Print MIS vs ERP Systems for Manufacturing (A Complete Guide)

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The terms Print MIS (Management Information System) and ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) get mentioned quite a lot in manufacturing and print manufacturing companies. Whether it’s a label printer, flexible packaging manufacturer, or a make-to-stock manufacturer, each one of these companies is using an ERP or MIS.

While a Print MIS is tailored for the print industry, an ERP system is designed to be industry-agnostic and can be used across many sectors. ERP systems aim to provide a general solution that can be adapted to different industries with customizable features and modules.

To keep things short, a Print MIS and ERP are very similar. The main difference is that a Print MIS has a few out of the box features that print manufacturers need that an ERP doesn’t have. Also, most Print MIS do not handle the accounting side of things. Therefore, multiple pieces of software are needed to manage everything effectively.

If you’re running a print manufacturing company that has outgrown basic accounting systems like QuickBooks, you’re likely searching for an upgrade. Luckily, we’re here to guide you through the decision-making process.

What are the Differences Between Print MIS vs ERP Systems?

The Differences between Print MIS vs ERP Systems

The difference between a Print MIS and an ERP system can be a bit nuanced, but it mainly lies in their scope and functionality. Here’s a breakdown of the key differences:

AspectPrint MISERP System
ScopeFocused on managing print-specific processes and workflows. Includes features like estimating, job planning, production scheduling, inventory management, and job tracking.Designed to manage broad business processes across various departments such as finance, HR, and operations, applicable across multiple industries.
Industry FocusExclusively tailored for the print industry to address its unique requirements and operations.Industry-agnostic, adaptable to various sectors with customizable features to suit specific industry requirements.
FunctionalitySpecializes in print-specific functionalities including estimating print jobs, managing print production workflows, tracking inventory of print materials, and generating reports on print manufacturing processes.Provides a wide range of functionalities that are customizable to fit different industry needs, including manufacturing, retail, and services.
IntegrationOften integrates with accounting software to ensure seamless data flow between print operations and financial management.Typically offers broader integration capabilities with various business systems and software applications to support diverse operational needs.
Comparative Overview of Print MIS vs ERP Systems

This table highlights the core differences between Print MIS vs ERP systems, illustrating how each is designed to meet the specific needs of different business environments. Print MIS systems are highly specialized for the print industry, optimizing processes and workflows within that sector.

In contrast, ERP systems offer more generalized solutions that can be tailored to multiple industries, providing comprehensive management capabilities across various business functions.

Evolution of Print MIS and ERP Systems

The journey of Print MIS and ERP systems dates back to the 1960s and 1970s when early business software started making its mark. These systems initially found their place in large Fortune 100 businesses, with manufacturing companies leading the charge due to their complex requirements.

During this time, two key components emerged: accounting software and inventory management software known as Material Resource Planning (MRP). As technology advanced, both the accounting and MRP modules grew more sophisticated, with each incorporating functionalities from the other. This convergence allowed smaller businesses to afford and benefit from these systems.

However, as the capabilities expanded, the challenge arose in finding suitable terms to describe these evolving software packages. The traditional term MRP no longer captured the breadth of features, as it now encompassed not only inventory management but also production scheduling, management, and accounting integration. In the 1980s and 1990s, new terms emerged, including MRP2, MIS, and ERP, which aimed to capture the evolving nature of these systems.

MIS and ERP Systems Today

In recent times, modern print MIS systems have begun embracing the term ERP as they have started incorporating accounting functionalities within their platforms. For example, the EPS Systems Pace Software Package is now referred to as Pace ERP/MIS or Pace ERP in marketing collateral. This trend indicates a shift toward aligning with the broader ERP concept while maintaining the distinctive print MIS capabilities.

Furthermore, there has been a recent trend where mainstream ERP vendors, like Microsoft, are beginning to incorporate print-specific capabilities into their systems. These vendors are recognizing the importance of catering to the unique requirements of the print industry. For instance, Microsoft Dynamics Business Central offers the PrintVis add-on, which seamlessly integrates print MIS capabilities into the ERP system.

