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Selecting New Software for Your Printing Business: 5 Reasons Why You Should Look at an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) Solution

Why ERP is Important to the Printing Industry

You can’t avoid it anymore. The processes and tools you’ve been using—successfully—for so long simply aren’t cutting it anymore, and it’s time to look for a new software solution (or solutions?) to run your printing business. Faced with making a big investment in money, time, and resources, it’s of the utmost importance to do your homework before making a decision.

If you’re in the position of looking for a new solution, it’s very likely a combination of tools like Quickbooks and Excel and maybe specific software for other areas like estimating is not the answer. You need an MIS solution that can handle most if not all of the processes involved in your business, from customer self-service web portals to back-office accounting tasks. You don’t need to be reminded of the challenges you face, but it’s important to put them front and center because they will serve as the criteria for your search. They are:

  • Raw material costs
  • Shipping costs
  • Inventory/supply chain management
  • Machine capacity
  • Estimating/job costing
  • Customer service/customer self-service

The problem is, such a solution does not exist—at least, not in the world of traditional printing MIS software. Solutions like EFI, printIQ, and PrintPoint, while offering full functionality specific to printing tasks and processes, do not have the robust back-office and additional functionality needed for an end-to-end solution.

Broaden Your Printing Software Search to Include ERP

Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) solutions were designed to address the majority of a company’s business management requirements. Back when they first came onto the scene, they were often referred to as “accounting on steroids.” While this is partially true—they do indeed offer much more extensive accounting and finance capabilities than Quickbooks—the real strength of an ERP is its flexibility, which makes it industry friendly. When you’re able to get all of these processes under one umbrella, you gain many benefits that a traditional MIS system cannot offer. Here are 5 benefits:

#1: More Accurate Job Costing

An ERP allows for more accurate job costing. A common concern of printing businesses is determining if they’re making money on a job. Are costs matching estimates? Is there enough margin to make the job worthwhile? With the right ERP, you get unprecedented visibility into jobs so you can determine where and how to save money and improve the accuracy of your estimates. The benefits trickle down—allowing you to be more competitive and more efficient at the same time.  

#2: Smarter Scheduling

ERP allows for smarter scheduling and better insight into where jobs are in the process. Again, this ties back to better job costing.

#3: Powerful Data Collection and Reporting

With everything under one umbrella, one of the most powerful benefits is having all your data in one place, making it so much easier to create reports and analyze data, and that helps with decision making. Being able to see how much your customers are spending with you, the type of products they're purchasing, and the frequency at which they are buying from you. With this information, you can build forecasts, which helps with future planning and budgeting.

#4: Customized Pricing

With ERP, you get the functionality you need to set discounts by customer or sales rep or commissions. ERPs have the ability to break down your costs in that way to help you create customized pricing that benefits both you and the customer.

#5: Customer Loyalty

Customers are demanding more and more when it comes to service and accessibility. ERPs make it much easier to create customer self-service portals, connect with websites, and automate everything from estimating to paying an invoice.

Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central/PrintVis

With Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central and PrintVis, you get the best of both worlds: Accounting, finance, and business management (like inventory control) blended with everything you need to address your print-production processes. ArcherPoint works with PrintVis because PrintVis was built specifically for the printing industry and is completely embedded in Business Central. For more than 20 years, printing companies have trusted this powerful combination to run and grow their businesses. PrintVis also continually invests in bringing more enhancements and functionality with every release, keeping pace with the advances Microsoft is making with Business Central. In short, you get a proven, end-to-end solution, with a strong, positive relationship and history with Microsoft.

Let’s Talk About Your Next Step

Any investment in technology is a serious one. As you begin your search, consider all your options, weighing the advantages of an ERP versus a traditional MIS printing solution. You will be pleasantly surprised at what an ERP like Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central has to offer. Read more about these solutions, then talk to the printing industry experts at ArcherPoint about your technology needs.

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