Technology Guide: MIS & W2P

MIS

ACCURA MIS

Accura is a complete print management system for digital, wide-format, litho, web offset, label and flexographic printers. The company says this is one of the few systems to offer fully integrated CRM, MIS and Web2Print in one solution.

The Accura MIS comes out of the box with all the tools a print business needs. It is comprised of several modules, with sales invoicing included as standard to export invoices into most major accounts packages with no need for double entry.

The core module features Estimating, Order Processing, Proofing, Deliveries and Sales Invoicing integrated for an efficient workflow. Most operations, such as converting a quote to an order or raising delivery notes and invoices, link together with just a couple of clicks of the mouse to save time and reduce manual input and double entry.

Additional modules include CRM, Purchasing, Stock Control, Job Costing, Remote Data Capture (RDC), Time and Attendance Logging and Production Scheduling. There is also the AccuraOnline e-commerce and web-to-print portal with bi-directional integration with the Accura MIS.

Idealsolution is the exclusive Australian and New Zealand distributor for Accura, offering full on-site training and comprehensive local support services. A full range of monthly payment plan options is also available.

DOLPHIN 4 MIS

Dophin 4 is a feature rich MIS sold as independently licensed modules, including estimating, production planning, barcode tracking, production administration, CRM, accounts synchronisation and reports.

Estimating for litho, wide format, label, digital and screen printing are covered, along with a multitude of finishing options and the ability to manage outwork from the quoting screen. Clients of Dolphin include traditional litho printers moving into digital, cross-media companies, print brokers, wide format and signage specialists, as well as finishing houses.

Production planning jobs can be broken down by work centre, plan and changed plans on the fly. The tracking module will update plans in this module based on real time updates from the factory floor. The latest planning update includes detailed projections of planned activities and operations.

Barcode tracking for production is handled by scanning in a one-, two- or three-scan set-up for simple or detailed time and workstation stats. With this module printers will know exactly where each job is at any given point. Licensed as a site licence, operators can run multiple handheld USB scanners from a single scanning station.

Production admin duties such as invoicing, deliveries, stock management and purchase orders are all included by default in this module.

The CRM module provides a snapshot of clients and leads, with an integrated Outlook calendar and the ability to schedule and move around sales resources, appointments and follow-ups. It also allows front of house staff to resend quotes without needing access to the estimating module.

A standalone module for bookkeepers, Account Sync seamlessly syncs invoices from Dolphin to MYOB v19, MYOB Account Right Live and Xero as of January 2016.

The Reports standalone module allows individual control of user rights down to single report level, and is sold as a site licence with unlimited logins. Users can run one of the built-in reports or select their own data in the interface that looks and works like a spreadsheet. Export options are built in.

EFI MIS PRODUCTIVITY SUITE

EFI calls the Productivity Suite the next step in the evolution of its product portfolio. It expands on EFI’s existing offerings with a stronger focus on how print providers can generate revenue and enhance efficiency and profitability.

The suite addresses the most pressing needs of automation and efficiency by moving the workflow emphasis away from individual EFI software packages and modules to a complete offering that uses best-of-suite, end-to-end workflows, certified integrations and synchronised development. The result, says EFI, is a further simplification of the management and operational tasks needed to grow into new markets and to run a print business more strategically.

The EFI Productivity Suite is built on the Theory of Global Optimisation (TGO), a lean business strategy developed for the printing and packaging industry. The suite takes the global component of TGO to new levels, delivering out-of-the-box workflows that provide rapid ROI to meet immediate needs, while scaling for growth and new revenue opportunities including the integration and automation tools required to help grow revenue through expanded offerings and increased product and service differentiation.

EFI says the capability to maximise profit is affected by the ability to integrate and automate entire workflows. The EFI Productivity Suite provides certified out-of-the-box functionality and flexibility that focuses on end-to-end automation, supporting greater efficiency and cost optimisation, using business-wide analysis tools to support informed decision making.

The EFI Productivity Suite is designed to scale as a print business evolves. EFI claims its software is ready to help capture moments of opportunity, and is backed by an industry leader in software.

OPTIMUS DASH

Optimus argues that in the last five years, the ongoing challenge for MIS software has been to remain relevant and versatile when print manufacturing methods and processes continue to expand and vary at breakneck speed. Optimus believes its dash MIS is a complete solution for the graphics industry.

Any substrate, along with any process, can be managed efficiently regardless of the sector — wide format, screen, sheet and web digital, packaging, offset, labels, specialist print and non-print products and services can all be catered for with Optimus dash. Its user community continues to grow and it is used by a wide variety of companies from very small to very large.

Optimus says dash is popular because companies in 2016 tend to be mixed manufacturing houses not constrained by one method of print production.