The terminologies of Print MIS and ERP have evolved over time, with MIS historically referring to systems that integrated production scheduling, material planning, and estimating, while ERP encompassed broader business management capabilities. However, with the growing inclusion of accounting features in modern print MIS systems and the integration of print capabilities in ERP systems, the lines between the two have become blurred.

Understanding the Difference Between Print MIS vs ERP Systems

The Importance of Print MIS and ERP Systems in Print Manufacturing

Print MIS and ERP systems are vital for small to medium-sized print manufacturing companies because of their ability to streamline operations and boost efficiency. These systems centralize many critical functions such as estimating, production scheduling, inventory management, and accounting, which helps to eliminate departmental silos and boosts productivity.

These systems enable accurate estimating and pricing by allowing businesses to generate detailed cost estimates that factor in materials, labor, and overhead. This ensures competitive pricing and profitability.

Improved resource management is another significant benefit, as Print MIS and ERP systems help companies optimize the use of materials and labor, reduce waste, and minimize downtime, enhancing overall productivity.

Additionally, many of these systems include CRM functionalities, which help manage customer data, track orders, and personalize communication, thereby improving customer service and satisfaction.

Choosing the Right Print MIS or ERP System for Your Print Manufacturing Company

As you begin the selection process, it’s essential to understand not only the specific features each system offers but also how well these features align with your company’s unique needs and long-term objectives. From integration capabilities with existing software to scalability that matches your growth ambitions, every aspect of a potential system must be scrutinized to ensure it can support and enhance your operational workflows.

Here are the key steps and considerations to guide you through the decision-making process:

  1. Define Business Requirements: Start by clearly understanding what you need from a Print MIS or ERP system. This involves identifying the specific challenges and bottlenecks in your current operations and understanding the functionalities you need, such as order management, production scheduling, inventory control, and customer relationship management​.
  2. Print-Specific Capabilities: Opt for a system that includes features tailored to the printing industry. This could include support for print estimating, job management, production scheduling, and integration with print-specific hardware and software​.
  3. Integration Capabilities: It’s essential that the system can seamlessly integrate with the other software tools you use, such as accounting packages, CRM systems, and e-commerce platforms. This helps in eliminating data silos and improving workflow efficiency.
  4. Scalability and Flexibility: The chosen system should be able to grow with your business, handling increased order volumes and production complexities as your company expands. Ensure the system is flexible enough to adapt to changing business needs over time​.
  5. User-Friendly Interface: A system that is easy to use will facilitate quicker adoption among your staff. Look for intuitive navigation and customizable dashboards. Good vendor support for training and troubleshooting is also vital for smooth operation​.
  6. Vendor Expertise and Support: Evaluate the vendor’s experience and reputation in the print industry. A vendor that offers robust support and regular updates can be a crucial factor in your decision-making process. They should understand the unique needs of print manufacturing and offer solutions accordingly​.
  7. Consider Implementation Strategy: Successful implementation is as important as the system itself. Develop a clear implementation plan that includes setting realistic objectives, engaging stakeholders early, and defining the scope of the project. Regularly review this plan to manage budget, timeline, and scope effectively​.
  8. Evaluate System Configurability: Systems like PrintVis offer modularity and configurability, which can be critical for customizing the software to fit your specific operational needs. This adaptability helps streamline production processes and improves efficiency across various printing technologies​.

By carefully considering these factors, conducting thorough vendor evaluations, and involving key stakeholders in the decision process, you can choose a Print MIS or ERP system that not only meets your current needs but also supports future growth and efficiency.

