Tracking and Managing Your Jobs
A sourcelist of business and management software.
Running a successful shop is much more than just having top-of-the-line equipment, utilizing the newest technologies, and having a skilled and knowledgeable staff. While these things are certainly important to operating a profitable business, if you also have a clog in your workflow, a vanishing paper trail, or poor organization all around, the hard work and money invested in your shop could be for naught. Organization and management are key to the smooth and efficient operation of a profitable print shop. Jobs need to be tracked and managed-from the time an estimate is given to the time they reach the client.
Here, we have sourced a number of print- and business-management software tools that can help your business operate in a timely and efficient manner, as well as provide you and your clients with extensive information about each job that passes through your shop. We have focused on those systems that are designed specifically for the graphic-arts industry and various printing environments.
Activity Software offers several business-management programs designed for the sign and graphics industry. Activity Advantage allows users to create estimates and work orders; manage inventory, vendor, and ordering information; track jobs; generate accounting and production reports; and track customer contacts and notes. E-Advantage integrates the Activity database with online-business capabilities, allowing customers to approve files online and view orders, order status, estimates, payment history, and more. With Shop Floor, users can track jobs through production, create time and productivity reports, and schedule jobs.
Avanti Computer Systems
Graphic Arts Management System is designed for commercial and in-plant print facilities, including digital, wide-format, and screen printers. The software offers a fully integrated modular system and users can choose functions that best suit their needs. The modules include: estimating (including a "demand estimating" option for demand and specialty print shops), order entry, job costing and tracking, scheduling, inventory control, fulfillment, shop-floor data collection, purchasing, invoicing, and JDF integration with "plug-and-play" or custom integration options.
CRC Information Systems
The System, from CRC, is comprehensive business-management software, designed for use by virtually all segments of the graphic-arts industry. The software includes more than 100 modules and 5000 programs. Modules include: automatic data collection, estimating, image tracking, invoicing, job tracking, production scheduling, purchasing, shipping and receiving, and various Web-based modules that allow customers to view certain information from a company’s website. The software also features a new interactive menu screen for ease of use.
Cyrious Control, from Cyrious Software, is a Windows-based, customizable business-management system designed for sign, graphics, and printing industries. The software includes tools for estimating, customer management, pricing, sales management, exporting accounting data, invoicing, and customized data tracking. The upgraded version also includes tools such as simplified job costing; Cyrious Dashboards, which show real-time performance indicators; and integrated accounting.
Designed for printing and graphic arts companies, DiMS! is a business-management software that streamlines and automates a range of administrative and printing processes. The Web-enabled software offers the following features: end-to-end integration (including estimating, scheduling, purchasing, production, shipping, and accounting processes), one-time input of data, multi-currency and multi-language capabilities, product-focused business templates, real-time data collection, and JDF compliancy.
PrintSmith, from EFI, is a print-shop management solution designed for small commercial-print shops as well as companies with on-demand and digital environments. The software allows users to create pricing systems, stock order reports, estimates, invoices, quote letters, and account statements. It also tracks account histories, estimate histories, account statements, job tickets, work-in-progress reports, and customer account information. PrintSmith offers a computer-based scheduling module, a paper calculator, an import-stock catalog, an update-prices feature, a pending-documents feature, and daily close-out reports. The software features optional software utilities and add-on modules including PrintSmith Multi-User; PrintSmith Site, an e-commerce solution which makes it easier for customers to order and receive estimates and transmit print jobs online; ReportWriter, which allows users to create custom reports; and a bar-code job tracker.
Enterprise Print Management Solutions
Designed for small to medium-sized printing companies, Enterprise is a flexible print-management system with an open architecture. The software is fully integrated and offers users complete access to their business through intuitive and easy-to-navigate modules. The modules include invoicing, purchasing, financials, inventory control, job costing, scheduling, finished goods inventory, and estimating/order entry. The company also offers Enterprise.Net, a Web-based solution that allows clients to place orders, track orders, view status of finished goods inventory, and see images of an order in PDF format.
InView, by HindSight, is a business-management system that centers around a contact manager featuring in-depth searching capabilities, Internet links, and multiple viewing modes. The software can also create, print, and store invoices, estimates, and job and budget reports. In addition, InView features accounting, scheduling, and correspondence functions. The software can also reunite and synchronize files used on separate computers.
TQT, from iSystems, is a business-management solution that utilizes a process-based approach. Created for custom-manufacturing companies, including those in the graphics arts, the software allows users to create a database of sales leads and customers, create job quotes, create production schedules, create and track job tickets, customize automatic alerts, and create invoices and accounting reports.
Workgroup 2007, from Meta Communications, is a business-management software suite designed for users in marketing, creative, publishing, prepress, and print environments. The suite consists of four modular programs: Job Manager 4.5, which enables users to create estimates and quotes, monitor job costs, generate on-demand reporting and invoices, and share information; Virtual Ticket 7.5, a JDF-compliant project- and workflow-management solution which allows users to create customizable electronic job tickets, track jobs, manage documents, and automate certain processes; Approval Manager 1.5, which allows users to manage, track, and schedule approval processes within and across creative and production environments; and Digital Storage Manager 2.5, a storage-management solution that features data-lifecycle management, automated file archive and retrieval, advanced file searching, and media management.