Optimus claims that dash has a number of unique features. It is a process driven MIS system (as opposed to 100% pre-determined fixed logic), enabling unique company specific business rules to be incorporated.

Optimus dash solutions are developed with lean manufacturing in mind, for fewer keystrokes.

The dash Sales Enquiry System (estimating) ensures that all work, no matter what it is, can be estimated; then when change invariably happens during production, multiple production routes can be incorporated while retaining cost integrity.

A key extension to Optimus dash is Optimus Cloud Mobile running on a tablet device. This module gives sales reps the tools to be able to capture instant buying decisions in front of customers for fast quotes and orders. All activity completed in Cloud Mobile automatically appears in Optimus dash MIS at the office, giving real-time full transparency and eliminating duplication.

Optimus dash was launched in 2010 and continues to receive regular updates throughout the year to ensure dash continues to evolve to meet the changing needs of the industry.

Finance options are available upon request and subject to project scope.

PRINTIQ

printIQ is a new-breed print management system that, the company says, stands out from traditional MIS products on the market. It’s a cloud-based web product, so everyone accesses the application from an internet browser.

Production staff manage the factory while customers quote, order and track, all from within the same application. With no software to install, no separate web portal or online ordering system to add on, printIQ represents a shift away from what most printers are doing right now.

With printIQ jobs can be quoted, and paid for, online in real time without delay. They can be tracked online by customers throughout the entire lifecycle of the job.

Staff in various departments can update production status as the job progresses through their area of the factory, without the need to talk to anyone about it. The job bag exists in a digital space, so any information change is updated live and won’t be out-dated. The job’s status is updated via tablets or terminals as it moves throughout the factory, and is instantly updated on the online Job Track module.

When production is complete the job will appear on the dispatch board ready for dispatch. If it hasn’t yet been invoiced it will also show on the Finance board for individual invoice, or to be combined with other invoices for the same customer.

printIQ includes a full inventory system, including refresh level notification and online purchasing, and direct integration with a number of cloud-based accounting packages (and a CSV export for those older packages), with invoices simultaneously pushed into the accounting software. Notification is automatically sent to the client upon dispatch and the delivery can be tracked through the delivery connote.  

printIQ is a locally produced print management system created by IQ, which has development and support staff in Australia, New Zealand, the UK and the USA. printIQ supports offset, digital and label printers, wide format and signage companies, with each segment having an option tailor made for their industry. printIQ also offers a range of additional modules. The IQconnect Enfocus Switch module allows printIQ users to utilise the perfect automated workflow encompassing Enfocus Switch and Pitstop. printIQ customers can now have a “lights-out” process to take an order from the web and push it through to the press without operator intervention.

THARSTERN ESTIMATING

Tharstern Estimating was previously known as Estimate Pro, and was developed by Tharstern Limited (UK) and distributed here by Tharstern Australia and Tharstern New Zealand. It features include intelligent estimating, which supports offset, digital, large format, continuous wide format and flexo printing.

The user-friendly interface requires minimal training, even for new staff or new system users. The objective is to shift staff away from time-wasting quotes and focus them on areas of the business where they are more valuable. This enables sites to re-think how sales, CSRs and estimators can collaborate more efficiently to build on sales and improve customer interaction.

Tharstern Estimating lets printers create and compare multiple quotes based on different production routes, processing and margins, and when turning estimates into a job it is fully JDF aware and capable of flowing into a digital workflow as part of a ganged operation that requires automatic pre-flighting and complex imposition.

Tharstern Estimating removes any complexity from quickly producing production ready quotes. The underlying architecture of Tharstern is a feature-rich enterprise solution.

Tharstern is now able to offer seamless integration with the Vpress Coreprint web to print solution.

W2P

ACCURAONLINE

AccuraOnline offers full real-time, bi-directional integration with the Accura MIS. Accura says that AccuraOnline is different because most Web-2-Print solutions are very costly and focus primarily on online ordering in a storefront. They have no, or only a very basic, estimating or order tracking module and no links with MIS systems.

AccuraOnline offers full integration with Accura MIS in real-time, giving clients complete visibility of their work without job fees or subscription charges. It offers full Accura MIS integration so no double-entry or duplicate database set-ups are required in the back end. AccuraOnline comes out of the box with many features as standard, and all link seamlessly back to Accura MIS using the latest web technology, enabling printers to give customers direct access to their Accura MIS system 24/7 through a secure browser interface. Printers control who has access to the site by username and passwords, and can also control what areas of the website users can see by fully configurable user profiles down to contact level. Printers can personalise the site home page, news and events, terms and about us pages, and can choose from over 20 pre-designed themes to suit their branding.

