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Commentary & Analysis

Print MIS Product Spotlight: PrintJobManager

Aleyant PrintJobManager™ is a cloud-based entry into the Print MIS market. Most printers will recognize Aleyant as the maker of the popular Aleyant Pressero™ web-to-print solution. Aleyant is entering the Print MIS market with a stand-alone solution PrintJobManage

By Jennifer Matt
Published: November 30, 2016

This article is sponsored by Aleyant as part of WhatTheyThink's Print Software Product Spotlight series. In preparing this article, the WhatTheyThink Print Software Section editors conducted original, in-depth research on Aleyant’s product suite. This Product Spotlight describes what the editors feel are the product suite’s strengths in the marketplace. Aleyant reviewed the final article for accuracy but had no editorial control over the content.

The Print MIS software space is predominantly characterized by vendors whose products were built during the age of offset printing dominance. These products have of course evolved, yet the quick-turnaround, personalized, and digital printing nature of our current print industry is pushing the limits of ERP/MIS products that were built when turnaround times were calculated in weeks instead of hours.

One of the more difficult areas of the Print MIS/ERP market is the small printer who needs a simple system that requires little to no IT support and doesn’t burn a hole in their annual profits. This is the perfect application of cloud-based software because it delivers the software solution with zero on-site IT infrastructure or resources required. If you have on-site technical resources at your disposal, they should absolutely be deployed to provide revenue generating technical services to your customers (e.g. variable data printing, database management, cross-media services). Don’t waste precious technical resource on the equivalent of “technical janitorial duties” (e.g. maintaining servers, virus protection, etc.). The cloud enables a safe, secure, and reliable connection to your business applications and for small printers this includes the Print MIS/ERP solution.

Aleyant PrintJobManager™ is a cloud-based entry into the Print MIS market. Most printers will recognize Aleyant as the maker of the popular Aleyant Pressero™ web-to-print solution. Aleyant is entering the Print MIS market with a stand-alone solution PrintJobManager that of course can also be purchased fully integrated with Pressero. Because PrintJobManager is new (Aleyant has been developing it over the last two years), it is built based on the current realities of the print industry (turnaround times are decreasing, order volumes are increasing – while average order values continue to fall, personalization is rising, and automation is a must). A brand-new technology solution also benefits from being deployed on a modern technology stack. Aleyant built the whole solution to be mobile-friendly (responsive design), with an open API addressable approach, and leveraging an extensible plug-in approach for challenges such as taxes and credit cards. Basically, all the characteristics we expect with modern web technology.

Print MIS/ERP implementation is a well-known challenge in the industry with too many horror stories to recount. Because a Print MIS touches every corner of your business, its implementation can be daunting. Most printers, especially smaller ones lack the resources to lead this kind of complex implementation and the change management required to be successful. Aleyant is coming to market with a full-service implementation plan –  where their focus is to do the initial set up for their customers. When you think about this, it makes so much sense. Do you want to know how to setup your Print MIS from scratch (something you should only have to do once)? Or do you just want to know how to use your Print MIS once its setup?

Integration is such a critical factor in making any print software decision. It is no surprise that Aleyant is keeping with the API addressable approach in PrintJobManager they brought to market with Pressero. When integrated with Pressero, product pricing created in PrintJobManager can be seamlessly used within Pressero storefronts, eliminating the need to create and maintain separate pricing systems for online stores and in-shop management. In another move that shows their commitment to integration, Aleyant has integrated with Zapier. For those who are not aware of Zapier, it is an online automation tool that connects your favorite apps, such as Gmail, Slack, MailChimp, and over 500 more so you can create custom workflows to solve specific business challenges. Because Aleyant integrates with Zapier, you instantly have 700+ applications you could conceivable connect to PrintJobManager without hiring a programmer!

Small printers are feeling the pressure of both automation and becoming more data-driven. Both market demands are heavily dependent on a Print MIS that is your true system of record. PrintJobManager benefits from its birth date, it is built based on what the print industry is today and where the print industry is going. It leverages a modern technology stack that enables true seamless integration to hundreds of other web apps. For small to medium size printers who have been putting off a much-needed Print MIS transition or for those small printers who always thought a real Print MIS was out of their reach – PrintJobManager offers a viable and compelling solution.

 

To learn more about WhatTheyThink.com’s Print Software Product Spotlights, please contact Jennifer Matt, Print Software Section Editor at jen@whattheythink.com.

Jennifer Matt is the managing editor of WhatTheyThink’s Print Software section as well as President of Web2Print Experts, Inc. a technology-independent print software consulting firm helping printers with web-to-print and print MIS solutions. You can reach her at jen@whattheythink.com.

 

Discussion

By Mark Myers on Nov 30, 2016

Interesting article but I think it misses a major point in that small printers generally do not have the large company clients that lend itself to pricelist selections.

Additionally, in today’s mix of small printers with a combination of wide format and digital printing the offering of preset price lists greatly limits the flexibility of smaller companies to offer personalized service for an unlimited variety of customers wants. Having been in this business for over 20 years I know of no storefront applications that provides pricing for any size shape and quantity other than what’s available on their preset pricing schedules.

