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PrintSmith Classic to Vision Conversion - Alternative products

  • 1.  PrintSmith Classic to Vision Conversion - Alternative products

    Posted 07-12-2018 11:47 AM

    We are preparing to convert from PrintSmith Classic to Vision. The documentation is awful, the prerequisites are burdensome and the word on the street is that Vision and HTML are not ready for prime time - and may never be. Does anyone have a success story that counters this? Is there a competitive product that you have converted to from Classic?

    Brian Ebbers
    Cascade Printing & Graphics, Inc.
    Grand Rapids MI

  • 2.  RE: PrintSmith Classic to Vision Conversion - Alternative products

    Posted 07-13-2018 08:50 AM
    About 1 and half years ago we upgraded from Printsmith Classic to Vision, the transition when very well, I know a number of others that the transition went well for as well.  I also know a number that the transition did not go well for.

    Vision works and runs great for us, better than classic, I personal think the largest problem to overcome is the settle differences in how it works, they tried to make it operate to much like Classic.  So every task/operation is almost the same but different.  I think it would have been an easier transition if it operated a little less like classic.

    "prerequisites are burdensome"  Printsmith is a database for all intent a purposes, garbage in = garbage out, it is that simple.  I was in IT for 20 years prior to purchasing AlphaGraphics and I can tell you preparation is key, do the work, the more effort you put in the more you will get out.  From my perspective the work was minimal compared to what I was used to in my former life.

    Switch to something else?  I would not even consider it, if you think there is a lot of work getting ready to go from Printsmith to Printsmith, I would estimate 2-3 times the prep work to go from printsmith to anything else.  Then once converted you would have to relearn everything as would everyone in your center, printsmith is the life blood in our centers, it tracks cost, prices jobs, etc...  You need something that you understand and trust and if Printsmith is not that for you then maybe switch but to me what I have seen as comparables do not offer much different or better.

    Everyone I talk to that had a bad experience its because they are trying to do something that printsmith was never designed to do or cutting corners.  Take EFI's advise change the way a few things are done so they work with the software as designed, put the effort in to clean up you papers stock, align the naming conventions with your suppliers, tie in online pricing updates, take advantage of all of the new features that can keep your profits sharp and your operations clean.  Embrace technology, the first 4 to 6 weeks suck once you get past that it become much easier and more efficient you will be wishing that you made the Upgrade sooner than you did.

    Fell free to give me a call if you want to discuss.

    Ryan Paulsrud
    Owner and President
    AlphaGraphics Middleton
    Middleton WI
    (608) 836-9999

  • 3.  RE: PrintSmith Classic to Vision Conversion - Alternative products

    Posted 07-13-2018 09:26 AM
    Hi Brian,

    We had a lot of RESERVATION about converting but being part of a franchise we didn't really have a choice, and were interested in some of the updates so we converted March 2016.   Yes, there was the expense in upgrading all the computers (which probably needed upgrading anyway) but there is also a SaaS version that I know some AlphaGraphics run successfully and I'm not sure how that effects the hardware requirements other than eliminating a "Master".

    I guess the answer might be on how in depth you use PrintSmith (ie All the different modules, and features).  We found that most centers didn't use much of the functionally and kept with the basics.  I can tell you that it's the standard for our Franchise and I don't know of anyone that has any problems running their business because of it.

    Side note -- Yes, Vision was built on Flash which is going away and they are rebuilding the entire thing to be HTML but they are doing it in pieces.  We are actually involved in a BETA group within Alphagraphics testing it now.  Of course there are some issues but they seems to be remedying them fairly quickly.  And I do know that the new HTML version will be the new standard in 2020 (I think), when Flash goes away.....

    I know I sound like an EFI commercial but I'm not really.  Is it great, no.  But I do know our franchise did look at other options (like Corebridge (Cloud-Based Management System: Sign & Print Shops | CoreBridge) and ended up that PrintSmith was the best for our situation.

    I hope that helps some...

    Matthew Haar
    AlphaGraphics #190
    Kansas City MO
    (816) 842-4200

  • 4.  RE: PrintSmith Classic to Vision Conversion - Alternative products

    Posted 07-13-2018 10:17 AM
    Hi I recently made the switch after 20 years on Classic.  Other than the coordination with PS getting help there are some great features that will make you life easier.  If you where happy with Classic you will be happy with Vision.  There are some growing pains but working in Windows 10 is the hardest conversion.  Message me if you have any questions. cp

  • 5.  RE: PrintSmith Classic to Vision Conversion - Alternative products

    Posted 07-13-2018 11:54 AM

    Hi Brian,

    We updated from Classic to vision about 2 years ago. It was a pretty clean upgrade and installation. As far as Vision flash goes it works pretty much like classic, so your users will be familiar with it. Invoices, Estimates, and Pending Documents are the only parts that use the new HTML5 platform. The HTML5 platform user interface is completely different from how you are working today, but a big step in the right direction. We upgraded to the HTML5 version a couple of months ago when it came out. The nice part is that the HTML5 Invoices, Estimates and Pending Documents all are run together with the current flash version, so you can work in both all day long and shorten the learning curve of HTML5. I am currently creating about 75% of invoices and estimates in HTML5.


    Make sure you are running PSV on a computer that meets or exceeds the recommend system requirements. Load up on RAM and the Processor. We are running on a Windows 10 machine with a top of the line i7 with 16GB RAM (upgradable to 64 GB just in case) and it runs really smooth.



    • Vision Report Writer is pretty advanced and each custom report has to be created by support unless you are a programmer.
    • If you are using tracker or scheduler you can "Attached To Job Ticket" or "Release to Production" from HTML5
    • In HTML5 you cannot move around job charges on estimates or invoices


    I hope this helped, and good luck.



    Mike Paholke

    Excel Printing and Mailing

    708.271.8966 (Direct)

    708.333.9630 (Fax)

    877.765.6245 (Toll Free)