The Power of Print Shop Management

Matt Prusa | May 16, 2023

Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

Modern print shop management software redefines what’s possible for print shops and commercial printers. And providing a better print MIS is what Avanti Systems has done since its founding way back in 1984.


We got our start back in the software dark ages when a commercial printer came to Avanti’s founder wanting a more efficient, more accurate way to keep track of inventory levels.


Back then, everyone was using pen and paper, and few, if any, in the print industry had even imagined a software print MIS system. Manual processes involving handwritten records were the one and only way things were done.


Through that initial relationship, Avanti Classic was born.

Of course, it’s not the 1980s anymore, and the world of print technology and software has grown in significant ways. As technology evolved, so did Avanti, until in 2013, Avanti Slingshot™ was born.

In the decade-plus since, we’ve continued evolving Avanti Slingshot, adding core and add-on modules and retooling the software to meet the needs of next generation print shop management.

The Challenges in Print Shop Management

The industry has evolved, with commercial printers adding newer, more powerful technology and equipment. But the core challenges remain the same for most printers working without an effective print MIS system.

These are just a handful of the print workflow challenges print shops face every day:

  1. Manual intake processes are slow and error-prone
  2. Errors or incomplete information during order intake leads to delays on press, reprints, and damages customer relationships
  3. Best-guess estimates (often based on outdated pricing or even the costs of previous-gen equipment no longer in use) damage profitability 
  4. Limited visibility into job status or backlogs leads to incorrect delivery estimates and suboptimal printer utilization
  5. Disparate invoicing systems lead to retyping order information (with the risk of introducing errors) and unnecessary complexity (no single system of record)

The cumulative effects of these print shop management challenges are clear:

  • Overall production efficiency is challenged

  • Scalability beyond a certain point is impossible
  • Customer trust is harder to maintain (due to increased error rates, required repricing/adjustments, and missed delivery dates)
  • Profitability suffers

If these issues sound familiar, we have good news: no print shop needs to operate like this anymore. Better print shop management is possible with our print MIS, Avanti Slingshot.


Benefits of Avanti Slingshot for Print Shop Management

Using Avanti Slingshot, print shops are overcoming these and other print management challenges, delivering more jobs, more accurately, in less time.


With better processes, greater automation, and greater visibility into the jobs pipeline, print shops are solving longstanding challenges and redefining their throughput and customer service potential.


Slingshot’s modular architecture empowers your print shop to build the print MIS you need, rather than force your existing systems and processes into our mold. Consider how three of these modules could affect day-to-day operations and long-term potential for your business.


Print shops struggle to produce accurate estimates because tracking the real costs of materials and labor is hard and time-consuming. Many printers are working from price sheets months or years old, or they’re calculating costs based on how much the job cost on old equipment they’re no longer using.


Slingshot’s estimating core module simplifies the process of identifying and storing accurate price data, and it greatly simplifies and partly automates the process of building estimates.


The results? More accurate estimates based on correct figures that protect profitability and increase customer trust.


Job Tracking

As your print operation grows or your customer requirements increase, you’ll naturally add greater numbers of jobs to the pipeline. As the number of jobs increases, you may find your existing (manual) system for job tracking cannot scale past a certain point.


Slingshot’s job costing and tracking core module is the solution here: it shows you exactly where every single job is in the print workflow. No more losing track of (or just plain losing) a job!


The built-in job costing tools pair well with the estimating tools discussed above as well. These modules integrate well and can feed data to each other.



Invoicing is another area where manual processes or disconnected systems can create chaos and hamper growth.


Whether you’re creating invoices manually or relying on a separate invoicing system (one that doesn’t connect to your broader print MIS, or doesn’t connect well), the problems are the same. Rekeying information, manual input errors, duplicate records, and no single system of record are just a few.


Slingshot’s invoicing add-on module automatically populates invoices with the data already collected in Slingshot, including the pricing listed in the estimate. And it can post activity directly into your accounting system.


Real-World Results: An Avanti Slingshot Case Study 

Avanti Slingshot is delivering real-world results for hundreds of print clients, including Tactive, a print business focusing on promotional products.


Tactive’s previous print MIS didn’t give them effective tools for processing estimates or tasks. As a result, they struggled to price jobs accurately, leading to several of the growth-limiting factors we’ve described above.

One client sent over 200 orders per day during peak weeks, swamping their previous simple print MIS and drowning their staff with manual work.


Now, Avanti Slingshot ingests those orders directly and automatically, automating the entry of customer data.


Tactive also receives an automated packing list for each order listing, eliminating another previously manual process.

Where Tactive used to need five employees just to handle orders and pack boxes, now they need just one. They reallocated the other four to other needed tasks and roles.

In part thanks to Slingshot, Tactive grew 30% YOY and became a $6.5 million print operation.


See the full Tactive Case Study 

The Future of Print Shop Management: Innovations and Trends

Print shop management is evolving, and print businesses must adapt if they want to thrive in a changing, competitive market.


An end-to-end print MIS is no longer a nice-to-have: it’s an essential. Not only that, you need a print MIS that’s constantly being updated. When you choose a cloud-based solution like Slingshot, those updates happen automatically, with no need for local software updates.


Avanti continues to innovate as well, staying ahead of the curve through ongoing development of new features that keep our customers at the forefront of what’s possible in print workflow management.


Organize Your Print Shop with Slingshot


Avanti Slingshot is the one-stop solution for your end-to-end print MIS needs. Our highly customizable, modular print MIS system delivers efficiency, control, visibility, and automation throughout your print workflows, helping you reduce errors, improve production, and stay organized.


It all starts with a free workflow assessment, which shows you where Slingshot can improve your current status quo.

Organize Your Print Shop ->