Computer Management--Proactive Management
- What do commercial printers think of the Internet—and the vast adoption of computer management systems at present?
- What systems are commercial printers using to track print orders and job performance?
- How are printing executives eliminating bottlenecks in production, thanks to investments in the latest upgrades to the existing gamut of computer management software solutions?
See for yourself . . .
Eden Prairie, MN
The Problem: Sean Condon, estimating/planning supervisor at Challenge Printing, a commercial operation that serves Minneapolis, St. Paul and surrounding areas, reports that Challenge has operated a printing management system for many years, but last year it purchased a new one. The need for a new, more modern system was driven by several key factors: The system that Challenge had at the time was often under-utilized due to its limited capabilities, and very often alternative workflows were created around the system because the system failed to meet Challenge's needs. Also, the older system was basically used to generate estimates and job numbers to facilitate data collection, job costing, invoicing and accounting functions. Job tickets and other forms of print production communications were either too basic or nonexistent.
"It should be noted that all of the major printing management systems of this era were at this same level. Within the last two years, the three major players in this area—Programmed Solutions, Hagen and Logic—have all undergone major upgrades. So major that I would say, if you haven't seen these latest versions, you haven't seen a printing management system," Condon reports.
The largest bottlenecks to Challenge's original print management system revolved around communications. Job tracking was a matter of going around the shop to physically find the job. Realistically, only one person had access to the job information at any one time—the person holding the job ticket. So multi-tasking on a job was cumbersome. Any changes to a job already in progress required manually tracking the job down and changing all related documentation.