I believe from my experience that too many printers of all sizes and shapes price by the seat of their pants by using pricing guides like Franklin without understanding their costs and profit centers. Yes, most of them are probably profitable but are leaving behind many opportunities by not fully understanding each departments function and cost.

At EstimatorCloud.com we have spent years developing a very easy to understand and use cloud based estimating and MIS system to offer printers of any size a low cost solution to create any estimate for any printing requirement from digital, wide format, sheetfed, web, screen including T-shirts, Flexo, envelopes, forms and more.

As I have stated before the most critical area to return an accurate estimate to the customer in a shorter period of time as possible which is proven to generate 5 to 15% more sales. 40 years ago I made it a principle to get back to the customer with his estimate and no more than five minutes which helped me build my printing company from a three-man startup to over 100 employees in a few years.

Getting an accurate estimate back to the customer in a matter of minutes or even seconds builds confidence and loyalty so deeply needed in today’s very competitive printing market.

By Mark L Myers president of Estimator Corp.

 

By Michael Jahn on Nov 30, 2016

Mark Myers wrote;

"...I know of no storefront applications that provides pricing for any size shape and quantity..."

Our PressWise PrintMIS offers that. One can go to the PressWise storefront and either select a product ( like a 5x7 Postcard ) or the user can select custom and then enter what ever height and width they like.

But that is not why I am commenting here.

Mark, I am afraid the simply offering a quoting system like EstimatorCloud falls far short of a PrintMIS - what Aleyant is offering with its PrintJobManager is an entry level solution for estimating, storefront AND production tools, as well as CRM and API connectivity, which is what a small printer is after.

A small printer needs far more than an estimating system these days !

 

By Jennifer Matt on Nov 30, 2016

Mark,

I was intrigued by reading the first few paragraphs of your comment because it was informative and educational, then you lost me when you went into sales mode for your own product.

There is no way to understand the overall approach of a product in a brief article like this so I'm not sure how you made the assumption that this product does not do estimating (which it does). It may not do estiamting exacalty how its been done in the past but as we all know there as technology advances, we have new ways of solving old challenges.

I do love your comments about printers making up pricing (hence its very hard to put that pricing into a computerized system). The customers don't want made-up, unpredictable, and manually created pricing - customers want instant pricing and self-service. I agree with you faster quotes are better than slow quotes but instant pricing is the where the world is heading.

I can plug a few pieces of data into my banking site and get an estimated mortgage rate for my home! Its time for the print industry to accept that we are NOT the exception, software can and will deliver accurate and instant quotes or price list pricing that has been carefully configured to take all costs and margins into account for the printers who are focused on what the customer wants.

Did you read the great article from Dr. Joe this week about "print being intimidating" to buyers? How about waiting 48 hours for a quote - that is part of the complexity that needs to be stripped out of the buying process for print (as you said). Make print buying brilliantly easy (includes the collection of order details, pricing, payment, and communication of job status).

Thank you for your comments.

Jennifer

 

By Jennifer Matt on Nov 30, 2016

Michael,

I agree with you, small printers are a unique challenge. They need all the tools, at an affordable price, with as little IT complexity as possible, and very easy to use.

That is quite a challenge!

No product or solution is perfect (because its made by us humans) but I see PrintJobManager as a product that is leveraging cloud technology, modern software approach to integration, and then the SaaS business model to provide an end-to-end solution for smaller printers.

Jen

 

By Mark Myers on Dec 01, 2016

Interesting article but I think it misses a major point in that small printers generally do not have the large company clients that lend itself to price list selections.

Additionally, in today’s mix of small printers with a combination of wide format and digital printing the offering of preset price lists greatly limits the flexibility of smaller companies to offer personalized service for an unlimited variety of customers wants. Having been in this business for over 20 years I know of no storefront applications that provides pricing for any size shape and quantity other than what’s available on their preset pricing schedules.

I believe from my experience that too many printers of all sizes and shapes price by the seat of their pants by using pricing guides like Franklin without understanding their costs and profit centers. Yes, most of them are probably profitable but are leaving behind many opportunities by not fully understanding each departments function and cost.

As I have stated before the most critical area to return an accurate estimate to the customer in a shorter period of time as possible which is proven to generate 5 to 15% more sales. 40 years ago I made it a principle to get back to the customer with his estimate and no more than five minutes which helped me build my printing company from a three-man startup to over 100 employees in a few years.

Getting an accurate estimate back to the customer in a matter of minutes or even seconds builds confidence and loyalty so deeply needed in today’s very competitive printing market.

EstimatorCloud.com solves many of these problems which I wrote for my own company and provided almost instantaneous accurate estimates in our client’s hands, while still on the phone, and integrated easily with existing work flow system we were using…

 

By Mark Myers on Dec 01, 2016

Michael.. I agree that the small printer needs more and EstimatorCloud.com offers all the necessary basic tools... also on your system can I select a 4 part NCR business form printed in a 2 up format on different stocks, I would like to see that as forms presses work differently as each form has to have the same image in a 2 or 4 up format. Also I would like to see a 48 page pamphlet 3 3/4 x 8 3/4, 4/4 on 20# bond, estimated on your system in under a minute including all bindery...without any preset templates... I would then applaud loudly... Mark

 

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