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Tracking and Managing Your Jobs

(January 2008) posted on Fri Jan 11, 2008

A sourcelist of business and management software.

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By Clare Baker

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

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