Print order management software enables print shop owners and their employees to track the progress of all active jobs in their facilities at any given time.
Each day, employees in the prepress, production, and finishing departments can easily see which jobs have been proofed, approved, and scheduled for printing, cutting, laminating, binding, hemming, or other finishing processes.
Employees in each department can easily see the orders they must complete each day. Employees in the shipping and billing departments immediately know when each job is ready to be packaged, and invoiced.
All print-shop employees can see at a glance if any jobs are at risk for late delivery.
Automated order management software wasn’t essential in printing plants that routinely handled high-volume jobs for a few big publishers. But it is critical in the thousands of print shops that produce hundreds of short- run jobs (1 to 1000 copies) for dozens of different customers each month. Most customers today expect print shops to be able to print, finish, pack, and deliver their jobs very quickly.
Automated vs. Manual Systems
Automated print order management systems are much more efficient than using paper-based job tickets or manually updated spreadsheets. Here are some of the benefits.
Better Oversight. Compared to a paper-based system, there is less risk that an incoming order will be misplaced and overlooked. A neglected job might not be noticed until the customer calls to ask about it.
But a print order management system must be set up so that all incoming orders are funnelled into the system, whether the order is placed online, through a sales representative, or with an in-shop employee.
Improved Customer Service. Order management software improves customer service by enabling all print-shop employees to easily answer customer questions about the status of a job in progress. Employees don’t have to call various departments to see where a specific job is within the shop.
Lower Risk of Miscommunication. If the deadline for a specific job needs to be moved up or delivery instructions are modified, the software can ensure that everyone working on the job is aware of the changes. Verbal instructions don’t always get relayed to everyone who needs to know about the requested change.
Easy Access to Customer Information. With the print order management system from Ordant, print-shop employees can easily access pertinent information about the customer for each job. They can quickly see who approved the job and who should be contacted if an issue arises. The data can include notes about how the customer prefers to be contacted.
Faster Decision-Making. When your sales and marketing team can track how many orders are scheduled the next two weeks, they can take action to generate more business if needed. When you review data from orders completed in the previous month, you can see which types of jobs and customers are most profitable. If you find orders that weren’t profitable, you can make adjustments in either your pricing, processes, or materials.
One Component of Print MIS
Print order management tool are often included in comprehensive print business management software packages known as Print MIS (management information systems). The Print MIS automates multiple business-related functions such as estimating jobs, issuing purchase orders for needed materials, tracking actual job costs, and automatically printing shipping instructions and labels.
When customer, order, and cost data is linked in a Print MIS program, you can reduce the amount of time involved in re-entering data about the job or customer during different stages of production..
Many jobs entered in the order-management system will come from quotes approved from the print-estimating module. During the estimating process, you may have suggested production-related options that can raise or lower the production costs. For example, the customer can choose a lower-cost material for a short-term print job or a premium-quality substrate for jobs that must make a lasting impression. The approved order confirms the option that your customer prefers.
Many print order management systems are designed to handle a relatively narrow range of printed projects. For example, some are designed primarily for offset printing, screen printing, large-format or grand-format printing, or sign making. Each of these processes may involve different types of steps for prepress, printing, and finishing.
The print order management system developed by Ordant Software can easily be customized for use in print shops that use a combination of printing processes. The software settings can be easily modified as the workflow and processes you use to fulfill various orders continue to change.
Ordant print shop management software also includes tools for print estimating, customer relationship management, online proofing, purchase orders, and online order approval. The optional web-to-print module is designed for seamless integration with the order management system. For a demonstration, visit www.ordant.com