For a long time, many owners of small- to medium-size printing businesses didn’t think it was necessary to develop print shop systems for management and daily operations. Because every print job is different, some questioned whether it was possible to set up standard workflows. Many shops continue to manage many orders like separate projects.
But that type of thinking is changing - particularly now that so many print shop systems can be automated. Well-organized, automated systems are becoming increasingly necessary to meet customer expectations for fast turnaround of multiple-part jobs that combine short runs of different sizes and types of prints and graphics.
What is a System?
In his 2007 book “System Busters: How to Stop Them In Your Business,” author Philip P. Beyer defines a system as “a network of interacting written procedures, policies, and checklists to create an operations manual for your company.” Drawing from his experience as a commercial print shop owner, Breyer explains why having the right systems in place can help small-to-large companies grow and prosper. He illustrates how good print shop systems can help you minimize chaos and avoid unprofitable operations, mistakes, and missed deadlines. Having the right systems reduces the need to work long, stressful hours or deal with constant interruptions about the same types of problems.
With automation tools such a Ordant’s cloud-based software, you no longer have to publish detailed operations manuals order to establish productive print shop systems. Once you have established policies, procedures, and checklists, you can build many elements into an cloud-based print-shop management system that can be used by employees in all departments. Ordant’s easy-to-use software includes integrated modules for job estimating, order management, proof approvals, job status oversight, purchase orders, invoicing, shipping, and customer relationship management. Ordant connects to QuickBooks, Slack, Google Drive, Stripe, FedEx and UPS software.
Most processing steps and procedures can be guided by steps you use to set up quick and accurate estimating. Policies and guidelines can be posted, updated, and shared in collaborative online workspaces such as Google Drive.
Eight Ways to Benefit
From reading print-shop management books and getting feedback from our customers, we can list at least eight key benefits of developing the right systems for operating your print business.
Less chaos. When everyone can see the status of every order in progress, there are fewer crises related to overlooked orders and miscommunications from one department to the next. Everyone can easily see specific notes and instructions related to the completion of each job.
Less waste. When communications are clear, there will be fewer mistakes and less rework.
Fewer managers. When you aren’t constantly fighting fires caused by misunderstandings and mistake, you need fewer managers and assistant managers to resolve problems. Your employees can focus on learning about new technologies, reaching out to new customers, and developing new products.
Fewer meetings. Instead of routinely meeting to make sure everyone is on the same page about specific jobs, you can hold fewer meetings. And instead of meeting to resolve problems, you can use the time to recognize accomplishments or brainstorm new ideas and product innovations.
Better employee training. When you’ve defined and automated a print shop management system, it is faster and easier to bring new employees up to speed. If the correct procedures are guided by the software, an employee is less likely to get different instructions from different trainers.
Better quality control. Clearly defined systems for proof approvals and job set-up and processing leads to more predictable, consistent quality. Your employees should know how to handle different types of issues that can affect that quality of a finished job.
More consistent service. When customers call with questions about their jobs, anyone who has access to the automated system should be able to provide a quick and accurate response.
More profits. A good print shop system should be designed to ensure that every job is profitable. During the process of setting up the system, you can identify and resolve issues related to waste, mistakes, and inaccurate costs. If you would like to convert your print shop management procedures and policies into an automated, error-reducing system, schedule a demonstration of Ordant at www.ordant.com. The system is extremely easy to set up, customize, and use. In addition to ending a lot of chaos-induced stress, Ordant makes it easier to achieve the profitability required for continued growth.