buyers to estimate, design, proof, and submit their own jobs whenever they choose. It must be simple to use, routinely updated, and actively promoted.
Job submission. While some customers prefer the self-service aspect of online ordering, not all orders will come in that way. Some work may come from walk-in customers. And job data for complex, high-value printing projects should be written up by a sales rep who has discussed the specific requirements of the job with the customer. Job submission software can help you aggregate orders from online portals, walk-in customers, and sales reps. Once all job data is centrally stored, jobs can be automatically scheduled and tracked. Plus, your prepress, production, and finishing crews can see any special notes associated with the job.
Estimating.Software that can automatically and accurately calculate estimates for a high volume of small, routine jobs can save your staff hours of time. It can ensure that you aren’t losing money of each job. Easy-to-use estimating software can deliver quotes quickly and impress potential customers with your speed and responsiveness.
Supplies Purchasing. Software tools can help you keep track of vendor data and purchase orders. Inventory management features will let you know if your shop has the right materials on hand for the job.
Job Set Up (Prepress). The type of job set-up software you need will depend on the types of products and services you offer your customers. Are you printing business cards, books, banners, billboards (or all of the above)? Do you need to personalize each printed item with different names, photos, or bar codes? Will images need to be supersized and printed on different types of materials? Various types of prepress and print management (RIP) software ensure that files are properly prepared for output on different types of printing equipment.
Proof Approval. Your staff can waste a lot of time trying to contact everyone in an organization who needs to see a proof. With proofing software, you can post a copy of the proof in the cloud and your client can make sure it is approved by whoever needs to see it before the job goes to press.
Production Management. This software is all about reducing errors and inefficiencies in the process of manufacturing different types of printed products. Production management software may include features for scheduling, ganging up smaller jobs to run on the same roll of material, sending different types of jobs to specific types of printers, and managing the color consistency of jobs output on various printing devices.Production management software can also gather actual job-cost data from machine operations and control how printed materials are cut, embossed, bound, grommeted, or hemmed.
Asset Management. These tools help you and your clients keep track of the latest, approved versions of logos, photographs, label information, and other digital assets used to set up jobs for printed or online publication. These programs can also keep track of which assets are currently licensed for what types of projects.
Mailing, Shipping, and Fulfillment. This software ensures that catalogs, direct mail pieces, or retail graphics packages are delivered to the right individuals or store locations. Mailing software can help you manage the quality of the mailing list, eliminate duplicates, and comply with complicated postal regulations or shipping requirements.
Invoicing. For every job that gets shipped, you need to produce and send an accurate invoice to the individual responsible for making the payment. Software can set up the invoices, track payments, and automatically send reminders to customers who haven’t paid within the specified time period.
Tracking Results. Marketing professionals like the measurability of online marketing. They can see who opened a marketing message and whether it prompted the customer to follow the call to action. But research shows that printed mail or signs and displays can help drive customers to the online marketing site.
Some software enables you to add Quick Response (QR) codes, Personalized URLs, and Near Field Communications (NFC) tags to your printed pieces. With these tools, readers of the printed piece can use their smartphones to connect with an online landing page. Once online, they can get more information, subscribe to e-newsletters, sign up for events, or place an order.
Some print company software enables you to help your customers create, automate, personalize, and track marketing campaigns that use a combination of web, email, mobile, social, and print media.
Where To Begin
At Ordant, we believe it’s important to focus first on the basic tools that every business needs to succeed: estimating, order management, job approvals, job tracking, customer relationship management, and product shipping.
The speed and accuracy of each of these processes affects how your customers perceive your printing company. Each of these functions can be considered “touchpoints” that help create a favorable overall experience for your customers.
Tracking costs and orders can also help you identify your most profitable customers. To help keep these customers loyal, you may want to add specialized services such as cross-media marketing support, fulfillment, online ordering, or digital asset management.
To schedule a demonstration of Ordant software and talk about strategies for print company software adoption, visit www.ordant.com