Standard features include seamless links and real-time synchronisation with Accura MIS, customisation to suit brand image, secure password login and access permissions, quote history with PDF copy, order history and re-orders, tracking/progress chasing, proof sign-off linked to Accura order status, an online store for stocked product call-off (with shopping cart), online payment with PayPal, and access to PDF documents online, such as invoices.

CMYKHUB OPM

Trade-only supplier CMYKhub provides resellers with an affordable and streamlined way to add OPM as a service offering for their business — it’s free for resellers to use and adds significant value to both large and smaller resellers.

OPM enables resellers’ customers to make changes to regularly printed items such as business cards. Both resellers and customers save time and money as the customer can easily edit and order print online. OPM is fully secure, enabling customisation of customers’ artwork, and provides a price instantly with order and invoice history.

CMYKhub’s OPM is fully expandable, enabling resellers to provide OPM to both smaller users with stationery products such as business cards, through to high volume customers such as national franchise groups to manage their full catalogue of print collateral, including reseller warehoused products such as merchandising.

Resellers can request OPM to redirect jobs back to themselves for in-house printing, or simply let the job enter the CMYKhub fast production workflow to have the job delivered back to the reseller or be delivered directly to their customer.

OPM enables resellers to control who manufactures each catalogue item and where it is to be delivered, all of which is seamless to the end customer.

CMYKhub offers OPM free to resellers so smaller resellers can add significant value to their customers at no cost.

EFI DIGITAL STORE FRONT 9

EFI Digital StoreFront (DSF) is an award-winning (2014 & 2015 Quick Printing Readers’ Choice and Top Product Awards), flexible W2P e-commerce solution. EFI says DSF delivers an online job submission workflow to allow print providers to take in more work, produce it more effectively and increase their profitability.

DSF is a scalable and modular solution that grows with business needs and requirements. Boasting a worldwide presence of over 3,000 active sites, it supports 16 languages and multiple currencies.

Digital StoreFront is designed to deliver an end-to-end workflow with bi-directional Fiery and EFI Print MIS integration in real time. It allows for JDF standardisation and automation via touchless workflow and job routing to a range of production devices including copiers, printers, offset presses, wide or super-wide format printers and small format cut sheet digital devices.

DSF has the architecture to adapt to the scale of almost any requirement, with scalable transaction volumes from hundreds to millions of orders per month for small commercial printers (one location), retail organisations (over 1,500 locations) or in-plants (over 190 facilities). And as a part of EFI’s productivity software suite, EFI can tailor a solution that fits almost any need.

With the recent release of Digital StoreFront 9, it is also now possible to create cross- media marketing campaign products that print buyers can use to run multi-channel campaigns using emails, PURLs, VDP and SMS.

DSF 9 is enabled as an integrated platform for both in inbound and outbound marketing with complete tracking and analytics. It is now possible to build sophisticated “hands free” cross-media marketing campaigns and publish them directly to Digital StoreFront.

OPTIMUS CLOUD WEB2PRINT

Optimus says its Cloud Web2Print simplifies and automates print purchasing and provides a complete online solution for its customers.

Cloud offers more than Web2Print. Customers can obtain instant quotes, gain access to historical data and information about production job statuses, and order static products in one interface. Once an order is placed all tasks, materials required and invoicing are automated for the print production and job processing in Optimus dash MIS to start the work straight away with no re-keying. Optimus Cloud is a logical extension of Optimus dash MIS with no more guess work, handling errors or double entry, without increasing staff.

Optimus also recognises that many print providers have existing successful web ordering systems. Optimus has developed Optimus Web Services Module so that many custom built or market available web2print systems can be integrated. These can be linked to the dash Sales Enquiry System (if web2print infrastructure permits) to ensure real-time pricing held in dash not only drives the user experience, it also eliminates the need to update two systems.

One significant piece of global development delivered in the last 12 months which utilises the Optimus Web Services Module and includes a unique four-way bi-directional integration, has been a partnership with XMPie, and relates to its uStore web2print module.

Optimus Cloud is modular and includes Fast Quotes, Fast Orders, Stock Orders and Customer View. This ensures the solution can grow with a printer’s customer demands.

PENT NET W2P

Proven industry technology leader Pent Net offers a true Web2Print solution that provides a seamless automated process from online order, quote, payment, with smooth integration to MIS such as Quote and Print, Tharsten, Dolphin, MYOB, as well as integration with workflow such as Enfocus Switch, Pitstop, Prinergy, Prinect which then connects directly to various printers such as HP Indigo, Fuji Xerox and many others.

Based in Australia and established over 12 years ago, Pent Net’s focus is on Web to Print being the entry point to achieving fully automated production processes.

Pent Net’s Online Store Front is continuously being updated, mostly due to our customer’s input and user requests ensuring the system is always up to date and relevant to the changing business needs of our customers.

