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What Software do I need?

What software do carton converters use to manage their business?

This article provides a list of the different types of software applications used in the carton converting sector and has been written to help companies in this sector learn more about the opportunities there are to use technology to streamline and digitize their business.

What is the most used software in the carton converting industry?

The most important piece of software used by carton converting businesses is an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) or Management Information System (MIS). You may also see it referred to as the following:

An ERP/MIS is the core piece of software that carton converting companies use to manage their business workflow. Features span across the whole company, touching every department. For example:

  • The sales and estimating teams will use an ERP to create estimates and jobs.
  • Prepress teams will use the ERP to create production-ready layouts and schedule the job.
  • Production will use the ERP to record production milestones so that the whole company knows where the job is at any given time.
  • Traceability i.e. the identification of production batches and material usage for quality control purposes.
  • The finance department will use an ERP to digitize financial activities such as substrate requisitions, purchase order processing, and invoicing.
  • Warehouse teams will use an ERP to carry out their inventory and pick and pack processes.

Ecommerce / Storefront software for carton converters

This type of software (sometimes referred to as web-to-print or W2P) is most commonly used in other areas of the printing industry, but we do have some carton converting companies who use storefront software to provide their customers with an online ordering portal. However, this is typically only suitable for customers who have lots of repeat orders for previously manufactured products. In this scenario, the web-to-print solution is usually connected to the ERP solution so that these orders are automatically sent into the ERP or MIS software and processed without any manual intervention.

For more information about this type of software and how converting companies use it, head to our page about eCommerce and storefront software for printers and converters.

Workflow software for carton converters

Workflow software allows carton converters to automate some of the business processes that take place outside of their main ERP/MIS software. In the carton sector, this is generally going to be the popular Esko Automation Engine, which automates prepress tasks and offers features for preflighting and proofing.

Find out more about the workflow automation software used by printers and converters.

Planning software used by carton converters

Planning software is used extensively by carton converters to automate the ganging and nesting of products to maximize each press run. Using the software, irregular shapes can be nested together, and items imposed in a step-and-repeat approach.

The software can be integrated into an ERP or MIS solution to further streamline this process.

Examples of planning software for printing include Insoft IMP, Tilia Labs Phoenix, and Heidelberg Signa Station (which is part of Heidelberg’s Prinect Production).

Learn more about how printing and converting companies use optimization and imposition software.

Creative and graphic design software for carton converters

Practically all carton converting companies will use CAD software such as Esko’s ArtiosCAD and ImpactCAD from Arden Software to create the 3D models that allow their products to be visualized and planned before production.

Often this CAD software is integrated to a carton converter’s ERP / MIS solution so they have the ability to create nested impositions within the ERP at the estimating phase.

Carton converters also use software such as Adobe Creative Suite to design the branding elements of their products.

Learn more about what software carton converters use for design.

Courier software for carton converters

To arrange shipments, carton converters will often use their chosen courier company’s web portal e.g. UPS Worldship and FedEx Ship Manager. To streamline this process, they can also connect their ERP / MIS solution to their courier’s portal, which means users can manage deliveries without leaving their core ERP system.

Read more about the software applications used by carton converters for managing courier shipments.

Accounts software for carton converters

ERP and MIS solutions might also use accounts packages such as Sage or Business Central to manage their financial operations. Often, a carton company will connect these types of applications together with their ERP so they can digitize these financial processes and reduce admin.

Learn more about how carton converters use accounts software and integrate them with their ERP/MIS software.

Financial automation software for carton converters

Carton companies sometimes also use additional automation software such as Paperless Europe or V1 Automation to digitize the processing of invoices and purchase orders.

Learn more about the financial automation software used by companies in the commercial print sector.

Marketing automation software for carton converters

If a carton converting company uses marketing automation software such as Hubspot, InfusionSoft, or Zoho for their sales and marketing activities, they may also integrate this software into their core ERP solution. This will allow them to send targeted communications to prospects and customers based on past estimates and orders.

Learn more about how carton converters integrate their MIS with marketing automation software.

Stock and substrate ordering software for commercial printers

Paper merchants such as Premier Papers and Antalis have online catalogs that their customers can use to check prices and order stock. Commercial printers can integrate their print MIS solution with these online catalogs, so that material stock levels and prices are checked at the estimating phase, and orders for required materials can be placed from within the MIS system. 

Integrating with the Zaikio platform also offers the ability to interface multiple paper merchants into the MIS, allowing orders to be placed and availability to be checked as well as pricing. 

Read more about how packaging printers and converters integrate their MIS software with paper merchants.

Technology Guide for Printers

Confused-vector-man-about-software-names

See a comprehensive guide to the key software applications that are used in the printing, packaging, and label industries.

Go to Guide