How Print MIS is leveling the playing field for commercial printers

A fourth industrial revolution – commonly referred to as Industry 4.0 – has occurred over the past decade, whereby automation and data exchange in manufacturing and technologies has become commonplace. Cyber-physical systems like adaptive robots, the Internet of things (IoT), cloud computing and artificial intelligence (AI) are some of the technologies Industry 4.0 has brought to the forefront.

By connecting machines, people and processes, they gain self-awareness and self-predictiveness. In return, you get business-critical triggers and alerts of defects, production failures, and other system faults – making timely resolution and near-zero downtime a reality. All of this helps drive growth, customer retention and bottom-line results.

Mastering automation is now critical to thrive in our Industry 4.0 world – and print businesses are not exempt. It’s one reason the print MIS (Management Information System) market has boomed over the past five years, growing by over 23% from $3.96 billion in 2015 to just under $5.1 billion in 2020. MIS solutions are now cheaper, more customizable, and have more features to choose from than ever before (See Figure 1).

Figure 1


Leveling the playing field

Research from What They Think indicates that 75% of large commercial printers have implemented a print MIS, while 35% of small commercial printers have made the leap. (See Figure 2). By reducing touchpoints, streamlining and automating workflows, providing up-to-the-second reporting as well as tracking capabilities, a print MIS levels the playing field and gives small commercial printers access to markets and revenue streams typically exclusive to the big players such as packaging, labels, signage and the exploding large-format sector. 

Figure 2


No longer limited to all-in-one solutions, historically expensive and geared towards larger print establishments, smaller businesses are now finding nimble, modular solutions that not only help grow their business, but grow with their business. Interestingly, all-in-one solutions are not always the best option, even for large printers. According to research conducted by Keypoint Intelligence in 2020, while 54% of PSPs owned an MIS, a large portion were not fully utilizing it to its maximum potential (See Figure 3). A print shop’s level of automation positively correlates to increased growth. In other words, the more you automate, the more business you can generate. Forecasting for growth becomes a reality, as can the estimated market value of your company. 

Figure 3

Stepping up to the plate when it matters most 

The pandemic caused abrupt changes within the printing industry – from unstable variations of work volume to staff and shop access problems – due to health regulations, restrictions, furloughs and more. Having an MIS solution made a tremendous impact on a printer’s ability to stay in the game. Increasing productivity and making real-time business decisions can make the difference between success and failure during these tough times – and influence long-term ROI as the pandemic wanes. 

Your MIS is only as good as the data it’s fed

As automation becomes increasingly crucial, so does data management – it’s an essential part of an MIS ‘diet.’ Data is the fuel that helps streamline workflows, reduce touchpoints, lower operational costs, allow hyper-personalized solutions, and enhance customer experiences. The more you can manage the flow of information, and the more you can learn from the data, the more it can be leveraged to impact your bottom line.

The bases are loaded

A diverse menu of print MIS solutions are levelling the playing field across the industry, coming in all sorts of flavours, shapes, sizes, and above all, price points. As the MIS market grows, features and functionalities are evolving to spur even more growth, productivity and efficiency for printers of all sizes and all product offerings. Performance, security and transparency will only get better as the market – and demand for new technologies – grows as well. Bespoke and headless solutions, do-it-yourself customizations and flexible integrations have already changed the game as we have come to know it, as MIS solutions continue to diversify and widen the playing field to more printers and more niche segments.  An abundance of customizable MIS solutions is providing small printers with exactly what they need – not more, not less. Printers who step up to bat will continue to benefit from better technology, competitive prices, more customization and improved performance.

Joanne Gore
Joanne Gore is a B2B marketer who’s passionate about print and has spent the last three decades helping companies maximize their marketing and communications efforts. Founder of Joanne Gore Communications, she helps companies tell their story to a new generation of print and business buyers. Email: Follow her on LinkedIn

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  1. Interesting that you published this two days before the largest developer and supplier of MIS systems, EFI sold its Productivity group of products.
    This sale will impact the users, industry and competition.


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