Coudray reveals his own experiences with a CTS system, and how he restructured his garment-pritning business around the technology.
It just so happens that we ended up with a great guy who is also a network system administrator and SQL developer. SQL is a higher level database design that can be used to handled hundreds, or even thousands, of transactions per hour—an important feature. Now everyone inside the company, and many of our clients, can now access the database simultaneously over the Web.
An ongoing process
We're almost four months into the transition and still doing a hundred different things at once as we continue this major system overhaul and upgrade. The impact on our business has far exceeded my expectations. I've hired eight more employees—the first new hires since 1998. Business volume is to the point where the shop handles more than 300 orders per month. The order volume has increased each month over the previous and shows no indication of letting up. Most importantly, we're showing strong profit.
The investment in CTS was indeed an enabling point. It highlighted unforeseen weaknesses in our database, information exchange, archiving, and network servers—and it brought those points to the surface very quickly. But I would rather deal with everything from the get-go than have new problems appear every few days. The dramatic increase in screen-imaging capability forced us to step up in a much bigger way than I had ever imagined. We've strengthened most of our internal business-information systems simultaneously.
I have rarely seen such positive effects so rapidly as I did with this investment. Clients have embraced the faster order cycle, and the shop sees more orders more frequently than ever before. I am truly amazed by the amount of pent-up order demand in a market that has been basically flat for the last five years. Finally, moving to an all-digital workflow has positioned us to continue to be competitive with direct digital (for now) and to have the methods, means, and systems in place to transparently transition to other imaging processes as they become economically viable and feasible for production.
About the author
Mark A. Coudray is president of Coudray Graphic Technologies, San Luis Obispo, CA. He has served as a director of the Specialty Graphic Imaging Association Int'l (SGIA) and as chairman of the Academy of Screeprinting Technology. Coudray has authored more than 250 papers and articles over the last 20 years, and he received the SGIA's Swormstedt Award in 1992 and 1994. He covers electronic prepress issues monthly in Screen Printing magazine. He can be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
© 2006 Mark Coudray. Republication of this material in whole or in
part, electronically or in print, without the permission of the author
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