For example, Pent Net has been working very closely with one of our medium sized commercial printer companies to achieve seamless integration from online ordering all the way through to print and delivery.

The aim of the project has been capturing online orders from multiple customers all over Australia in real time. The Pent Net system now integrates all their orders to a central repository and then integrates with their Quote and Print. Orders are automatically converted to jobs as well as job tickets are printed out. The Pent Net system then also automatically feeds jobs their Prinergy workflow system, and on to be printed via their digital HP Indigo Printer.

In this case, the Pent Net system was the thread that linked all these disparate systems together, creating 1 automated order process, from online order to printing and delivery.

The installation has been extremely successful, for a number of reasons. Peter Ludwig Pent Net says “we spent a great deal of time sitting down and talking to our customer to make sure we really understood what they wanted to achieve. We also got to know our customer’s internal resources and capabilities. In turn, our customer had a very clear idea of their requirements and they also understood that they needed to have a champion and the internal resources to be able to work with us for successful implementation.”

Pent Net’s W2P appeals to both large and medium sized printers and companies including publicly listed and international companies. Essentially, Pent Net delivers the most value add, if our customers are serious about integration and are looking at automating their processes, giving their external customers an easy to use and powerful online ordering system. At the same time the Pent Net system enables full automation and integration with disparate systems, ensuring a smooth flow at the production and fulfilment end of the order cycle. Customers, who are serious about automation and speeding up their workflow can realise enormous gains and benefits by working closely together with Pent Net.

Pent Net’s financing offers some extremely attractive rates and features that are configured to our customers needs.

PRINTIQ

printIQ claims it is the new breed of print management system. As a cloud based web solution, printIQ has web-to-print functionality incorporated directly into the product as part of the management workflow system. There’s no separate bolt-on or third party software, as it’s part of the base product and everyone accesses it.

The main differentiator between printIQ and other W2P solutions is that printIQ is more than just a shopping cart. It combines the power of the printIQ pricing engine with an integrated online ordering process to give your customers an online experience specifically designed for the complexities of print.

The combination also removes the need to integrate the online order with your MIS. With printIQ, the online order hits production as soon as the order is confirmed by the customer. This is a smart move given that integration is rated as one of the biggest frustrations with IT systems. This point of difference has seen printIQ rapidly become one of the main players in the industry.

printIQ also offers extra modules to enhance the offering. The IQconnect smartsite module provides widgets that can be placed on any live SEO’d marketing website and be skinned to match the brand. printIQ achieves this by using HTML and javascript with self-contained API calls that do all of the technical aspects of connecting front-end websites to printIQ for pricing and the shopping cart.

printIQ completes its W2P offering with an integrated variable data option, offering Chili as part of the monthly subscription, which opens up Chili option to all printIQ customers.

VPRESS COREPRINT

Coreprint was developed by Vpress Limited (UK), and is now distributed by Vpress Australia Pty Limited and Vpress New Zealand Limited, a division of the Mosaic Solutions Group Limited (NZ) and sister companies to Tharstern Australia and Tharstern New Zealand.

Coreprint is a rich web2print solution seamlessly integrated into the Tharstern MIS.

Over the last 15 years Vpress has brought together print experts and the technology sector to create Coreprint. This proprietary technology is unique to Vpress and not based on another company’s software or hardware solution.

Vpress’ Coreprint can keep up with the fast pace of technical and business developments happening today, including mobile, workflow integrations, and support for international languages.

Coreprint is used by over 3,000 companies in more than 68 countries. It is a well proven service, agile and needs little or no training in its implementation and use; something few others in the market can also claim.

Coreprint is used by companies such as BP, Nokia, Ericsson, Virgin, Morgan Stanley, PWC, Barclays, Coca Cola, American Express, Deloittes, L’Oréal, ING, Vodafone, Nissan and many more, as well as enjoying a large segment within its home market in the UK printing industry.

The partnership between Vpress and the team at Tharstern in Australasia will see Vpress represented locally, with a particular focus on Tharstern users and creating an end-to-end service, starting with Coreprint as the front door for volume transactions and backed into full automation with the Tharstern MIS.

The company’s knowledge of print production has gone into building a solution focused on supporting the specific needs of print and management companies, giving them an easy-to-use solution that includes everything they need to improve how documents are created and managed, including unlimited storefronts, an easy-to-use interface, templates and products.

Coreprint combines a cloud-based SaaS service fully integrated with the Tharstern MIS which can optionally be hosted in the cloud or installed locally as an enterprise MIS system integrated to downstream workflows for pre-press, press and post-press functionality.

Coreprint also offers an optional web service for open integration so printers can take the Coreprint engine and integrate it with any website, platform or SSO (Single Sign On), creating their own web2print solution to use and sell as their own.

Coreprint has a low cost of entry with a transaction based pricing model.

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