Yes, Your Print Shop Really Does Need a Print MIS Solution

“Does my print shop really need a Print MIS Solution?”

The short answer to that question is: Yes!

And here’s why…

Print MIS Explained

MIS is an abbreviation for “Management Information System.”

Like most manufacturing businesses, the printing industry requires juggling a lot of information to function profitably. An MIS solution helps you with the juggling, and therefore, the profits!

Here are some examples of the types of information a Print MIS solution will manage for you:

  • Customer names and contact info
  • Paper cost
  • Ink cost
  • Click cost
  • Hourly rates of each piece of equipment in your shop
  • Boxes
  • Tape
  • Overhead
  • Accounts receivables
  • Account aging
  • Sales commissions

You get the idea. Although it might seem like an overabundance of bullet points there, that’s really just scratching the surface of the knowledge you can have at your fingertips with a Print MIS solution for your print business.

Back in 2006, we implemented our first robust MIS solution. We were able to prepare estimates so fast that many customers reported that we had delivered the completed job before our competition even delivered pricing!

A Rocky Path to an Imperfect Result

Take a minute to picture this and see if it sounds familiar:

The phone rings, and you answer it; it’s a new prospect that you’ve never done business with before. They want to get some pricing on a whole package of marketing materials. They need business cards, sell sheets, pocket folders, tri-fold brochures, and notepads. Not only that, they need pricing for several quantities of each product.

Without an MIS solution in place, this is both exciting and terrifying at the same time.

You would love to help this prospect become a customer, but first,

  • You have the HUGE task at hand of preparing an estimate for them which, in your estimation, may take hours.
  • You may be writing all of your costs on paper and adding the markup there before composing some sort of document that you can email to the prospect with all of the (hopefully correct) pricing.
  • Or you may have an excel spreadsheet that you or someone created that helps you prepare pricing and this will at least ensure that you don’t forget to add the markup before sending the price to your prospect.

Either way, you are looking up costs, and taking the chance that every time you enter data about the job into your computer that a mistake will be made. Those mistakes result in you losing money on the job. Keeping prices consistent and eliminating double entry from job to job, month after month, is a challenge.

Pave Your Way to Growth

If any of the above sounds familiar, allow me to paint a picture of what life could look like if you implemented a Print MIS solution into your printing operation:

  1. On your computer, enter the name of the prospect company and all of the contact information you will need to communicate with them in the future. You now start an estimate for them.
  2. Addressing each product your customer has requested one at a time, you will build an estimate based on material and labor costs that you previously entered into the software one time when you initially set it up. (As your costs change over time, you will need to update them, but only as often as costs change.)

It’s as easy as selecting elements of the job from a list of supplies and tasks and entering quantities. The predefined costs and prices auto-populate in the software without you having to do any math. For the products that you price regularly, you can use the software to create templates to make the process even quicker.

Imagine getting a price to your customer within minutes of their request!

At Brandywine Printing, we’re now taking that a step further with Marketing Ideas for Printers. Using a combination of their website service and their Odyssey Print MIS solution, our customers and prospects are able to shop online for common printing products. This means that they can select the details for many products right on our website and watch the price change before their very eyes, getting their estimate or order placed almost instantly!

You Can Win with Speed

The world continues to move faster than ever, and if you want to continue to compete, you have to answer with speed.

Allowing your customers to tap into a Print MIS solution and removing the portion of time that estimating takes out of the equation will result in more business for you!

Consider this, while you are still figuring out your prices, your competitors are already printing.


Written by

Derek Brooks

Owner, Brandywine Printing

Derek owns and operates Brandywine Printing Inc., a family-owned business founded in the early 80s. Brandywine Printing helps businesses succeed by providing printed materials that improve their image and make them more efficient. Derek and his wife Kathy have been married for 21 years and have one daughter, Shiloh, who is pursuing a degree in music education. They are enjoying the empty nest life!