Whether you are a small print shop or a large commercial printer, competition is fierce in the print industry. With bigger demands, expanding territories, and tighter profit margins, the solution is not to lower your prices but to find a better way to stay organized and productive while supporting growth. It’s business management technology that is carving the line between success and failure.
Enterprise resource planning (ERP) technology has taken the world by storm in its effort to provide end-to-end control and improve the way business owners run their business. Although it has traditionally been a large enterprise game, ERP systems are now more accessible, affordable, and customizable to any size organization in almost every industry, print included. That’s why it’s important to understand what ERP for print is and how it can benefit your print shop.
What is ERP?
An ERP system is a business process management application built to integrate and automate core areas of a business. From sales to financials to inventory, ERP software uses a centralized database to bring data and business processes together into one single platform. Managing multiple systems that don’t integrate is one of the big struggles currently facing printers today. Without one system of record to access data and analyze outcomes, many businesses are in the dark on how to solve their inefficiencies.
ERP software is used to reduce repetitive manual tasks and automate key processes, like invoicing. Streamlined tasks and less time-consuming administrative work opens the door to faster order processing, more efficient employees, and happier customers.
Thanks to cloud-based ERP solutions, there are many options out there today to fit a range of goals, budgets, and business requirements. You can choose between various deployment options depending on your infrastructure, and you can decide to invest in specific modules based on your existing needs. Most of the leading ERP solutions are considered closed source ERP, also called proprietary software. This is conventionally licensed, either through a perpetual license or by subscription pricing, and the source code is not accessible to users to view or edit.
Microsoft Dynamics Business Central, for example, is a closed source ERP but open architecture. Open architecture is more about solution extensibility and integration with other solutions handled in a consistent and secure manner. Typically, open architecture solutions have common communication methods that allow for data to move between solutions in a manner that both “ends” can send/receive.
What is ERP for Print?
ERP software can be customized to fit specific industries. ERP for print, like PrintVis, includes a specific set of modules to help print shops run and manage their end-to-end operations. PrintVis is a cloud-based print management solution built on a proven ERP solution, Microsoft Dynamics Business Central. This type of cloud-based software-as-a-service (SaaS) ERP is available through a subscription service and runs on remote servers managed by a third party. That means it is quick to deploy, has low upfront costs, and is easy to access from anywhere with an internet connection.
Unlike other systems, PrintVis combines ERP functionality with print-specific MIS features to address unique print production requirements and nuances. Instead of operating like a traditional print MIS solution such as EFI or printIQ (read more about this here), PrintVis includes the robust back-office and additional ERP functionality that can help you reduce costs, boost efficiency, and deliver a better result to your customer:
- Financial Management
Accurately track and analyze your financials while automating time-consuming tasks and gaining insight into profitability.
- Sales and Customer Service
Easily manage customer relationships and boost sales with instant access to job statuses and inventory details.
- Inventory Management
Save capital and keep supplies at optimal levels with reliable inventory forecasting.
- Shop Floor Management
Automate key processes, collect real-time data, and instantly communicate across your production department to improve process efficiencies.
- Reporting and Business Intelligence
Use a range of pre-defined or customized reports to analyze various criteria, such as profit, cost centers, and departments to get real answers on operational efficiency and financial performance.
Keep in mind that a solution like PrintVis also includes essential print MIS functionality like print estimating, shop floor scheduling, job costing, case management (order processing), and web-to-print integrations. For more details on print management software requirements and tips on selecting the right solution for your print shop, download our step-by-step guide below:
Top 11 Benefits of Print ERP Software
If you’re considering a change in business management technology, here are some of the biggest benefits of using an ERP system to run your print business:
- Automated routine tasks and workflows to reduce errors and manual processes
- Easier access to data and improved data quality
- Smarter scheduling and better insight into job costing
- Reduced costs and extensive cost savings
- An intuitive user experience that enhances employee productivity
- Accurate reporting and business intelligence to analyze performance
- Instant communication and collaboration across departments
- More time to focus on customer service and customized pricing
- Scalability to grow with your print business
- Operational visibility for smart, informed decision making
- Faster order processing and increased revenue
When to Know You’re Ready for Print ERP Software
When faced with growing competition and decreasing margins, the benefits of print ERP software are enticing. But before you commit to change, it’s important to understand the investment of time, resources, and planning required to properly implement and adopt print ERP software. To help you do your due diligence and ensure successful deployment, check out our blog post on preparing for print management software. It includes a downloadable Print Management Software Readiness Scorecard that you can use to assess any risks in your business before you get started.