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MIS Systems: Where are we now and where are we going?

Management Information Systems (MIS) and Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) solutions in the printing industry have the reputation of being inconsistent and extremely diverse. We led a recent study for PRIMIR to explore the typical features of MIS/ERP solutions purchased and to what extent they have been implemented and integrated into print shop workflows. The result provides insight for both commercial printers and MIS/ERP vendors into which capabilities are most important, what their shortcomings are and improvements that can be made.

By Cary Sherburne and David Zwang
Published: August 1, 2017

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Cary Sherburne is a well-known author, journalist and marketing consultant whose practice is focused on marketing communications strategies for the printing and publishing industries.

Cary Sherburne is available for speaking engagements and consulting projects. To get more information contact us.

Please offer your feedback to Cary. She can be reached at cary@whattheythink.com.

David Zwang travels around the globe helping companies increase their productivity, margins and market reach. He specializes in production optimization, strategic business planning, market analysis, and related services to companies in the vertical media communications market. Clients have included printers, manufacturers, retailers, publishers, premedia and US Government agencies,.

David Zwang is available for consulting projects and speaking engagements. To get more information contact us.

Please offer your feedback to David. He can be reached at david@zwang.com.

 

Discussion

By Brian Shipe on Aug 03, 2017

An item that really caught my attention in this article was the comment that respondents are "less interested in having to change their operations to fit into a predesigned model dictated by a print MIS". Using the analogy of "Uber-ization of system requirements" seems inappropriate here.

I get the idea that Uber has delivered a “what you want, when you want it” mentality.

Uber is also a is a fantastic example of how a (legacy) workflow needs to be re-modeled to fit a pre-designed software. With Uber, you cannot hail a car with a text message, phone call, or by hailing a cab in the traditional sense. "Jobs" are not dispatched via multiple channels of communication, there is one way - the Uber App, period. All "Job Data" stays in the software and the software controls the Priority, Scheduling, and Pricing. The Software records the "Production" Metrics - start and end of the job, and the Materials used - mileage driven. It handles the Accounts Payable and the Accounts Receivable. And even provides a Customer Relationship Management in the form of a survey. It’s incredibly efficient, because no part of the Workflow takes place outside of the software, every aspect of the Uber experience is owned by the software.

It's my view that if prospective MIS Decision makers are not prepared to change their workflows to fit into the software they have chosen to drive their business, they’ll likely feel like Yellow Cab drivers, frustrated that they have lots of idle time waiting for or wasting resources searching for the next “job”.

Not meant to be a criticism of the authors, but to posit a conversation on how realistic it is to install a new MIS and try to implement existing workflows.

 

By Cary Sherburne on Aug 03, 2017

An alternative is that they piece together modules that fit nicely into their desired workflow (it may not be the current workflow), often cloud-based, and connected using solutions like Enfocus Switch or APIs. In the "old days," when providers could not find a solution that met their needs, they "rolled their own." Now they can in effect do the same but without huge IT staffs to develop and maintain. That's what we heard from folks during this research. In fact, some are even abandoning all or part of their homegrown solutions to take advantage of this new opportunity.

WRT Uber, no comment

 

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