Print shops and small manufacturers have a lot in common when it comes to managing production and scheduling resources. They both require technology that reduces production inefficiencies for the lowest possible cost. The problem is, most of these companies are coming off traditional manual methods of managing operations, like spreadsheets and unrelated systems.
If you’ve read this article on standalone software (or lived through it), you understand the problems that error-prone spreadsheets can cause. Without a system for standardized production processes and real-time job statuses from your plant floor, your print shop is not reaching its total capacity and potential.
That’s why production scheduling software exists. In this blog post, we’ll tell you more about print production scheduling software and why it’s integral to your continued success as a printer today. We’ve also included some advice on what functionality and factors to consider before you invest in new software.
Print Production Scheduling Software: What it is and How it Works
Similar to the manufacturing industry, scheduling in the printing business is highly complex. Every product (i.e., print job) is unique in terms of quantity, design, and cost. With short lead times and multiple departments required to finish a print job, there is very little margin for error, but it’s necessary to convert your estimates into orders.
Print production scheduling software is designed to facilitate and automate the process of production management. Instead of physically carrying job tickets around the production floor and manually tracking down changes, this software considers your purchase orders, current stock, equipment, capacity, job costs, and more to ensure you have the proper people and resources in place to complete the order. The bottom line is that it’s built to keep track of production capacity and equipment utilization, effectively allocate resources, and operate efficiently in one system.
This type of software provides real-time information on the availability of resources, raw materials, equipment, and machine status so printers can create optimized production schedules. But, it’s important to remember that print production scheduling software is not just for the shop floor. It is used by almost every department, from sales to delivery. With everything in one system, all departments have the tools and visibility to collaborate and track job production status.
With advanced planning and scheduling software, print companies can:
- Standardize production processes and create a smooth production cycle
- Reduce bottlenecks and material waste
- Streamline communication across departments
- Maximize production capacity
- Monitor resource utilization
- Forecast and benchmark performance
- Simplify decision making
- Prioritize tasks and quickly adapt schedules
- Improve end-to-end real-time visibility
- Identify process improvements and cost savings
Whether standalone or integrated into an ERP system, production planning, and scheduling systems come in various sizes and functionality to fit any niche, from live capacity planning to visual drag-and-drop scheduling, the technology you choose should align with your current production workflows and people.
At Wye Print, we like to keep technology simple and affordable. We always encourage our clients to choose a centralized, all-in-one business management system that has the functionality they need. When you use integrated print ERP (also known as MIS) software, you can bring real-time data and workflows into your production planning and scheduling. This helps to eliminate human errors caused by manual data entry and improve overall collaboration between departments. Working from one end-to-end system with the right production and scheduling tools allows printers to identify bottlenecks, make better use of equipment, and increase profitability.
What to Know Before You Buy
Print companies should focus on the user experience and visual interface when looking for functionality in production scheduling software. Print production scheduling software is designed to help everyone from your estimators to your production managers access production schedules and job details from anywhere. The software needs to be user-friendly and accessible from anywhere on mobile phones and tablets.
There are multiple ways to plan and schedule print jobs. Here are some other factors to consider before investing in new production and scheduling software:
Automated Scheduling:Schedule your jobs automatically (or semi-automatically) as a new estimate is made. PrintVis automatically generates time, capacity, and usage recommendations for optimal production efficiency when you create a new estimate.
Visual Scheduling:Give your production department the intuitive graphical interface to lay out and plan the workweek. For example, the PrintVis Planning Board works like a traditional Gantt board where the planner can drag-and-drop various task lines of jobs to the appropriate machine and timeslot based on the machines that are available and what is already planned.
Requirements Scheduling:Schedule your print production management based on different priorities, such as milestones, bottleneck details, or specific dates, times, and production speeds.
Capacity Planning:Determine your organization’s production capacity to meet fluctuating demands, including open machine capacity, available labor hours, and scheduled production in one place.
Material Requirement Planning (MRP):This allows printers to do basic work order management and production planning tasks but also includes the ability to analyze material availability and provision materials needed for future production.
Job Status Reporting:Helps production managers track jobs and analyze potential production schedules in case of disruptive events and issues that may hinder production.
Maintenance Scheduling:Make sure all your printing presses and expensive equipment continue operating smoothly by keeping track of maintenance and reducing downtime.
Print Production Workflows:Workflows can include information needed to process each order, including quantity, material requirements, content, packaging, and layout. Smart systems will also have status tracking capabilities and views.
Get Expert Advice on Selecting the Right Print Technology
It can be overwhelming how fast technology changes in the print industry, but we’re here to help. To find the right print MIS or print production scheduling software that will help your print organization optimize operations, maximize resource utilization, and grow exponentially, you need a print technology partner by your side. Our Microsoft and print technology expertise sets us apart from other solution providers.
To get started, here is a selection of resources that will give you a better understanding of your technology options.
|How to Prepare for an Enterprise-Wide Print ERP (MIS) Implementation|
|6 Ways That Effective Print Job Scheduling Minimizes Costs|
READ BLOG POST
|How to Select Print Shop Management Technology|
You can also book a demo with us, and we can show you around the print production and scheduling functionality included in PrintVis.