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CMS--Winning the Installation Game

May 2000
Discipline, flexibility, planning, responsibility—key ingredients to successfully implementing computer management systems.


BY MARIE RANOIA ALONSO


The installation of a computer management system is not purely an academic process—it is an arduous, yet ultimately beneficial, production process that must be initiated, controlled and completed without impeding the regular, day-to-day business tasks of any commercial printing operation.

Easier said than done. In a perfect world, implementing new software solutions for estimating, electronic job ticketing, job costing, job invoicing, inventory tracking—essentially every administrative data collection component of a print production cycle—would be as easy as sticking a disk into a CD drive and executing a few, effortless mouse clicks.

In actuality, as many commercial printers are already painfully aware, the process of installing a computer management system—whether for a $2 million or $20 million commercial printing operation—is a delicate undertaking.

The best way for any commercial printer to approach such a daunting task is to face it with open communication. Trust the computer management system supplier, depend on them for advice and direction, share with them your infrastructure concerns, brief them on your personnel's technological aptitude; but, by all means, do not relinquish complete responsibility of the installation process to your supplier.

Business as Usual
In short: Stay in charge. So advises Paul Grieco, president of Printers Software Inc., which specializes in computer management system installations at commercial printing shops ranging from 10 to 200-plus employees in size.

"Installing a computer management system at any commercial printing site should not interrupt the day-to-day print production and administrative operations of that site," Grieco advises. "The installation process must be managed intelligently by the supplier and the printer, and not be a disruptive chore attacked in a one-day, or even one-week, period."

For many small- to mid-size commercial printing operations, a successful implementation includes two important ingredients, according to Grieco. "First, the software to be implemented must be designed to be self-installed. It must be easy to use, easy to understand. Second, the commercial printing operation itself must be a disciplined environment, comprised of people willing to take responsibility for their own successful installation."

A successful installation, for many small- to mid-size commercial printers, is achieved by reviewing technical manuals on the software of choice, asking proactive questions of the technology supplier, establishing a sound plan with key company personnel and, at all costs, maintaining an open dialogue with the supplier.

 

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