The most successful printing companies out there are the ones that use their Management Information Systems (MIS) to their full potential and are always looking for new opportunities to evolve it....
What is the difference between an MIS, ERP and WMS?
If you’re researching software to digitize and streamline your print business, you will have undoubtedly seen the many terms and acronyms used within the industry.
Here we explain what some common acronyms stand for, what those acronyms mean and how to tell the difference between an MIS, ERP and WMS.
What is an MIS?
MIS stands for Management Information System, and refers to a software platform offering print businesses an end-to-end software solution. This solution will typically encompass everything from sales and marketing, to production and delivery and everything in between.
The term MIS is used more broadly than within just the print industry; you will often also hear ‘Print MIS’ to differentiate between a generic and print specific solution. While there are many MIS providers, very few MIS’ are developed for the specific needs of print companies.
What is an ERP?
ERP stand for Enterprise Resource Planning, you may also see this term used interchangeably with ‘MIS’ and ‘WMS’ because it also describes software that organizations use to manage day-to-day business activities.
Indeed, there are some very large printing companies that use ERP solutions. However, they are not print specific solutions, and were developed for larger manufacturing operations.
What is a WMS?
Workflow Management Software (WMS) sometimes also called Management Workflow Software (MWS), is just another name for a print MIS, and is used by MIS providers as a way of getting across the end-to-end functionality their software provides.
Platform vs Point Solutions
There are also software applications that deal with one or two particular parts of the workflow e.g. “Print Estimating Software” or “Print Production Management Software”, sometimes they are used in combination to demonstrate they deal with more than one part of the workflow e.g. “Estimating and Production Management Software”.
These solutions are not designed to be a full end-to-end solutions and don’t offer the benefits of a single connected solution with a broad suite of capabilities. However, point solutions might work for a business that want to gradually scale their workflow, on a system deeply embedded in their business.
You may also see the below phrases being used intermittently in place of “Print MIS” or “Workflow Management Software”, but these are actually different types of software applications used for different purposes:
- “Business Management System” – This is more related to the executive management of a business and includes tools used in the development and execution of business strategies and plans.
- “Print Management Software” – This can be used in any industry to manage and optimize office document printers.
When considering software applications for your print business, it’s important to research all the tools and support that business is able to offer. You can also check out our other blog, on some suggested questions to ask your potential MIS supplier.