Print shop software is the last thing on your mind when starting a printing business. But if you plan to grow beyond one or two printing and finishing devices, it’s important to be aware of options for print shop software. The smart use of print shop software enables you to add production equipment without having to hire additional sales and production personnel.
Planning for Growth
Even if you start small, your new print business might grow faster than expected if you offer wildly original designs, buzzworthy products, or excellent service. And there are dozens of ways to diversify.
A printing business today isn’t just about putting ink on paper. With super-versatile digital printing and finishing equipment, you can “manufacture” everything from personalized art, home or office decor, and photo merchandise to signs, displays, vehicle wraps, promotional products, or decorated apparel,
A trickle of orders for small, fast-turnaround jobs can rapidly become a flood of orders for small,jobs. Sure, you can outsource some types of work. But eventually you will want to invest in more printers and/or finishing equipment so you can quickly turnaround whatever business comes your way.
Adding a new printer or finishing device doesn’t mean you must hire additional employees. Many big printing companies use print-shop software to run highly automated facilities with lots of equipment and surprisingly few workers.
Types of Print Shop Software
The lines between the categories of print shop software are constantly blurring as software developers add new features. It is easy to get confused. Here are five key areas of your business you can automate as your printing business grows:
Business management: This type of software (also known as Print MIS solutions) can help you with estimating, order-entry, purchasing, job scheduling, and job-status tracking. It avoids the need to re-enter customer data when it’s time to print shipping labels and invoices. Business management software can generate reports that can help you see which types of jobs are most profitable and who your best customers are.
Customer relationships: This software helps you track details about the contact information, preferences, and interests of each current and prospective customer. You can see previous communications with each client, what types of jobs that they have ordered, and what discounts you have offered them. Some software developed for printing companies enable you to automate the process of sending and approving proofs.
Online ordering: “Web-to-print” software enables customers to submit orders to your company online, without the help of a customer-service representative or salesperson. When customers submit their job files, the files can automatically be checked to ensure that they are properly prepared for your printing equipment. If corrections are needed, the customer will be asked to make the corrections and resubmit the file to meet your requirements. When this function is properly integrated, the approved jobs can be automatically scheduled and your clients can track the status of each job without having to interrupt your customer-service team.
Production and color-management: This software sends data about the job specifications to your printing and finishing devices. The color-management intelligence built into these programs can help ensure that the client’s brand colors will match even when different elements of a job are produced on different printers.This can avoid wasting time and materials reprinting important jobs.
Asset management: Printing companies and their clients can waste many hours tracking down the latest approved version of a photo file or PDF for a marketing piece. Asset management programs can help you keep track of all of the digital files used to produce different jobs. If you can help your clients keep track of all of the images, content, and templates they use in their marketing pieces, they will return to your print-shop for future work..
Meeting High Expectations
Print buyers today have sky-high expectations. They want their orders printed and delivered quickly without errors or delays. Satisfying these high expectations can be almost impossible without well-integrated print shop software.
If you have set up the software before your business really starts booming, you can confidently market your company’s services. A well-automated system will enable you to collaborate easily with outsourced suppliers and partners and manage the thousands of details that can determine whether each customer will be disappointed or dazzled by your work.
At Ordant Software, we have helped dozens of small to mid-sized printing companies and sign shops diversify and grow. Our easy-to-use business management software includes tools for estimating, order management, supplies purchasing, customer relationship management, job approvals, job-status tracking, invoicing and shipping. We can also set up fully integrated web-to-print modules that make it easy for you expand your client base or generate repeat business from your best customers.
Because Ordant is cloud-based, it doesn’t require a huge upfront investment. You can access key business and production data from desktop and mobile devices and expand capabilities as your company continues to grow. For a demonstration, visit www.ordant.com