A computerized shop means an organized business. Find out what software is available for all areas of your operation.
By Chris Bauer
LONG GONE ARE the days of using a pegboard to track the production cycle of packaging jobs. Today it is imperative to have computer software in place not only to provide real-time tracking of jobs, but also for order entry, pricing, scheduling, fulfillment, data collection, inventory management, and estimating. There are a slew of computer management software companies out there serving the printing industry, yet the choices seem to thin out when looking for packaging-specific offerings.
"Although there are roughly 80 [printing] software firms, there are really only five or six firms that understand the packaging nuances and have made a decent attempt to make the software handle these unique needs," advises John Knowlton, director of marketing for PRIMAC Systems. "Flexographic roll label, folding carton, sheet label, and flexible packaging printers each have unique needs much different from each other and very different from normal commercial printers. This is particularly true in the areas of estimating, order processing, finished goods fulfillment, and inventory."
PRIMAC is a real-time, on-line, multi-user system, providing concurrent access to as many as 1,000 simultaneous users on multiple hardware platforms. Its new Production Scheduling system is designed to help complete the closed-loop production information system needed in today's just-in-time environment. The new system is integrated with PRIMAC's Job Costing system, Job Estimating system, Shop Floor Data Collection, and to PRIMAC's security access control functions. Phase 2 will add interfaces to Inventory and Purchasing. It also feeds data to PRIMAC's Executive Analyst system and to PRIMAC Explorer, both of which have real-time schedule inquiry functions.
Trying to modify a system inherently built for sheet and web commercial printers to fit package printers does not produce a system tailored to the real needs of these packaging firms, Knowlton says. The software vendor must do major work to tailor it, or the packaging user will have to make changes to the system to complete jobs effectively.