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Elevating Foundational Print Software Decisions

There are a lot of decisions to be made around print software; it might surprise you which ones I think are the most important.

By Jennifer Matt
Published: March 4, 2020

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Jennifer Matt is the managing editor of WhatTheyThink’s Print Software section as well as President of Web2Print Experts, Inc. a technology-independent print software consulting firm helping printers with web-to-print and print MIS solutions.

 

Discussion

By Robert Lindgren on Mar 04, 2020

Jennifer, you're right on when you say that how a system is implemented is the key to its success. Where this rubber meets the road is the costing/estimating arena since it will drive the firm's pricing policy which the key to its growth and profitability. If it's built upon a set of necessarily arbitrary assumptions about hours of utilization and overhead allocation, it will lead to under utilization of capacity and missed opportunity for growth and profit. If it's built upon customer relationships and product value measured against incremental costs of production, it will lead the firm to full plant utilization and profit leadership.

 

By Mark Myers on Mar 10, 2020

How a Cast Iron Pot and Skillet changed my views on Print Estimating Software
My late wife Carole had the good fortune to be a 5th generation living family member whose Great Great-Great Grandmother, who was about 100 when I met her in the mid 50’s and lived in Sabetha Kansas where she migrated to across the US in a covered wagon back in the late 1800’s. Carole was a cultural anthropologist with a perplexing question for GGG Grandmother as she had been taught by her mother to trim the end of a hambone before cooking, and she finally traced the answer... which her GGG-Grandmother explained... that her mother, because of the very cramped living and sleeping space in the covered wagon only had room for 1 skillet and 1 small pot, so in order to cook the ham she had to trim the bone to fit. Amazingly this had been passed down 6 generations and brought into the modern world where vast kitchen equipment now proliferated.
I remember my mother in the early 40’s being ecstatic over her new Pressure-Cooker, as the embodiment of time saving efficiency and nutrient retention...and then our lust for even more and better kitchen gadgetry became almost cult-like with the addition of Mixers, Bread Kneaders, Toasters, Microwave Ovens, Toaster Ovens, Convection Ovens, Air Fryers, Crock Pot, Electric Can Opener, Juicers, Sandwich Grills, Coffee Makers, Espresso Makers, 1-cup coffee machines, Soda-Water Carbonators , Egg Cookers and on until our counter space was so crowded with all these wondrous gadgets, that we hardly had room to prepare the food.
To make a relevant point, we also needed to learn how to use all these gadgets and also when they would be most effective, which some time they were and many times were not. All we wanted to do was fry an egg and have a cup of coffee, but we now had so many decisions that often it was just simpler to go to the local diner, without all the worry and cleanup.
In the March 4th 2020 What They Think edition Jennifer Matt’s article “Elevating Foundational Print Software Decisions” made me cry out “all wrong... nobody gets it today” and encouraged me to not only write this article but continue on with a White-Paper on how to “Simplify Achieving Your Estimating Software Purchase and Installation”
In 1995 I purchase Logic Software, then priced @ $100,000, as I needed to expand my software capabilities with the advent of automated mail. After months of total involvement on my part and others, I returned the computers and software as they were unable to implement a promised function that I felt was hemorrhaging $500,000 year in just my art department.
For years I had been using PSI which my full time estimator insisted I purchase since he was familiar with the software. Over the few years in building my print company from a 4 man shop to over 100 employees, I had developed a simple system that outperformed PSI hands-down.
I was hired as a consultant to a small shop in 1974 and followed many basic business practices I had gathered over the years...with the first one of analyzing the printer’s customer’s base, and to no surprise was able to separate their customers into 2 categories which amazingly fit perfectly into the 80-20 Rule. IE: 80% of his revenue came from 20% of his customers. In those days the internet and competitive nature had not reared its ugly head so we decided to raise the prices on the 80% ...and lo and behold they just accepted the increase and the printers profits soared as his overtime was handsomely rewarded with extra high profit work.
Be aware that all customers are not equal and as such do not have to be treated the same. Even today printers have their cadre of loyal customers who like the personalized service and the convenience similar to talking with your own physician then rather to a PPO. Also many clients are easy and you get 80-100% of all jobs you quote, while others you may only get 10-20%, and it is these customers that in reality cost you more to service.
In her article Jennifer says...” You could probably be successful with several different solutions. So picking one leading Print MIS over another might not make that big of a difference”
She is correct with most software suppliers but there are probably a few that really understand your business and have developed user friendly software with components that are utilized maybe 90% of the time where others are so complex that most only can get their heads around 20% of what they pay for. Additionally installation and setup many times require massive time allotment and manpower in the software’s implementation, which again I take exception with as, Estimator Cloud has automated the setup process so it only take a few minutes for each press to provide them with the information necessary to match your pricing, making the entire process accurate and simple to install in just a few days. Amazing but true that 88% of those who see the demo immediately move forward, I guess a picture in this case is worth a thousand words!
The selection process and implementation does not have to be either complicated and time consuming if you choose the correct software company that really gets it.

 

By Mark Myers on Mar 12, 2020

For comments you may reach Mark Myers through his website: www.estimatorcloud.com

 

By Jennifer Matt on Mar 12, 2020

Mark - I write to educate, not sell. You obviously feel passionate about the topic. The best way to add value to the conversation is to provide value in best practices; examples; insights; ideas. The hard sell does not teach or contribute to the conversation.

 

By Mark Myers on Mar 12, 2020

Jennifer where do I go... you suggested insights but there is no link... ??? Mark

 

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