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You are a print shop – you’ve existed since the printing press itself, and you’ve seen the rise and fall of various proofing methods, from the carrier pigeon to snail-mail. Or, maybe you’re not that ancient. Regardless, you’ve still got a proofing process, and that means you can improve it. A good proofing software can save a print shop a lot of time and effort and make expanding your business more achievable.
When you’re looking for a proofing software as a print shop there are some specific features that are necessary. The best print shop software will help you avoid the email deluge, remind your clients to approve proofs, organize your projects and offer markup tools for commenting. I’ll be discussing what these features will look like using Ashore as my example.
Avoid the Email Slog
Email: it’s a wonderful invention, but not the best for the proofing process at your print shop. You’re stuck digging through email threads for comments and changes for the proof, and that’s if your client didn’t just send a new email entirely. The best print shop software is going to help you avoid the email slog. You may not be able to completely avoid email, but a good software will keep most of the important parts of the process (comments, organization, markups) out of email.
Ashore does its best to avoid egregious emailing. Your customers will receive emails with the link to the proof, reminders and messages that you send out. It’s difficult to eliminate email completely from your proofing process, but we keep it to a minimum.
Remind Your Clients to Approve
Your clients really want their print job done – but they don’t always remember they have to approve the file, first. The best print shop software will save you a lot of mental effort and even more time by offering automatic reminders. The most effective automatic reminders will also include a link to the proof, to really make it simple to view and ease the approval process even more.
At Ashore we offer a couple of different options for sending out reminders to your clients: every day (our favorite), every other day, once a week or, for the bravest among us, never. If your clients need a more personal touch you can also send them an email through Ashore, complete with a link to the proof.
Organize Your Abundance of Projects
One of the cons for proofing through email is the lack of organization, so your best proofing software will offer you the best organizational system as well. One of the basic benefits to proofing software over email is the isolation; you’re viewing only the projects without the added noise of invites to meetings, spam, etc. That’s a perk, but the best software will go a whole lot further. The best print shop software will provide active organization, not just isolation from other factors. For example, Ashore offers color-coded icons, so you can tell at a glance which proofs are overdue, rejected or approved.
Need to find all the proofs requested by a certain client, or given to a specific employee? You can use the tagging system on Ashore to mark proofs with whatever tags you’d like, for easy filtering on your archive page. If tagging and color-coding aren’t for you, your proofing software should still allow you to filter proofs by status, at the very least.
Markup Those Proofs
The biggest draw for a proofing software is the ability to make comments directly on the proof. No need to interpret “move the square a little to the left” when your approver made the comment directly on the square and drew an arrow to where they want it to move. Tools such as arrows and boxes offer more clarity when marking up proofs, leaving you less to interpret and more to act on.
Ashore has threaded comments in addition to arrows and boxes. You can reply to comments that your clients make, and you’ll be able to refer back to those comments later when needed. Again, no more digging through emails!
E-Sign or Bust
One of the biggest hurdles for any print shop is the actual printing. Your clients are, inevitably, going to notice three spelling errors and two placement issues after you’ve printed all five hundred copies of their fliers. You’ve doubtless got paperwork and disclaimers about errors and revisions, but your proofing software should also help on that front. E-signatures are the easiest way to make sure your clients acknowledge, again, that they’ve checked for spelling, placement and covered all the bases.
Ashore offers an e-signature feature in our checklists. Fully customizable, you can put whatever requirements your clients need to check off on before approving. It also serves as a reminder, so if they didn’t check for spelling, they can back up and do so before you’ve spent time and resources printing incorrect runs.
Are we the best print shop software?
We sure think so! All of these features are key in improving your proofing process and therefore, your productivity – and they all exist in one software! Ashore was created by people going through that approval process on the daily, so we try and keep the software simple but full of useful features.
Perhaps you use another software that helps you in at least one of these areas: avoids excessive emails, sends out automatic reminders, organizes your proofs and offers markup tools, but there’s always room for improvement. Imagine having this all in one convenient place. And, hey, you’ve got nothing to lose – try Ashore for free today!