We have created this article for direct mail printers who want to find out more about the different types of software applications that are available to help them manage their company. We have also included information about how these different applications connect together, where relevant.
Data processing software for direct mail printers
Direct mail companies can use various different software applications to process the different types of data they receive from their customers. This type of software often falls under the generic banner of ‘data processing software’, and includes functionality to carry out tasks such as de-duping, address validation, and decryption for example.
Software that direct mail printers use to manage print production
Direct mail companies that have print production facilities may also use a Management Information System (sometimes called a print MIS) to handle both the quoting and print production aspects of an order.
These MIS solutions allow users to quote for different cells/drops for each unique configuration of products including supplied stock, client-supplied items, and printed products. The MIS software creates production instructions for the printed products within each cell/drop and allows users to track the progress of each order as it moves through the production and assembly phases. Direct mail companies can also use this type of software to compare the estimated job costs with the actual job costs, in order to identify efficiency improvements.
Those direct mail companies who do not use an MIS solution will often use a spreadsheet product such as Microsoft Excel to create each quote. This typically only works with orders that have very basic print requirements, as the lack of production instructions for more complex printed products will cause problems further down the workflow.
Creative and graphic design software for direct mail printers
Direct mail printers may use software such as Adobe Creative Suite to design their products. They don’t tend to use CAD software, which is more widely used for label and carton converters.
Accounts software for direct mail printers
A print MIS solution does come with some financial functionality, namely the production of financial documents such as Purchase Orders and Sales Invoices, etc, but direct mail printers typically use some other type of software to manage their financial accounts. And they often integrate the two together to provide synchronization of financial activity between the accounts package and the MIS software.
Examples of this software include Sage, Xero, Quickbooks, and Business Central.
Marketing automation software for direct mail printers
In the absence of an MIS solution to help them calculate custom quotes, direct mail printers will typically use software such as Hubspot or Salesforce to create ‘line by line’ quotes for their clients. These will consist of a ‘menu’ of different services for their clients to choose from.
Stock and substrate ordering software for direct mail printers
Paper merchants such as Premier Papers and Antalis have online catalogs that their customers can use to check prices and order stock. Direct mail 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.