Advertisers Press Takes Data-Driven Approach to Efficiency with EFI
Advertisers Press (AP), a commercial printing business based in Middleton, Wis., is maintaining higher efficiency, eliminating errors and driving market competitiveness in its wide-ranging production operations by implementing an advanced EFI™ Midmarket Print Productivity Suite business and production management workflow from Electronics For Imaging Inc. (PRINTING United Booth 8233). The newly adopted workflow has already established positive new results in production accuracy and estimating in the first few months of use.
An MIS/ERP Workflow that Boosts Efficiency and Reduces Waste
AP was able to extend the power of its workflow system using the Suite’s flexible interface to include intricate information on jobs. This ensures the company consistently captures any data it needs within the workflow for greater levels of efficiency and automation.
“With our old system, CSRs would often type paragraphs describing, for example, how a book should be bound — and those notes were always in danger of being misinterpreted or overlooked,” said Kevin Skinner, the company’s Network Administrator. “We were able to create drop-down menu descriptions that cover about 95% of the variations and requests we will see in work we produce. It eliminated the need for excessive use of the notes field, and this alone has resulted in fewer mistakes.”
AP’s Suite, which includes an integrated shipping software component, also gives company CSRs immediate data on where jobs are in the plant as well as when they have shipped once completed. “[In the past], when a customer called to get information on the status of a job, customer service had to walk around to track the job down in the shop, which could take 15 minutes or more,” said Skinner. “Now our CSRs can access the information in seconds and provide the information while the customer is on the phone.”
Better Data Creates More Wins
Thanks to painstaking work done to capture machine specifications for production equipment, and the Suite’s strengths in quickly providing accurate details and scenarios, AP can now capture costs more accurately and boost its win rate for estimates above the 20% it had prior to adding the workflow system.
When first using the new workflow, AP compared all estimates created in EFI Pace™ — the Suite’s core MIS/ERP software — with estimates the company would have created in its previous MIS. Company executives discovered that they now have a more detailed view of costs and, in many cases, the workflow has allowed them to be more competitive with pricing without sacrificing margin.
“We send out a lot of estimates,” Skinner explained, “and we know some of those are for jobs we likely won’t get. But, because we can now be more accurate and confident about our pricing, there is definitely an opportunity to increase our conversion rate and gain new customers.”
The company, which offers sheetfed and rollfed offset printing, digital printing, fulfillment, warehousing and more, had used legacy MIS technologies from EFI for several decades. Given the age of its previous systems and its previous MIS not being fully integrated throughout the plant, AP senior management found “it clearly was time to update our MIS,” Skinner said.
Fewer IT Hassles and Greater Usability
Unlike AP’s previous systems, the Midmarket Suite is browser-based, which minimizes the IT burden with an end-to-end workflow. “It is one less thing our IT team has to update every month,” said Skinner.
The company will become even more efficient in the future when AP integrates advanced fulfillment and customer relationship management components from EFI into the Suite. Plus, AP will be able to seamlessly integrate much of its digital printing operation into the workflow. The company uses an EFI Fiery® digital front end (DFE) to drive one of its digital color presses and will be able to connect that DFE with the Suite to efficiently manage and monitor digital print queues, job statuses, digital press maintenance needs and much more.
The Midmarket Print Productivity Suite is a comprehensive portfolio for the print industry with scalable, integrated, solutions that provide out-of-the-box value. It is designed to drive and preserve commercial printing and display graphics businesses’ margin and revenue by providing improved visibility, communication and performance through certified end-to-end workflows that optimize resource utilization, eliminate manual touchpoints and reduce waste. Users such as AP gain greater flexibility with a workflow that can adapt and scale to future needs as they grow.