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Colour Options is a family run business based in York, England. For the past 20 years, they have been providing a quality service in digital and litho printing.
They offer a wide range of in-house print finishing services, combined with a vast range of papers, digital enhancements and the traditional craftmanship of foil blocking and embossing.
For years, Colour Options have used a system which has been developed in house. But as the company continues to grow, they have outgrown that system and the limitations started to show. One of the key issues was the lack of in-depth breakdown when estimating, so their profitability was being affected.
The system was developed by MD, Matt Taylor, so fixing issues was costing him a lot of time, and the company was dependent on him to run the MIS – which isn’t ideal for any business.
There were two main goals for the implementation. Matt wanted the business to become more efficient, but he also had a personal goal of changing the way he worked, so he could concentrate more on what they actually do – print and provide a good service to their customers. Instead of spending his time having to fix and update the software they currently used.
“One of the things I had to remind myself when making the decision about Tharstern was that, even though I enjoy it, I am not a software developer, I’m running a print business and that’s what I need to concentrate on.”
Like any printer, Colour Options had concerns when they first looked at investing in a new MIS.
Matt had the same concerns that most small print businesses have – MIS implementation projects can take up a lot of time, and what initially seemed like a substantial amount of financial investment so for a small business, with only 11 employees, it’s hard to think of the long-term ROI instead of concentrating on how a successful implementation is going to be possible.
“In 2017 when we first looked at the system, our main concern was the size of our business. We were a small company and didn’t think we needed an MIS, but as a small business it’s important to think big. We needed to think how our bigger competitors think – it makes them more efficient, so why wouldn’t it work for us?”
They revisited the MIS in 2018 and realized the ROI would be worth it. It would help them achieve their goals and ambition, which they couldn’t put a price on.
“I look back now and know it was the best business decision I ever made.”
The MIS has transformed the way they work - from processes, to the equipment they use. The Tharstern MIS can work on Mac’s using Parallels or remote desktops and Matt was always a Mac fan. But he decided to try out using a PC and has been converted. In fact, he thinks they work better with PCs.
A big concern for Matt was how the implementation would affect their business. However, despite losing 2 members of staff during implementation year, they have still managed to achieve the same financial performance, but with a better profit margin. Implementing the system meant they didn’t have to replace the members of staff that they lost.
The team are now in complete control of their own work station, so the press operator is in charge of monitoring their stock levels and ordering the stock needed.
Each team member has a personalized view of the Tharstern system, allowing them to focus on what they need to see, know and do.
Matt advises the system gives them level of data they need to start analyzing the business to see what’s working and what needs improving/changing.
“The new system has made me realize that there are lots of opportunities for automation that I’d never thought about before, because I was too busy concentrating on the software working properly.
We have the best of both worlds - a ready-made system that I can tinker with and integrate with other systems and add on the specific functionality the business needs.”
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