Choosing a Print MIS (PrintVis)

Why Sabre Uses PrintVis as an MIS Solution

Several years ago I was contacted by a magazine printing company about their ERP system. I looked on the Internet and did some research and found an add-on for Microsoft Dynamics called PrintVis. I had a conversation with the sales Rep and found out that the product looked really good, and might be a good fit for this company. When I called them back a few days later they had decided not to look and I set the information aside and forgot about it.

About a year after that another company reached out to me, the printed labels for packaging. This seems similar and so I decided to call the same guy from before, and ask him if PrintVis handled labels.

It turns out that PrintVis handles label printing really well.  

I arranged to visit the client, and have one of the PrintVis technicians demonstrate their product. After arriving at the company, and setting up in the boardroom, a German consultant came on and remotely presented on my computer and began demonstrating PrintVis.

To my surprise, after about 30 minutes the customer stopped the demonstration. He said “I don’t need to see anymore!” I thought he was gonna throw me out of his boardroom. Instead he said “this is exactly what we need in our company.”  

Despite the fact that I didn’t make that sale, I realized this was a really impressive product. I decided that year that we would start selling PrintVis and have not looked back since. 

At Sabre Limited, we understand the importance of selecting the right Print MIS system to meet the unique needs of print manufacturing companies. Our preferred choice of an MIS is PrintVis. PrintVis is actually an AppSource add-on to Microsoft Dynamics that makes it an incredible solution for print manufacturing companies.

4 Reasons to Consider PrintVis for Print Manufacturing

There are way more than four reasons to consider PrintVis for your small to medium-sized print manufacturing company. However, the top 4 reasons to consider PrintVis are:

  1. Seamless Integration: PrintVis is built on the foundation of Microsoft Business Central, one of the leading ERP systems in the market. The PrintVis add-on provides a seamless experience, combining the power of ERP functionalities with print-specific capabilities.
  2. Print-Specific Features: From estimating and job planning to production scheduling and inventory control, PrintVis covers the entire spectrum of print-specific workflows. It enables accurate job costing, enhances resource allocation, facilitates production tracking, and streamlines order fulfillment, ultimately leading to improved productivity and profitability.
  3. Enhanced Visibility and Control: With PrintVis, you gain enhanced visibility and control over your print manufacturing processes. The system provides real-time insights into job statuses, production bottlenecks, resource utilization, and overall operational performance. This information empowers us to make data-driven decisions, optimize workflows, and proactively address any issues that may arise.
  4. Flexibility and Scalability: PrintVis is highly flexible and scalable, making it suitable for print manufacturing companies of all sizes. Whether you are a small print shop or a larger commercial printer, PrintVis can be tailored to meet your specific needs.

As your business grows, PrintVis can accommodate increased volumes, additional production lines, and evolving requirements, ensuring that your MIS system remains aligned with your business goals and objectives.

Conclusion: Print MIS vs ERP Systems

There are four key differences when it comes to Print MIS vs ERP systems; scope, industry focus, functionality, and integration. However, they are not all that different from one another and the lines are becoming more blurred over time.

While many Print MIS are still missing some of the accounting features, many ERPs are not fully capable of handling print jobs. That being said, getting the PrintVis add-on for Microsoft Business Central is a fantastic option.

Instead of attempting to marry your accounting suite with an MIS, PrintVis can easily be purchased in Microsoft AppSource.

By embracing Print MIS and ERP systems, print manufacturing companies can unlock numerous benefits, including streamlined operations, improved productivity, enhanced customer satisfaction, and sustainable growth.

Closing Thoughts

At Sabre Limited, we are experts in manufacturing. We stand among the best Microsoft Dynamics manufacturing partners across North America. What sets us apart from our competitors is that we use fixed fees instead of time and material billing and we always put the customer first. 

Our areas of expertise include:

If you’re interested in learning more about what Sabre Limited can offer, we’ve been dedicated to helping small to medium-sized manufacturers learn and adopt Business Central. Reach out, and let’s explore how we can contribute to the success of your manufacturing journey. Contact us at or call (519) 585-7524. We look forward to hearing from you.

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