The Folks Creative Printers, Inc.
Helping a Large Commercial Printer Manage Operations
The Folks Creative Printers, Inc. is a large commercial printer located in Marion, OH. They produce high-quality printed products for vendors in the automotive industry. What began as an advertising agency in 1919 has turned in to a large production facility with the capability to mass-produce and ship printed products all over the United States and the world.
In this case study, we’ll take a look at how Link Software built a custom intranet system for The Folks Creative Printers that helps manage the daily tasks of meeting their customer’s needs.
The Folks catalog of printed products numbers in the tens of thousands. Their turnaround times for customer orders is tight and pre-production work can be overwhelming to organize. They needed an intranet application that was a small scale ERP system. The ability to tie in order production, inventory management, and invoice was vital to keeping their business running day-to-day.
Link Software wrote and currently maintains an intranet application for the Folks that is used daily by almost every department in the company. The application is involved from the time a customer places an order, through the post-printing process of inventory control and shipping product and ultimately the billing process.
Custom Intranet Application
We built and actively maintain a custom intranet application for the Folks that is used daily by almost every department in the company. The application is involved from the time a customer places an order, through the post-printing process of inventory control and shipping product, and ultimately the billing process.
Some of the applications features include:
- The system helps employees maintain a catalog of over 16,000 unique SKUs that the Folks offer. This catalog is the core data used in all other features of the application.
- Order management, from data entry through the printing process and into shipping and billing, is all handled through the application. This includes generating job tickets for the press room, making packing slips and handling UPS tracking for the shipping department, monitoring pre-press work, and maintaining customer billing and shipping details.
- Every SKU is included in the system’s inventory management program. A custom-built barcode system generates stickers for each printing job after completion. These barcodes are then scanned with Unitech barcode scanners loaded with software built specifically for the Folks. Inventory tools for manually adjusting inventory numbers are available as well.
- Invoices are automatically generated each night based on that day’s order activity. Pricing is handled via user-defined pricing tables that can be associated with each SKU. A special interface between the Folks system and Sage 50 Accounting’s desktop program is used to keep data in both systems synced.
- A variety of pre-defined reports are available for orders, inventory, and invoicing. A report builder allows staff to make their own reports that can be set to run automatically at any time of day and even be emailed to a selected list of recipients.
- Timecard entry and reporting features are used to handle employee payroll.
- A user system built on roles prevents employees from accessing data outside of their department.
- All hardware associated with the system (servers, desktop PCs, barcode scanners, printers, and networking equipment) is maintained by Link Software.
Custom Client Portal
The Folks Creative Printers, Inc. were looking to replace their current ordering system (a series of emails, phone calls, and faxes) with a streamlined online process. Link Software created a unique Customer Portal solution that tightly integrates with its intranet system.
Features of this custom client portal include:
- All customers have their own individualized account that ties directly into their billing and shipping information found in The Folks’ intranet. An account can either have full ordering access or be limited to only orders that are being shipped to their location.
- Orders are built and submitted using an order form that allows customers to quickly search through over 15,000 SKUs. Each SKU ordered can have additional printing options and notes attached that are then passed on to The Folks system after submission.
- Customers can view their entire order history and search by a handful of data points to find and monitor any orders they have placed or are being shipped to them.
- Every SKU on each order is tracked throughout fulfillment. Customers have full access to the process on The Folks side of production and can see when an order was received, moved into production, and ultimately shipped.
- Orders are shipped and tracked from three different freight companies: UPS, Holland, and XPO Logistics. Customers can see when a SKU was shipped, where it is at in the shipping process, and ultimately when it was delivered and who signed for the package.
- Every order placed on the Customer Portal is seamlessly imported into the intranet, developed by Link Software, that The Folks uses for everyday business. Each order from the portal goes from submission by the customer to the production pipeline in minutes after staff review.
- All servers and databases associated with the system are maintained by Link Software.
The Final Result
In the end, The Folks have two custom software solutions in place that touch every part of their business. They have access to more data about their business than ever before. Manual and tedious data entry tasks have been replaced with automated processes. Customers have an easier time ordering and receiving the printed products they need.
If you’d like to discover how Link Software can help you create a custom intranet application that can improve your business, contact us today.