One area of a print business that has perhaps the biggest impact on profits is print estimating. Estimating is the backbone of a print company’s operation. Estimators interact with sales and a quote can make or break a potential sale. One reason that Estimating departments need to get quotes out FAST. Then, when a quote turns into a job, the job has to be out the door to the customer, well, FAST.
Whether you’re in a packaging, large format, labeling, or commercial print business, the challenge for the print industry are razor-thin 1% to 3% average profit margins.
Print management information systems, (MIS) software, are built specifically to support printing businesses with the challenges they face as they fight to maintain (or even increase) profit margins. HiFlow is one such MIS provider that can deliver those accurate, timely, expedient estimates for even the most challenging customers—and get you the job at the correct pricing.
#1: More Accurate Job Costing
How to produce fast estimates without compromising on accuracy? Without underestimating job costs, or overestimating, which loses you the business?
HiFlow’s Estimate Wizard was created with the printing industry in mind. The estimator inputs only relevant data without having to calculate anything outside of the system. In addition, HiFlow uses the parameters of the job to estimate other things (quantities, times, costs). Information an estimator requires to quickly produce an accurate estimate is available to the estimator in HiFlow’s database—fixed costs, mark-ups, variable costs and a lot more. Instantly.
#2: Templated for Faster Estimates
Information an estimator requires to quickly produce an accurate estimate is available to the estimator in HiFlow’s database—fixed costs, mark-ups, variable costs and a lot more. Instantly.
Request for estimate to quote is this easy:
- Choose the template
- Die/tool if applicable
- Inks / coating
- Any additional services / materials
This simple process provides costs–direct, cost, overhead, mark-up, total cost.
#3: Complete Visible Workflow Once Estimate Converts to Job
How it works: The Workflow Diagram visualization is generated by data that the estimator inputs. The Workflow Diagram captures this data and creates the visual representation. HiFLow’s Workflow Diagram grabs information through SQL queries, XML or XMP data and populates job information and workflow.
Diagrammatic representation of information is a practical way to communicate information in the workflow to the majority of users.
#4: Customized Pricing Levels
Many print estimating departments rely on fixed pricing matrixes. However, pricing that is any older than 90 days may lose you money. An MIS like HiFlow, offers the functionality you need to set accurate and up to date custom pricing, discounts or sales rep or commissions
HiFlow offers levels of customized pricing from as few as 5 to more than 100. Specific customer can be assigned custom pricing and discounts. Savvy print shop owners can have the ability to detect profitable jobs vs. unprofitable jobs.within a robust estimating module such as the one HiFlow offers.
#5: Enhanced Customer Experience
Acquiring, and then maintaining, a profitable customer base is imperative for commercial printers in this competitive landscape.
Where printing companies can create value is through the experiences that customers have when they interact with the company. How can you optimize all of your customer’s touchpoints so customers will return again and again? Through using the technology tools that create better experiences. Integrating tools, data and processes that streamline the customer experience and connect with what your customers want: fast quotes and pricing, customer portals that ensure easy communication with sales reps, and once a quote is approved, fast, error free turnaround.
An MIS creates value for customers and can drive relevant customer experiences. The data it collects is highly valuable in customer problem solving. Communication with customers is coordinated and consistent. Customer updates about a job are in real time… Find out what an MIS can do for your CX.
HiFlow’s MIS technology solutions includes an estimating engine configurable to your unique needs which will help propel your packaging/label company into the heart of the 2020s. HiFlow’s comprehensive tools and features increase speed, reduce wasted time, and reduce errors in estimating, production workflow and overall business operations.
Disclaimer: The views, suggestions, and opinions expressed here are the sole responsibility of the experts. No Houston Metro News journalist was involved in the writing and production of this article.