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Allan Creel on implementing a new MIS

Published on February 7, 2011

Allan Creel, President of Creel Printing, shares with Cary the decision to install a new MIS and the value they expect to come from it.

Interviewer:  Hi, I’m Cary Sherburne, Senior Editor at WhatTheyThink.com and I’m here with Allan Creel, who is President of Creel Printing.  Welcome.

Allan Creel:  How are you?

Interviewer:  I’m good.

Allan Creel:  Good.

Interviewer:  It’s been a while since I visited your plant in Las Vegas.  I understand that you’re in the process of implementing a new MIS.  You had an MIS for a while, but you moved to a new one and maybe you could just talk a little bit about some of the business drivers for changing your MIS.  That’s a pretty, you know, it can be a complicated process, and some of the value you expect to get out of that.

Allan Creel:  And change is never an easy process, but we decided to make a decision and go forward with it.  MIS systems are very important to our business.  The relevance of the data that you get out to the shop floor and the data that you receive from the shop floor is never more important than it is in this economy.  We have to be able to make decisions in order to price things correctly, to win business and maintain our customer base.  Change is always difficult, but we thought now is as good a time as any to go forward with an implementation.

Interviewer:  And so as you look out, you know, if you could be the Johnny Carson, Carnac the Magnificent, or whatever, and look out, you know, six to eight months, a year, what kinds of benefits do you think you’re going to see from modernizing your MIS technology.

Allan Creel:  Real time reporting, understanding the type of business that we do on a day to day basis and what the results are for that business on a bottom line level, really understanding what type of business in the future that we want to go after, estimate versus actual, and having a better grasp of that

Interviewer:  And you’ve chosen to, you know, some people do it modularly, but you’ve chosen to just go do the whole thing end to end, so you’re eliminating touches, keystrokes, re-keying?

Allan Creel:  Yeah, we looked at implementing on the modular level and sometimes you just have to jump in with both feet and get things done.  In a business and an industry that has always been a little bit adverse to change, now, you know, change is more important than ever.

Interviewer:  Yeah.

Allan Creel:  And we put the right people in place to accommodate an aggressive implementation and we’re confident with, you know, that staff that they can get it done.

Interviewer:  Now, you’re primarily a publication printer, right?  With Heat Set Web and so on?

Allan Creel:  Yeah, we’re about half, 50% publication, 50% catalog.

Interviewer:  Okay. 

Allan Creel:  With a little bit of commercial and direct mail as well, but they all fall into the same spectrum.

Interviewer:  And so is the MIS going to manage the whole range of things or is it focused on part of the business or the other?

Allan Creel:  It is going to manage the whole range of things.  We just look at all the different press lines, they’re capable of producing many different types of product off of the lines, but they’re still, press lines are manufacturing pieces of equipment.  Our digital division is one that might take a back burner to implement an MIS solution.

Interviewer:  Okay. 

Allan Creel:  But it’ll be on board as well.

Interviewer:  You know, you put together a really good team to implement this.  Kind of describe, were they people that were already there?  Were they people you sourced from outside?  What kind of skill sets were you looking for?

Allan Creel:  Everybody that’s on the project team has been with our company for a reasonable amount of time.

Interviewer:  Okay. 

Allan Creel:  Some of them even, you know, maybe over 20 years.  And we pick people that are in the key departments that will be touched by this implementation, from the production floor to the customer service department, estimating, accounting, all the areas that will be integrated into this software program.  And leaders in that department and ones that we knew would buy in and be able to accomplish the goal.

Interviewer:  That’s great.  And so it’s going smoothly?

Allan Creel:  So far, so good.

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