Is it time to revisit print MIS?

Written by:
Howard Fenton
Senior Technology Consultant
When I ask people in seminars how they feel about their Print MIS systems I hear how most people have a love-hate relationship with their systems. They love when it speeds the estimating, scheduling or tracking process and hate when it does not do what they want or when they consider the cost of updating or replacing their system.
A conclusion from an MIS survey done in the UK a few years ago was that “few companies use their MIS to best effect and in fact, the overwhelming majority could derive very much more benefit from their systems.” The study by Vision identified a host of issues including: how much they used it, the time required for estimating, and how many companies use it for costing and profit ability analysis. These are the same issues we see in the US.
The issues confronting most companies with older print MIS systems is that these problems are getting worse as more jobs are printed at shorter run lengths and jobs enter through web-to-print solutions that don’t communicate with the print MIS system. This creates a burden not only on the estimating function but also on the management of those jobs especially if the process is manual.
In our latest digital leader research, the greatest difference reported between digital leaders and laggards was for estimating with a difference of 24 percentage points between leaders and laggards, 52% of leaders used job floor tracking software while only 28% of laggards used it.
The traditional role of manually tracking each job as it goes from step to step can be overwhelming in an on-demand printing environment in which 20-50 jobs could be manufactured each day costing a company $23-$57K/yr. Lets say that tracking each job takes 10 min/job and costs $30/hr. In a small shop, there may be 20/jobs/day and a medium sized shop 50/jobs/day.
Low Volume
10min/Job x 20 Jobs/day = 200 Min = 3.3 Hrs/day x $30/Hr = $100/day
$100/day x 19 work days/month = $1,900/month x 12 = $22,800/Yr
Mid-sized Volume
10min/Job x 50 Jobs/day = 500 Min = 8.3 Hrs/day x $30/Hr = $250/day
$250/day x 19 work days/month = $4,750/month x 12 = $57,000/Yr
We could make a similar calculation from savings associated with faster estimates. Often just the savings associated with estimating and tracking times can help to cost justify an investment in a print MIS system in one-two years.
How much time do you waste in the administration of your work?
Howard Fenton is a Senior Technology Consultant at NAPL. Howie advises commercial printers, in-plants, and manufacturers on workflow management, operations, digital services, and customer research. He is a paid contributor to this blog.

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