Computer Management Systems - Your Electronic Assistant
Computer management systems offer in-plants a way to track costs, boost customer service and justify themselves. Find out what else they can do for you.
Two years ago, Iowa State University Printing Services was paying the administrative data processing department about $8,000 per month for the use of its estimating and inventory tracking system. But that system tracked materials only—there was no way for the in-plant to factor in time and labor costs.
"We really didn't know what our true costs were," admits Gary Boyd, manager of printing services. He decided to take action. He researched many different computer management systems for his shop, finally deciding on software from Programmed Solutions. Boyd is now able to provide his administration with accurate reports through his own system, and is proving his shop's worth to the University.
"Having done all that, we are in a much better situation financially, and we know a lot more about what our true costs are," Boyd explains.
So why is it important for an in-plant to have a computer management system? Vendors say managers like Boyd know the right answer—so the in-plant can prove it is a profit center and not an expense.
"This is the age-old chargeback question," says Harold Rapp, vice president of sales for Avanti. "If printing does not charge back, how can you gauge their productivity? How can you compare them to outside sources? How does management know they are getting value?" These answers are provided accurately and easily with the use of a computer management system, Rapp insists.
"Most of our customers look at a management system as a way to give the upper echelon in the parent company cold, hard facts to justify their existence," adds Ken Davis, president of InfoNet. "Far and away the most significant fact is for them to be able to counteract the possibility of being outsourced."