This page is really a few tips and observations we have gleaned over more than two decades in this field.  They didn't seem to fit in the previous pages, but we thought them significant enough to include.

So anyway, Printpak's website is at , and our FREE print MIS, the Printpak Community Edition, which is free-ware and will not time-expire can be downloaded from there or here.  Even if you don't pick our offering we wish you well.












print mis users

Mature systems tend to be function-rich

• It’s true to say that nothing beats sheer experience on the part of the MIS supplier to build in the little wrinkles that make a good software package great.

• Most new systems still lack refinements, and the annoying omissions are often discovered too late when looking at other systems!

• Simple isn’t necessarily better, though it can be.

What about JDF?

• It can convey data to some of your equipment but you’ll still need a machine minder.

• It can report back the time spent doing a job if your machines are appropriately equipped.

• It often won’t give you the reasons for things that happen, though it will report them.

• On balance it seems to be an idea looking for an application, but it may bear fruit in a few year’s time.

Job costing

• Useful, as long as it is intimately bound up with the estimating

• Is it a clerical entry procedure from jobsheets, or is it tied up with shop floor data entry and purchase invoice recording, or is it flexible enough to encompass both?

 • For small companies, can you get a handle on the accuracy of your prices by just costing a small sample of your jobs?

 • Can you accumulate real and theoretical values of estimates for specific tasks over a period to check you’re getting it right? .


• Automatic scheduling is problematic. The Holy Grail of ‘redo the schedule automatically so I can have this job on Thursday night’ is fraught with problems in most print shops. (What happens when a job goes wrong or a delivery is delayed?)

• Larger companies can find scheduling useful if they have enough staff to run a full scheduler.

• Most scheduling software is actually an electronic version of an old-fashioned wall chart.

• The proportion of companies who buy an expensive and shiny scheduling module and then decide not to use it is not small.

• Some systems are far faster to use than others and require less entries

Stock Control

• We say that in the average print shop you need to buy a Hitler moustache to get in the right frame of mind to work stock control

• Stock control must have a straightforward stock-take mechanism which holds up operations for the minimum time rather than closing the factory down completely

• Stock always goes missing. You have to be able to allow for it.

• For true job costing, ask if stock control uses FIFO costing (First In First Out). If the answer is no, reject it as paper prices can be quite volatile and your costings will be inaccurate.