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Production intelligence

Nov 1, 2010 12:00 AM

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Automate processes, eliminate waste

Schaumburg, IL-based Technique-MIS ( offers an integrated suite of modular applications; users select the appropriate components for their business. Technique-MIS Version 5, launched at Graph Expo, includes seven major enhancements:

CRM Community Feeds | Live feeds from customers' RSS and social networking activities.

Mobile CRM | Access to information from the CRM module (inquiries, estimates and orders) via mobile devices such as Blackberry and iPhone.

Quick Pricer | Browser-based estimating application eliminates several administrative steps from the traditional cycle. New features allow sales staff to negotiate while maintaining predetermined margins and other standards.

Online Fulfillment | The new web-based ordering and fulfillment system streamlines the process of receiving orders for finished goods. The module includes online payment capabilities and advanced functionality such as kitting.

Graphical Estimating | View and modify production routing with instant cost recalculation.

Dashboards | A visually appealing reporting format, available 24/7.

Production Event Tracking | Extends the ways production data can be viewed and acted upon. For example, CSRs can see at a glance which jobs have missing components that might delay production.

Las-Vegas based Creel Printing ( began its implementation of the full suite of Technique-MIS and shop-floor data collection systems in all of its locations, this fall. Vice president of premedia and customer solutions Chris Evans says, “The integration from sales through the front office and into the plant is seamless, and provides huge efficiencies and powerful management information.”

Streamline a print business of any size

Foster City, CA-based EFI's ( MIS lineup — with more than 12,000 installations — includes PrintSmith, Pace, Monarch and Radius, providing a foundation for any type of print operation. At Graph Expo, EFI demonstrated its solutions for various users:

On-demand print for pay | The latest Fiery JDF integration between EFI's Web-to-Print platform, EFI print MIS systems and Fiery servers.

Small commercial / (in-plant) central reproduction departments | Job submission with EFI Digital StoreFront and MIS with EFI PrintSmith.

Commercial/specialty printers | EFI Pace provides end-to-end, integrated management for mid- to large-sized printing businesses with any combination of digital, wide format and litho operations. Pace is browser-based and JDF certified and is integrated with other EFI products including Digital StoreFront and Fiery XF.

Large commercial/publishing | 2010 “Worth-a-Look” winner EFI Monarch offers flexibility, power and automation for large single- and multi-plant operations, scalable from five to 5,000 users. Its user interface offers advancements in visual planning capabilities, JDF imposition automation integrated with prepress workflow, and a new Monarch iPhone APP.

Digital sign and screen | EFI Pace was shown integrated with the Fiery XF digital front end driving VUTEk and Rastek printers.

Packaging and labels | The newest member of the EFI Print MIS family, EFI Radius, was demonstrated in an end-to-end management and production workflow.

Building on the PrintSmith integration with the xpedx ( paper catalog, Monarch now has real-time paper inventory, customer pricing and order management built in.

Mobile access keeps users connected

Wilmington, MA-based Prism ( demonstrated real-time mobile management information via smart phones, Internet browsers and virtual private networks (VPNs) at Graph Expo. Prism's mobileMIS, first introduced at Ipex 2010, is an extension of Prism WIN and Prism QTMS. Users can access “Key Performance Indicator” dashboards; quotations; warehouse management; and machine, job and performance monitoring. Prism mobileMIS is browser-based, with no client software needed.

At Graph Expo, Prism demonstrated integration with Xeikon's ( print control system for a digital printer. Through bidirectional, real-time communication between Xeikon's X-800 Digital Front-End and Prism's MIS software, users can manage job quoting and costing through production planning, inventory management, materials ordering, sales order processing and financial accounts.

Prism also showed integration with Litho Technics' ( Metrix system. With Prism WIN, Metrix production planning software can deliver seamless, automated layout creation of all sheetfed and flatwork.

Award-winning integration

For the third year in a row, the Must See 'Ems committee recognized Toronto-based Avanti Computer Systems Ltd. (, this time with a “Worth-a-Look” for HP SmartStream integration. “The tight integration between Avanti's Print MIS application and HP SmartStream provides Indigo customers the platform to create zero-touch workflows from web submission through to print, production and billing,” says Gershon Alon, HP's business workflow solutions manager.

Version 12 of Avanti's Print MIS features greater integration, automation and business intelligence capabilities. JDF-based job status updates now automatically update milestones in Avanti's Finite Capacity Scheduling module. Avanti's Purchasing and Inventory Management application now interfaces with xpedx, automating the web submission process of purchase orders. Avanti also has enhanced its Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and eDashboard Business Intelligence modules.

“We are quickly realizing the advantages of the new automation and integration features in the latest version,” says Chris Campbell, vice president of operations for PacBlue Digital Imaging. “Our sales team now has quick and easy access to real-time information about all their opportunities and active jobs in the system. Management utilizes the CRM to quickly create ad-hoc operational and financial reports that help us keep a finger on the pulse of our operations quickly and easily.”

Avanti Print MIS version 12 also features bidirectional integration with Printable Technology's Web-to-Print application. Other third-party integrations to be included in Version 12 are NowDocs, XMPie and Heidelberg Prinect.

Denise Kapel is managing editor, AMERICAN PRINTER. Contact her at

MIS at Graph Expo 2010

A management information system (MIS) is the printer's portal into production, offering reporting capabilities to track job status, productivity, inventory and more. MIS data can reveal trouble spots in the process and help ensure estimating standards match shop-floor reality. If automation is the key to modern printing efficiency and competitiveness, an MIS is the hub where process data become actionable information for decisionmakers. Here are some updates from Graph Expo 2010.

Take a look

The Must See ‘Ems committee stated in its 2010 awards program, “As print production has become computer-centric, software and its proper implementation takes on increasing importance as a factor in a printer's ability to succeed.” Not surprisingly, MIS solutions were among this year's “Worth-a-Look” winners:

  • EFI Monarch
  • Prism mobileMIS
  • Avanti Print MIS integration with HP SmartStream


Making the marketing move

Bellevue, WA-based Virtual Systems launched its newest management software, Midnight, at Graph Expo. Midnight is designed for printers who are expanding beyond print into broad-based marketing services such as mailing, fulfillment, data analytics, PURLs and e-mail. It features tools to help companies price these services and manage complex marketing projects from start to finish. Midnight comes with modules for CRM, estimating, project management, web-reporting services, postage accounting and billing. See