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Don't MIS understand the opportunity one year after Go Live, one company tells their story!


MacroArt are steeped in knowledge and know how in all aspects of producing, installing and critically project managing, quality images on environmentally friendly substrates

As you approach the MacroArt offices in St Neots Cambridge, you immediately get a sense that something is very different from your typical print company; and we think it fair to say you would be right! The size, scale and setting are hugely impressive; and give you the distinct impression that this company definitely does things differently, but what is it that sets them apart?

Well the answer to that perhaps can be found by rolling back the years to its origins in 1991; and understanding the motivation behind the business name, which was literally born out of trying to describe blown up artwork, the name Macro Art in essence means “Big Print”.

Evolving initially as pioneers within the trade who sort to print bigger more compelling imagery than most, they were known as the company who had the vision to invest in the very first 5 metre machine in the UK; and again one of the first to invest in 3.2 metre wide dye sublimation technology, they have continued to break records ever since.

MacroArt are steeped in knowledge and know how in all aspects of producing, installing and critically project managing, quality images on environmentally friendly substrates. This enables them to deliver projects which require some of the most complex execution of print, within live events, retail and interiors worldwide. At one end of the scale, retail clients such as: Ted Baker, Warehouse and Oasis, will look to MacroArt to manage and deliver seasonal campaigns, but within the live events arena; prestigious air shows like Paris and Farnborough, rely on the expertise and innovation of the business to not only effectively dress a chalet to house several aircraft; they also rely on them to build the structure, which for many clients is seen as an invaluable value added and unique service!

From 2013 onwards, a successful MBO ensured continued investment to further enhance the already extensive large and wide format manufacturing capability of MacroArt. But aware of the increasing client led pressures on the business to deliver even more efficiency, Operations Manager Adam McMonagle knew that an investment in automation and process improvement was also an essential next step to further improve the quality and output of MacroArt.

McMonagle states “I went to FESPA 2015 looking for MIS companies who could properly understand from a production perspective exactly what we did. At that stage, I had read and heard some positive things about the Optimus dash MIS working well in our specific market and I knew they were exhibiting, but I was still not entirely sure that they or other providers would be properly able to demonstrate their relevance to us.

In my experience, MIS systems traditionally tended to still think everything was a litho process which firstly would then require a workaround from the off given the enormous variety of substrates and equipment we handle, then secondly they would by default end up dictating the rules of how to manage my environment and working practices; and I wanted a system that was the exact opposite of that!

For me, it needed to be a system that I could build and influence the logic of, rather than one that was just given to me. With that in mind when visiting the Optimus stand at FESPA and seeing straight away that my aspiration could indeed be a reality using the dash engine within their software, was a massive step forward.

I could see with the Optimus dash MIS that the system could indeed be configured to suit us specifically when creating the estimate and modelling the job. I was confident it would give us exactly what we needed now, as well as providing inbuilt tools that would give us tremendous flexibility to change and adapt in the future as our needs evolved.”

In addition I felt very comfortable in talking with the Optimus team and Ed Carney in particular, who used to be a Production Manager in my sector. Ed seemed to properly understand the reality of what it was like working with MIS software in order to produce a job under pressure, on time and on budget where quality is just a given. After further meetings and discussions in the UK, we discounted some of the other more traditional MIS suppliers in favour of Optimus, who really generated solid confidence in me and my team to actually invest, which is always a calculated risk and a leap of faith.

It is true to say, that I could from the very start easily see the real potential for removing many unwanted manual steps from our traditional models of working. This would include the creation of the: Estimate, Job Bag, Purchase Order, Stock Management and Invoice process; and then off the back of providing that increased automation, I hoped to access really solid accurate and trusted data that would enable the business to make even more informed decisions about the profitability of the work that we produced and wanted.

Moving on to the installation and implementation process, I also hoped as part of what was being delivered in partnership with MacroArt; that we would have the ability to remove the age old problem of the same thing to be produced being described in a myriad of ways by different people. This to me historically, always created the potential for misinterpretation and mistakes when the job hit production; so by being able to directly influence and adapt the software user interface where I could ensure the quote and production narrative was always consistent was a massive fundamental goal.

Looking back now one year on from go live, I have to say that from a implementation perspective, the attitude and approach from Optimus has been first class and they have fundamentally delivered on what I set out to achieve. The Business Manager assigned to our project Vanessa Hillsdon-Jones literally camped at our premises for weeks ensuring a swift go live within four months of the start of the project. Her knowledge again as an ex Print Production Manager has also proved invaluable and Vanessa is now accepted as one of the MacroArt team due to the supportive and constructive way she has positively engaged with all within the business. This has definitely helped me to create a stable solid MIS foundation that we are now very confident we can build on.

Moving forwards we have aspirations to do significantly more with Optimus including providing more automation to further collect more detailed accurate time and costs from all that we do; some process engineering is still required but we are very confident and pleased with what the system is providing today.

Without doubt, we have definitely increased the scalability and scope of the business to increase turnover further without adding greater numbers of staff, this alone we believe will equate to thousands of pounds worth of savings. Next year we plan on providing precise metrics to further our story of two years in with Optimus and look forward to sharing our story in Image Reports.

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