YPS Publishing - Management and Quotations system
York based YPS publishing specialise in self publishing books by unknown authors and family histories. They asked us to help them streamline and take control of their business practices. For a traditional printing and publishing firm with traditional methods they were very forward thinking when vocalising their requirements for a management system.
We started by analysing their complex quotation systems and methods and asking which parts could be automated and which parts required human interaction. They were surprised to discover that almost the whole process of quoting could be handled by a custom system. With the base in place, we were able to provide YPS with a simpler model for subsequent processes ranging from specimen design through to scheduling, print and distribution. Whats more, we already had modules for customer management that would fit perfectly into their model, allowing us to reduce the development cost significantly.
Once a quotation has been accepted by a client, the quotation can be transormed into a sales order. We created a customised system for handling jobs in the pipeline. To acheive this without breaking from the traditional "job bag" approach used by the industry, we developed a virtual job bag system to complement the existing practices. In a virtual job bag, quoations, purchase orders, schedules and resources can be attached as files and archived against the job. A notes system and history records keep detailed accounts of any changes or special requirements of the job. The current status of the job can be updated at different points of the supply chain, meaning that management had realtime access to work in progress summaries.
A further innovation to the virtual job bag mechanism was a reporting system that allowed customised overviews of all work in progress. For example, job value against current status gave an instant snapshot of work currently in print, or waiting for approval. Daily backups are generated along with summary statistics for a long term view on the financial health of the entire business.
Because the system was constructed to work in a web server environment, remote access to the system from anywhere is possible without the need for client software. The whole system is managed through a web browser. To increase performance and security, it was decided to mount the system locally within the YPS offices and a web server was provided.
Because the system is built on our own tried and trusted modular systems framework, it is compatible with a number of other microsystems that we have developed for other clients. These include invoicing, banking, employee time management, task scheduler and other project management tools.
In addition, the system can intergate nicely with our ecommerce and CMS platforms for a complete business solution.