Pace Systems Group
ePace is a Web-based print-management solution comprising fully integrated software modules. The modules include e-commerce; estimating; production, which includes job control, purchasing, inventory, job costing, data collection, and job-history tools; accounting; customization toolkit; and a Paceconnect module, allowing the system to integrate with various industry programs for online order processing and production management. The system is XML-driven, ODBC-compliant, and allows browser-based access from Mac and PC platforms.
MyOrderDesk, from PagePath, is an online order-flow system for graphic-arts service providers. The program is an order entry, file transfer, ftp server, and job-status system that can also work with a back-end costing system that provides customers with online proofing and re-order capabilities. Usually used within an existing website, the system can also function as a complete, turnkey website branded for your shop.
Prestige Scheduler, from Pivotal Z, is a scheduler designed for the printing and imaging industries. The Scheduler graphically tracks each job through to its completion. The program can stand alone or connect with other production-order and shop-floor systems and can be used in monitor mode or as a Web browser. Changes can be made to the offline design board, allowing users to add new jobs or adjust the schedule without taking the active board down. The Scheduler’s terminology can also be customized to match that of the shop using the program. Additionally, the program allows users to determine who has design control and who can monitor and enter jobs.
Press-sense Manager, from Press-sense, is a print-management system designed for small commercial printers and print on-demand shops. It merges front-end CRM capabilities with back-end billing and fulfillment processes and integrates offline business procedures with web-based front- and back-end systems. Press-sense Manager offers complete handling of an on-demand workflow, from job entry, estimating, and quoting, to ordering, file management, printing, and delivery. The system also works with the company’s flagship product, iWay, a complete Web-based, end-to-end, print on-demand, workflow and management solution. Key features of the system include enabling users to link media files with other job data, allowing employees to enter and access any customer information and manage tasks and follow-ups, automatically adjusting to existing pricing models, improving billing capabilities, and monitoring online communication with customers.
E Pro is a flexible print-management solution from Print MIS designed for small to medium-sized commercial, digital, and litho printers. E Pro comprises several modules including estimating, job production, purchase orders, stock control, scheduling, delivery notes, invoicing, accounts, stock fulfillment, customer and supplier service, CRM, direct-mail marketing, and management reports.
Dashboard is a print-shop management solution and is designed as a control panel for a Web-to-print digital workflow. The software enables users to track orders and jobs; transfer, store, catalog, and manage files; and generate detailed reports for shipping, billing, and management. With the program, the user can also configure, maintain, and manage all e-commerce transactions.
Printer’s Software offers eight print-management solutions designed for commercial and in-plant printers of various sizes that can stand alone or be fully integrated in any combination. The following modules are available: estimate, job control, schedule, shopnet (allows users to capture production data in real-time), accounting, inventory/POs, e-commerce, and finished goods.
printLeader management software is a modular print-management solution designed for printing, copying, bindery, mailing, and graphic-arts industry businesses. The integrated modules include pricing, estimating, order entry, invoicing, job history, job scheduling, accounts receivable, system manager, and Web-based Internet solutions. Optional modules include accounts payable, check writing, purchase order, bank reconciliation, contact manager, and a general ledger package.
PrintPoint 5 is a customizable print-management solution designed for small and medium-sized commercial, in-plant, large-format, and digital printers as well as prepress shops. The software includes the following modules: estimating, quoting, automatic conversion of estimates to jobs, job tickets, job costing and tracking, data collection, purchase orders, shipping, invoicing, and customer history. The system also features extensive built-in reporting and includes word processing, email, and faxing capabilities. PrintPoint is compatible with both Windows and Mac platforms and features full password control.
PrintStar Print Management Solution, from PrintStar, is print-management software designed especially for commercial printers. The software allows users to: create a customer contact database, track inventory, create estimates, track paper supplies, assign and track jobs, create shipments, track job costs and profitability, create purchase orders and invoices, schedule jobs, and give customers access to jobs online. The recently upgraded version 3.0 also features improved estimating, shipping integration to major shipping companies, the ability to gang runs together, and the ability to create a master bill of lading containing multiple shipments.
PrismWin is a business-management solution designed specifically for the printing and graphic-arts industries. The system comprises the following modules: quoting and jobbing, sales-order processing, purchase ordering, shop-floor management, production management, financials, and information management. In addition to the standard software there are also two browser based modules: eService Desk (online quote request and sales ordering) and Browser Time Manager (online production time and materials capture).
Printer’s Plan, from SoftUse, is estimating and business-management software designed for printers. With the software, users can prepare estimates, enter orders, schedule jobs, track job times, create invoices, and collect receivables. The software also offers an e-business solution so that customers can place orders, request quotes, proof artwork, send and receive files, track jobs, and view job histories online. Additionally, users can create hundreds of comprehensive customized reports based on a variety of criteria.
PrintStream, from Streamline Solutions, is a Windows-based, customizable business-management solution designed for the printing, direct-mail, and fulfillment industries. The system features dozens of modules that are fully integrated and can be purchased together or separately, including estimating, fulfillment, inventory, scheduling, purchasing, job costing, shop-floor data capture, production tracking, customer-support module, and job-creation modules