Industry-specific software helps print shop lift sales and productivity
Imprimerie Maxime Inc.
August 16, 2013— Montréal, Quebec
We’ve all heard the expression, “There’s an app for that”—usually meant as a joke. In the case of Imprimerie Maxime Inc., there really was an app for what they wanted to do, and it has boosted the firm’s productivity tremendously.
Imprimerie Maxime is a small commercial print shop based in Montreal. Established in 1987, the firm enjoyed a good reputation and a solid customer base, but it was struggling to grow. At the heart of this struggle was the firm’s reliance on old-school manual calculations for estimates, job costing, production processes and accounting.
“I was handling every estimate personally and manually,” says the company’s president, André Paiement. “For each new proposal, I was spending hours working out how much time it would take, what it would cost us to complete, and how much we should charge the client.”
Under the circumstances, it was difficult to prioritize projects based on profitability, to make confident decisions on pricing, or to respond to as many proposals as Paiement would have liked. Without an automatic link between proposals and production, it was also impossible for staff to be sure they could deliver a job on time, making workflow unpredictable. “Our staff worked a lot of overtime just to deliver,” says Paiement.
The right technology for the job
There had to be a better way—and Paiement found it. Asking around, he discovered that others in his industry were using software made by Tactic TGI. Based in Saint-Georges, Québec, Tactic develops management software designed specifically for the printing and graphic arts industries to automate everything from estimating to job costing to production processes and accounting. The catch? Implementing the software would be prohibitively expensive for a company the size of Imprimerie Maxime, which had just 11 employees in 2012.
Undaunted, Paiement approached the National Research Council of Canada Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC-IRAP) to find out if Imprimerie Maxime might be eligible for support through the Digital Technology Adoption Pilot Program (DTAPP). Paiement soon found himself connected to Nguyen Thuy, a Montreal-based Industrial Technology Advisor (ITA).
“I analysed the Tactic software to make sure it would do what the firm hoped it would, and checked that the firm could support its implementation,” says Nguyen. Over the course of six months beginning in July 2012, the DTAPP project helped the printing company to implement the software, including training employees on its use. Tactic has automated a number of the firm’s processes, including project monitoring, estimating, job costing, invoicing, inventory management, and client and vendor file management.
The firm saw results from the software implementation in short order. Thanks to the DTAPP project, Imprimerie Maxime:
- Increased its sales by 32.5 per cent over May to November 2012 compared to the same period in 2011
- Stabilized its gross margin, which is expected to grow by 10 per cent in 2013
- Watched productivity rise by 20 per cent
- Hired three new employees—and plans to hire two more in 2013
- Can now respond to 500 proposal requests per month, up 400 per cent from 100 per month
Switching the focus to business development
Now that the tasks he once focused on are fully software-driven, Paiement is free to dedicate his efforts to business development–and he isn’t wasting any time. In 2013, he hired a consultant to conduct a strategic business development analysis to help the firm attract new customers. Thanks to the dramatic productivity improvement brought about by the new software, the firm expects to double its sales without needing to make any new major investments.
“What amazed me most was how quickly the project got such great results.”—Thuy Nguyen, Industrial Technology Advisor (ITA), NRC-IRAP.
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